6. February 2019

Agile Service Engineering in the Age of Industry 4.0

The USU Group is the largest European provider of IT and knowledge management software. Market leaders in all sectors of the international economy use USU applications to create transparency, become more agile, save costs, and reduce risks. USU Software AG incorporates USU GmbH – established in 1977 – as well as Aspera GmbH, Aspera Technologies Inc., LeuTek GmbH, OMEGA Software GmbH and USU SAS. Find out why and how USU Software AG is involved on RWTH Aachen Campus in our interview with Fred Jopp, Head of Data Science Project Management at USU Software AG and focusing on the realization of smart services in the industrial context.

What were your motifs to become a member in the Center Smart Services on RWTH Aachen Campus?

The center’s outstanding commitment in the area of databased services – this also appeals to machine and plant manufacturers, whose current Industrie 4.0-related interests we know directly and personally. The Service-Engineering-cycle, developed by the center, matches our own company goals because it focusses on learning by doing, which means heading for production quickly with only few iteration loops. This approach is not only similar to our own procedure when developing Smart Services, but it was also highly praised by some of our customers, who are already members of the Center Smart Services, in advance.

What medium and long-term benefits do you see in your cooperation with the Center Smart Services and what are your goals?

The participation of the Center Smart Service in the general discourse on major and current topics such as digitization, mobility and automation is currently very important. In the long term, the developments on RWTH Aachen Campus will also contribute to the growth of the center in the next years until 2020. As a strong service partner in the area of Smart Services and Big Data Analytics, we would like to contribute our experience in this decisive development phase to support this development and become a permanent part of this setting in the long term. By also participating in the center’s continuing education programs, such as the “Smart Service Manager” certificate course, we are not only passing on our specialist knowledge and helping to create a common technical consensus in the industry by training Smart Services Managers: We also benefit from the lively exchange with others. The certificate course was so successful in 2018 that we are already looking forward to repeating it in 2019.

USU Software AG has been enrolled in the Center Smart Services for a year now, what were your highlights of the collaboration in 2018?

Several – for example our participation in the second Smart Logistics Cluster Insights event in December. Because of the very tight-knit center network, we were able to intensify our contact with companies enrolled in other centers. We were also able to hear first-hand about the visions of the management for the coming years. That was very inspiring. In addition to this, we also enjoyed the discussion and feedback with and from other participants in this fruitful setting a lot. Another highlight is the already mentioned Smart Service Manager certificate course – because it was the first course of its kind, it was also a very memorable event for us. We will be part of the upcoming course in May 2019 again. There, we will introduce course participants to the topic of Smart Services in Mechanical and Plant Engineering and carry out an interactive case study. We are looking forward to it!

What advice would you give to comparable companies that are still hesitant to register?

The easiest way is to convince yourself in person. Events such as the annual Aachen Dienstleistungsforum (Service Forum) are great opportunities to get to know companies such as the Center Smart Services. This year in March, at the next Dienstleistungsforum, the center will again be present with its own stand, thus offering those who are interested the opportunity to exchange ideas directly with employees. The basic rule is: Always check the basic conditions, if you are still unsure. What is missing, what is required for you to decide that your company should become part of the Center Smart Services community? It will certainly be possible to put together a suitable offer that will save you a lot of time on your way to the marketability of a Smart Service through the Smart Service Engineering Cycle and will provide you with competent advice on your digitization projects. Sign up!

You have mentioned it already – you are part of the RWTH certificate course “Smart Service Manager”, why do you think further education is important?

Because you never stop learning. In order to be able to implement Industrie 4.0 as a positive opportunity for digitization for German SMEs in the future, essential knowledge deficits must be overcome and filled with knowledge. This applies to all company levels, in particular to fundamental topics in the area of Smart Services and Big Data Analytics. The means of choice here is target group-oriented continuing education offerings, such as the “Smart Service Manager” course.