Data management and data analytics are an essential part of how manufacturers conduct business. Previously, data was noted on paper or analyzed in the spreadsheets. However, it is now collected automatically via sensors and analyzed with tools that far exceed the capabilities of spreadsheets.

ABI Research predicts that in 2026, manufacturers and industrial firms will be spending USD 19.8 billion on data analytics, data management, and associated professional services.

“For many manufacturers, there is an appreciation that operational decisions need to be based on empirical evidence rather than guesswork. The challenges are not necessarily capturing and analyzing data, rather what to analyze in the first place,” said Michael Larner, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. “The findings need to have a meaningful impact on operations and so manufacturers need to take a step back and devise precise objectives,” he added.

Predictive maintenance is crucial for avoiding downtime and enhancing safety on the factory floor. And the video inspection feature of the software captures defects more perfectly compared to the human eye.

The report suggests that using data analytics helps in increasing production, improving quality, and reduction of waste. Analyzing data has become more sophisticated with newer technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. The report also mentions that suppliers are not just able to report data but also predict outcomes and make recommended actions.

Additionally, the advent of low/no code platforms has helped staff to use analytics easily, without a technical representative’s help.

Larner concluded, “While manufacturers have spent decades refining their physical production lines, today they need to expend effort in optimizing their processes for collecting and analyzing data. But data should not be collected just for the sake of it.”