Generative AI Headlines C3 Transform 2024

The fifth edition of C3 AI's annual conference, C3 Transform, was held in Boca Raton, Florida earlier this March. Over 500 attendees gathered at the city's namesake hotel, representing a variety of companies, ranging from long-time C3 flag bearers Shell, Baker Hughes, and Koch Industries to relatively new customers, such as General Mills, Dow Chemicals, and Johnson Controls. The attendees included C3 customers among local, state, and federal agencies, prospects in the company's sales pipeline, industry partners, and analyst firms.

Throughout the two-and-a-half-day event, I made my way through keynotes, breakout sessions, product demos, networking events, and lunch meetings to get informed on C3s latest and greatest. This blog post highlights key takeaways from the latest product updates and customer success stories and summarizes C3s position as an application platform provider in the industry.

Generative AI Takes Center Stage

Last year, C3 AI was the first major Industrial AI vendor to launch a Generative AI offering at Transform 2023. Fast forward to 2024, and this year's Transform event seemed to pick up from right where it left us last year when CEO Tom Siebel introduced C3s entry into the category. Over the past twelve months, C3 has been busy building its enterprise-focused Generative AI search and 28 new Gen-AI applications for industries, business processes, and enterprise systems. In short, Generative AI is front and center in C3s product strategy and roadmap going forward.
C3 AI Platform

Other than Generative AI, a few notable mainstage updates included:

      • Platform v8.3: The latest version of the C3 platform aims to build on the speed and performance improvements from version 8.0, announced last year.

      • A consumption-based pricing model: The company has switched from a subscription-based pricing model to a usage-based or consumption-based one, enabling users to only pay for what they consume. As already shown by AWS, Azure, Snowflake, and many other SaaS/PaaS vendors who've switched to a consumption-based model, this switch aims to significantly reduce C3's notable price tag from being a barrier of entry.

      • C3 AI Vision: Built on the recently launched Apple Vision Pro, C3 AI Vision provides a new dimension for the digital twin. It combines data from the C3 platform with spatial computing to address several transformational use cases in the supply chain, logistics, military, law enforcement, etc., over the next few years.

Customer Success: Holcim's Predictive Maintenance Journey with C3

One of the most prominent customer stories presented was Holcim, a Swiss-based global building materials company. The presenters, Roze Wesby, VP Head of Plants of Tomorrow, and Marjan Milošević, Head of Industrial IT, showcased how they partnered with C3 for their Plants of Tomorrow initiative to implement predictive maintenance across 100+ plants by piloting the C3 Reliability suite across ten plants in 4 months. Currently, the implementation has spanned 30 assets over the last few months and plans to cover 1,200 over the course of 4 years.

Along its journey, Holcim applied several industry best practices that LNS Research studies support, such as aligning its Plants of Tomorrow initiative to overall business objectives, leading not with technology but critical business cases, and an agile implementation and change management process that gathered continuous feedback in a closed-loop process. Holcim's journey also showcased a few best practices that I believe C3 should try to replicate as much as possible.

First, Holcim's realization that it was, at the end of the day, a manufacturing company and that C3’s technical expertise, ML/AI algorithms, and professional user interfaces could save them significant amounts of time and resources in the long term. Several large manufacturing companies, especially ones with a considerable arsenal of IT and data science resources, often overestimate their ability to design, build, and deploy applications and platforms at scale. The Holcim story makes a good case for working with technology partners like C3 versus in-house development.
Plants of Tomorrow, C3 AI Reliability Pilot

Second, focusing on not just use cases, but also user personas. The C3 Reliability suite that Holcim piloted was not just a point solution but provided a new approach for predictive maintenance that impacted multiple user personas such as the head of maintenance, plant managers, reliability engineers, operators, etc. LNS Research studies show that while it is always a best practice for technology implementation to start with use cases in mind, not considering how these use cases impact multiple user personas could create an organizational imbalance and affect scalability.

Finally, this implementation was an excellent example of the company's investments in moving away from significant data sciences services required for implementations. Holcim's six-person Center of Excellence provided predictive maintenance at scale. It will provide the critical mass necessary to further scale across the organization – and perhaps even move to a Virtual Operations Center model. This level of resources is one that most major industrials can provide, where just a few short years ago, a team of 20, 50, or even 100+ would have been required.  

Closing Thoughts  

Overall, C3 Transform 2024 was a forward-looking customer event that aims to set the company's Generative AI efforts up over the upcoming years.

The company has established an early lead in Generative AI for the industrial space, starting last year with enterprise search and continuing this year with its focus on retrieval-augmented generation and tailored applications. However, Generative AI and Large Language Models are still in their early days, and the Advanced Industrial Analytics space is more than just Generative AI.

To build on the progress the company has made and further scale its presence in industrial customers faster, from pilots to enterprise-level deployments, LNS Research believes C3 will be well served by continuing to expand its reliability and supply chain applications into additional vertical-specific offerings such as Connected Frontline Workforce, Collaborative Quality, Embedded EHS, and Unified Performance Excellence through both AI and non-AI based analytics capabilities.

I, for one, am looking forward to seeing the progress in the overall Advanced Industrial Analytics space and how C3s offering will continue to evolve with the industry over the following years.

Knocking the Model on its Axis

All entries in this Industrial Transformation blog represent the opinions of the authors based on their industry experience and their view of the information collected using the methods described in our Research Integrity. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

Subscribe Now

Become an LNS Research Member!

As a member-level partner of LNS Research, you will receive our expert and proven Advisory Services. These exclusive benefits give your team:

  • Regular advisory sessions with our highly experienced LNS Research Analysts
  • Access to the complete LNS Research Library
  • Participation in members-only executive Roundtable events
  • Important, continuous knowledge of Industrial Transformation (IX)

Let us help you with key decisions based on our solid research methodology and vast industrial experience. 


Similar posts


Stay on top of the latest industrial transformation insights from our expert analysts

The Industrial Transformation and Operational Excellence Blog is an informal environment for our analysts to share thoughts and insights on a range of technology and business topics.