Young researchers at LSWI: publishing as a student

Highly qualified young researchers contribute to research competence, innovation and knowledge gain in a decisive way. Already have publications to show as a student? The LSWI accompanies students on their path to the first scientific publication.

We met with our student assistent Natalie Habib who released her first joint-publication with M.Sc. Benedict Bender, Dr. Sander Lass and Laure Scheel and had her explain the process of the path to a scientific publication to us.

Publication: Platform deployment strategies in mechanical and plant engineering: strategies of German companies in the Industry 4.0 context.

LSWI: Hi Natalie, congratulations on your first publication! What exactly is your publication about?

Natalie: Broadly speaking, the publication is about digital platforms. This is because digital platforms are becoming increasingly widespread across different industries. More and more companies are interested in tapping into connected potential for their business. In mechanical and plant engineering the networking of machines is increasingly becoming a competitive factor for manufacturers as well, by enabling them to expand their business model in a targeted manner. The important question, however, is how - i.e., with which strategy - companies can provide digital platforms. The appropriate strategy is in fact dependent on a large number of factors.
As a basis for identifying the appropriate strategy, this paper provides a systematic examination of the possible deployment strategies for companies. In addition to the theoretical systematization, currently used strategies are presented using the example of the mechanical and plant engineering industry in Germany. We have also identified specific characteristics that influence the use of strategies as a starting point for a strategy formulation process.

LSWI: That's a very exciting topic. How did the topic of your publication arise?

Natalie: The publication came about as part of the KMU-Navigator research project in which I am involved as a student assistant. For this purpose, we are currently doing research at the chair regarding the dissemination of digital platforms among SMEs. The goal of the project is the realization of a decision support tool for SMEs. The aim is to enable SMEs to make targeted decisions regarding strategic and technical aspects of digital platforms. Currently, we have identified more than 120 platforms in mechanical and plant engineering and recorded them in a reference database. We want to identify criteria that SMEs can use to decide on the appropriate platform strategy. The publication has its origins in the evaluation of the reference database and the identified platform deployment strategies.

LSWI: You are still in your master's program. How did the supervision by the research assistants go?

Natalie: The supervision went great and it was a lot of fun. Of course I didn't write the publication alone. Co-authors are Benedict Bender, Sander Lass and Laura Scheel. The basis for our work is the reference database with reference cases of digital platforms in mechanical and plant engineering. In the process, we worked together to research and select suitable platform projects for the reference database. After several feedback loops, the current version was finally created. In any case, I always had a contact person at any time regarding methodology, approaches or general expert knowledge through the WiMis at the chair.

LSWI: And what exactly was your contribution to the publication?

Natalie: My contribution focused on the analysis of the reference cases regarding the appropriate strategy. I mainly received help with the structure and formulation of the research question of the publication.

LSWI: What do you take away from the publishing experience?

Natalie: "Publishing" for me means putting one's project progress into words and getting recognition through publication. It's nice to record progress and build on it. I take away from the experience that especially the collaboration and mutual feedback led to the quality of the contribution. Researching and publishing is not individual work but also teamwork.

LSWI: And what did you enjoy the most?

Natalie: What I enjoyed most was going through the whole process from start to finish. Starting with the research and development of the content to the evaluation and finally to the formulation of the insights gained. I'm sure this won't be my last publication.

Natalie Habib and Benedict Bender