DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION: WHAT IT IS AND HOW TO START IT
NOVEMBER 15, 2017 - EDZEL LAPIRA, CEO
Over the last several years, the industrial segment has seen a proliferation of interconnected and complementary technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT), Smart Factory, Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet. This has inspired companies to undergo major digital transformations in the hopes of reaping benefits such as increased productivity and reduced downtime.
The hype surrounding those technologies have also made them more desirable. However, many end-users are still confused about how they can initiate their own digital transformation programs.
Predictronics knows what happens next. We believe the industrial segment should, too. That is why we work to demystify industrial big data and give companies the ability to adopt new technologies.
How to Invest in Digital Transformation?
Many companies starting their own digital transformation program lack vision and objective. With IoT and Smart Factory technologies becoming increasingly more popular, it is easy to jump on the bandwagon without much consideration. Yet, to fully reap the benefits, companies must think long-term.
In addition to restructuring and reorganizing companies to include positions that attend to specific digital transformation needs, industry leaders need to perform internal assessments and evaluate process and performance to determine which areas in their companies are problematic and need improvement.
Industry leaders must ultimately think about the future. Where do they want their companies to be 5 or 10 after a digital transformation program? Those goals can consist of anything, from increasing visibility and transparency in manufacturing operations, to improving productivity and profitability.
Moreover, the company vision should be supported by strategies that are accessible to middle management and factory line workers. Industry leaders need to consider if the introduction of predictive maintenance technologies is meant to avoid or minimize downtime, minimize scrap and improve yield rate, or optimize operations through the implementation of advanced feedback control systems.
An Ecosystem of Players
As of now, not one single supplier can provide all the components necessary to facilitate digital transformation. However, there is a vibrant and ever-growing ecosystem of players to aid in that process.
Traditional sensor, automation, data storage, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and computing companies have been rebranded and now advertise their offerings as critical components to digital transformation. Startups are also on the rise, including ones with AI (Artificial Intelligence) in their name. These companies, each in their own way, offer the different components to digital transformation.
There are three components of digital transformation – platform, analytics and visualization. The platform is the overarching technology that centralizes other technologies such as IoT devices, infrastructure, database, security, and most importantly, applications that will transform the data into insights. Under the hood, applications need robust and reliable analytic models built using advanced tools (statistics, artificial intelligence and machine learning) and appropriate domain or tribal knowledge. Finally, the visualization component delivers the insights and ensures it reaches the intended recipients, so that they can go on to make educated decisions about their industrial process.
Predictronics stands out in this ecosystem of players by offering a software solution that incorporates all three of these digital transformation components. PDX, Predictronics’ end-to-end predictive analytics solution, monitors critical assets by collecting and analyzing big data, with the ultimate goal of reducing unplanned downtime, increasing productivity and improving product quality. It is also capable of working with other platforms and offers visualization tools that make data accessible and understandable.
Starting the Digital Transformation Journey
Different companies are at different stages in the implementation of digital transformation programs. The progressive (and well-funded) ones that have, to various degrees, installed one or a combination of fundamental technologies, are front-runners in implementing and evaluating their digital transformation strategies, and will ultimately reap the benefits that come with those advances.
For others, this endeavor will be both a huge investment and a steep learning curve, with many challenges along the way. That does not mean they should abandon the digital transformation journey altogether. Rather, they should start with a manageable and practical strategy that will work within the company’s resources and bandwidth. As our Chief Technology Officer David Siegel wrote in a previous blog post, “start small, fail small, but start now."
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