Digitisation a Calculated Risk
Published by : Industrial Automation
Businesses should look at solutions to understand the benefits of the technology and the effect they can have on their products and services, says Aniruddha Shahapure.
The world’s next destination, it appears, is ‘Going Digital’. The smart devices and equipment everyone possesses, are primarily used to either play games or to perform office work. This makes life easier and more enjoyable. Business units or arms of Organisations, which have gone through Digital Transformation has shown a significant growth in businesses, profitable deals and revenue increase. Hence these factors encourage more and more units for going digital.
While it looks fruitful, unfortunately, these transformations are always difficult to implement and time consuming. Besides transformation processes are usually more expensive than profitable. However, these challenges can be overcome with organisations developing an inclusive policy for digital transformation leading to quicker and productive results.
Industry 4.0 originates from a high-tech strategy, which promotes computerisation of manufacturing. We are at the beginning of 4th Industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), which is rapidly changing the industrial landscape with Smart Manufacturing, Internet of Things (IoT) Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cyber-Physical systems and digital transformation. Out of the these technologies, optimised use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) will have the maximum impact and would lead businesses into uncharted territories. The strategy can be enforced only after detailed SWOT analysis of intended transformation and defining the intended outcomes.
Therefore, CXOs and senior management leaders need to take a detailed assessment of the Pros and Cons of the implication of technology over their products and services before they move ahead with the transformation. If not, the efforts will be in vain resulting in producing outcomes which do not serve the needs of the business. Leadership needs to work with IT to quantify the requirements, the budget, and timelines to find an appropriate IoT or AI solution.
Three key success factors of adaption of digital transformation
1. Audit of the existing infrastructure (Hardware as well as Systems)
Reassess the current assets, viz., available data, existing insights and capabilities; identifying the under-leveraged assets and data touch points.
2. Identify and secure control points
Organisations should secure the control points by putting efforts and time by building development capabilities in-house. It is advisable to pursue Merger & Acquisitions activities or strategic partnerships, in case the required skill set is not available within the organisation. This will reduce efforts to and expenditure on the areas which are already commoditised.
3. Agility in organisation to adapt the market dynamics
The technology is constantly changing and for organisations that want to transform should know not only their products and customers but the competitors, new establishments, start-ups and their strategies as well; these provide insights into potential trends of development and adaption. It’s also necessary to understand, the existing framework in the organisation and conduct an assessment of potential scenarios that will lead to the transformation.
The benefits of digital transformation
Digital transformation is not a race to join because competitors are going for it or not to show your clients/customers that you using the latest technology. Organisation go digital because it actually helps them to grow and sustain in the dynamic market.
1. Ominous market reach
Organisations need platform where its customers can easily find the offerings on fingertip and buy what they want. Customers should have the option to buy from whatever device they want to buy it from wherever they can. This type of reach not plays a role in growth of the organisation, but also increases brand reputation and reach. With the right digital transformation, customers on any part of the world can be reached with minimal investment.
2. Satisfied Customer
Customers these days no longer accept whatever is on the sale. They have an array of products to choose from and according to their priorities and likings for satisfying their needs and wants. Creating more value for customers and confirming customer satisfaction is base of business growth and long term success. Digital transformation caters to these wishes with simplicity, easier accessibility and quicker services.
3. Increased Revenue
Successful implementation and continuous improvement in digitisation will ensure faster service delivery, responses and proactive approach towards reaching out to the customers. This will lead businesses to run more efficiently and more strategically. Efficiencies can be brought in the way product designing is done and the efficiencies into the distribution process. All of this intern leads to increase in business as well as reduction in costs, thereby resulting in larger profits and revenues.
4. Incessant Improvement
A large amount of data from interactions with customer, market trends, feedbacks is generated which can be effectively analysed to get valuable insights. The fact is that, this data is simply too huge where meaningful information can be lost. The latest tools of digitisation can compile and analyse this data efficiently in matter of minutes. And with data driven information, organisations can react faster and make changes that will review its strategy and operations. It is to be noted that, this leads to continuous process of improvement in products and services. Also insights can be derived from the improved employee performances leading happier employees along with the customers.
Key technologies to focus on and the ways to avoid pitfalls
Artificial Intelligence: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) have become an important part of in every organisation’s plans for digitisation. With massive amount of data being generated, the need for development of algorithms and systems to generate meaningful insights is the need of the hour today. The applications of the AI span across industries starting from Entertainment, Medicine, Cybersecurity and Transportation, and also reducing the redundant tasks. AI can also be used in to keep an eye on the surroundings to enhance the security level in the city’s neighbourhoods, Better Governance and Planning Management. Businesses utilising AI and data (responsibly) could also significantly improve the customer and employee experience. Workers will have more time to focus on creatively fulfilling rather than repetitive tasks that machines will do. The use of AI to monitor workflows and make informed/ intelligent suggestions as to how tasks can be managed more effectively can help in bringing in efficiency in operations.
Internet of Things: The IoT is a network of physical connected devices, like vehicles or home appliances, which enable these 'things' to connect and exchange data. The advantage of this technology is that it enables remote monitoring of the devices health and use it to bring in efficiency. Some of the examples include using sensors to generate insights about the soil temperature, humidity levels to assess the right time to water, using video surveillance technologies and sensors to better track who was coming in and out of the port or public places and using drones and other devices to gather, analyse, store and relay data from oil field equipment resulting in cost savings, reduced maintenance costs, lengthened machinery lifespan.
Businesses should look at solutions to understand the benefits of the technology and the effect they can have on their products and services. Once, this critical step is ensure by the leadership, then significant upside can be seen in terms of revenues and growth. While the benefits are high, there is also a need to regulate how the data is used and the manner in which the privacy of the customers is upheld. Technology, for all its benefits, also creates a system of dependency among the users. Businesses needs have checks and balances in place in order to ensure that systems are secure, the applications are robust and data is managed properly. Policies needs to be designed and enforced to mitigate the risks. Also, businesses should invest in manpower and upskilling of its workforce to meet the changing ecosystem.
Aniruddha Shahapure is Chief Knowledge Officer at Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited. His 25 years of extensive experience in the multi-sector industry domain touches on the latest technologies and innovations. An excellent administrator, technologist and implementer, he has governed and managed multimillion dollar projects in the Industrial automation and IT sector across Europe, Asia and African continents. He has a strong understanding of M2M, AI/ML and also championed enterprise wide process analysis, re-design and development works in IoT–IIoT solutions.
An Electrical and Electronics Engineer and Management graduate, Mr Shahapure is a Senior Member of IEEE, Chartered Engineer (IEI) and Certified Industry 4.0 professional.