‘Each company needs to define clearly its expectations from Digital Transformation’
Published on : Monday 30-11--0001
Santosh Tatte, Country Manager, HMS Industrial Networks India Pvt Ltd.
While most companies are today talking of Digital Transformation, do all of them have effective strategies in place for implementation?
Yes, this is true that most of the manufacturing companies are implementing, or at least discussing about Digital Transformation. In general terms, Digital Transformation is defined as the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business resulting in fundamental changes to how businesses operate and how the company delivers value to its customers. However, each company has its own aspects of looking at Digital Transformation. So, Digital Transformation will look different for every company and it will be hard to have one definition that applies to all the companies. Beyond this, it’s a major cultural change that requires organisations to continually check the current situation, experiment and sometimes get ready for failure. This sometimes means discontinuing long-standing business processes that companies were built upon in favour of relatively new practices that are still being defined.
Each company needs to define clearly its expectations from Digital Transformation, what are the pain points the organisation wants to address, and have patience for the outcome. Many large organisations are already going through Digital Transformation process. However, it is still a challenge to convince the users to shedding outdated processes and legacy technology than it is about adopting new tech. The companies and their people should be willing to try new features, functionality, data sets, algorithms, etc. In my opinion, most of the companies need to strategise their Digital Transformation is small steps for fair chances of success. They can define milestones and go to next level once one level is completed successfully and effectively. And the organisation should clearly define goals for each level to declare it successful and close it properly.
What are the impediments in the process of Digital Transformation in the Indian context? Is RoI the key concern?
The biggest hurdle is “Mindset”, besides awareness about Digital Transformation and the expectations out of this implementation. Sometimes, organisations decide to implement Digital Transformation without being ready for it. Sometimes, the implementing team has not gathered enough information about the objectives and they expect solution partners to share it with them. But each organisation will have its own challenges of Digital Transformation. We, at HMS, generally focus on machine builders to lay strong foundation for Digital Transformation. We always request our potential customers to share their pain points and areas of improvement. We suggest them to focus on these areas such as Machine Data, Production Data, Quality Data, Energy Data, Operator Data (to determine if the operator is skilled enough or need training), Machine Performance, Capacity Utilisation, etc., and based on this, the user gest analysed insight for improvement. The yield will be improved automatically if such weak areas and pain points are addressed.
RoI is definitely one of the concerns and sometimes it becomes difficult to predict the direct RoI within a time frame. But there are indirect RoI such as improvement in quality, manufacturing flexibility, reduction in rejection, lower machine downtime, avoid breakdowns, lower operating cost, predictive maintenance, improved efficiency, proactive decision making and many more. Besides RoI, there are other concerns also like introducing new automation hardware and maintenance, machine retrofitting, running cost of the system, data transfer reliability, data security and confidentiality, quality of data, overall cost involved, IT requirements, etc. However, the rewards of Digital Transformation could be immense.
As one of the main drivers of the economy, is the SME sector ready for this transformation?
SMEs definitely play major role in manufacturing sector of India. They have their own challenges of access to market, production techniques, quality references, etc. Digital Transformation at SMEs should be relatively simple since they have more flexibility and their processes are less complicated. However, we observe that adoption to the Digital Transformation is slow in SMEs, which is mostly because of the inappropriate understating of Digital Transformation and the benefits. It is also due to the lack of awareness of latest technology trends. Regardless the size of the organisation, Digital Transformation can offer benefits to all organisations.
How should the SMEs prepare for Digital Transformation?
In this age of IIoT/Industry 4.0, Digital Transformation for SMEs is necessity and not an option. SMEs need to prepare and be future ready for meeting changing market demands and offer flexibility in manufacturing and delivering through Digital Transformation. They need to plan for business which is efficient and also sustainable. But the key question is, where to start? Having a reliable and right partner with proper solution and transparency is the key for proper implementation. It is equally important that the solution partner understands the SME objectives and offers an adequate, robust and reliable solution. The SMEs can focus on basic essentials such as “Quality and Productivity in Manufacturing”. Flexibility in manufacturing can follow. SMEs, most of the times, look at RoI and immediate returns before investing into any new technology. They need to understand the value creation that will be brought in by Digital Transformation. SMEs need to understand the Actionable Intelligence they will get with Digital Transformation.
Are privacy and cybersecurity concerns regarding the cloud exaggerated?
Digital Transformation is relatively new and there is no consolidation on cybersecurity standards or security compliances. But Cybersecurity and Data confidentiality is a major concern and important in business. Cybersecurity has become a key strategic priority for digital business and is a topic (along with compliance and data usage) we need to be open about if we want to succeed in Digital Transformation. Security is not always easy and does not start by adding security controls but by prioritising the most critical processes, systems and potential sources of attacks or vulnerabilities. So, security needs a strategy and that is harder than adding a few firewalls of course. Having said that, all the reputed cloud service providers are working and adopting on means and ways to keep users’ data secured.
There are certain cybersecurity concerns mainly due to the lack of awareness of technology, not knowing what are the different means used in cybersecurity, etc. Security, at HMS, is our #1 priority. We invest into security of our overall product portfolio. HMS has company’s Information Security Management System certification that guarantees that all security threats and vulnerabilities are identified and handled properly, so we effectively manage and mitigate security risks, establish regulatory compliance and finally continuously improve our organisational services. The other security measure is for external influences such as hacking or virus attacks. HMS security solution ensures with Policy compliance, Network infrastructure, User and access management, Traffic encryption, Firewall and Field devices that all connected devices and cloud platforms are secure today and in the future.
Santosh Tatte is a hard core sales professional with over 24 years of Business Development, Team building and Brand building experience in Factory Automation and IIoT field. Familiar with various PLCs, Drives, MMIs/Operator Panels, HMIs/SCADA, Analog I/O, Digital I/O, Gateways/Protocol converters, Port Multiplexers, Process Instrumentation, Communication Networks, Flow products and IIoT/Edge Gateways, Santosh has been actively and successfully engaged in creating IIoT/Industry 4.0 awareness in India for last 6 years.
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