2020 was the year the digital transformation came of age. Before Covid-19, digital transformation strategies across all sectors including manufacturing, healthcare, and the educational industry had approximately 3 – 5 year plans for achieving digital transformation goals. In many cases, these goals focused solely on digitizing record keeping, data manipulation, data transfer, and storage but the pandemic changed everything.
According to Penelope Prett, CIO at Accenture, Covid-19 ensured organizations implemented and achieved years worth of digital transformative strategies within 3 months! The need to enact social distancing rules, limit physical contact with surfaces, and reduce crowding led to every industrial niche accelerating their digital transformation strategies.
The accelerated pace and the need for new innovative ways to transact or interact also led to innovative solutions such as Target’s development of a customer flow app to reduce floor traffic and simplify in-store shopping. Others in the manufacturing and healthcare sector turned to the Digital Twin to apply risk-based scheduling and remote monitoring strategies to deal with the complex challenges and new regulations that came with the pandemic.
Today, a majority of enterprises and non-profit organizations have dedicated digital transformation strategies supporting work-from-home policies, data collection strategies, resource manager, as well as, planning and decision-making processes.
4 Ways Your Organization can Improve its Digital Transformation Efforts
If 2020 proved one thing, it showed that more can still be done within a short duration to improve digital transformation strategies to get the best out of your business while staying safe. For those who have implemented digital transformation strategies such as the use of a Digital Twin to optimize manufacturing capacity during a pandemic, here are some timely tips to improve your digital transformation strategy and get the best ROI from it.
- Continuous evaluation is key – Your digital transformation strategy has its focus. It may be to optimize resource management, capture data, or automate processes, whatever it is now is the time to check the plan and evaluate its performance using recorded milestones no matter how little.
If no KPIs have been put in place to measure the performance of your digital transformation initiatives, now is the time to determine the KPIs that matter the most to capture the required data needed to measure progress. Gaining insight into improved performances and how your transformation process aligns with core business goals simplifies the process of determining ROI and the other business operations that can be simplified with digital technologies.
- Ask the right questions – CIOs and IT leaders who achieve the best results with digital transformation initiatives use comparative analysis to ask the right questions and provide answers to them. Adopting a continuous evaluation strategy provides the data for comparative analysis and asking the right questions. In the manufacturing industry for example questions such as:
- Have we adopted the right digital transformation strategy and is it helping optimize the production process?
- Can successful digital transformation initiatives applied to a particular problem be applied facility-wide?
- What challenges did we encounter with implementation and how can they be avoided in the future?
Answers to the right questions determine the next steps to take with current and further digital transformation implementations.
- Avoid the DIY trap – Statistics show that approximately 70% of DIY IIIoT implementations fail and this statistic can also be broadly applied to other DIY digital transformation implementation strategies. If you’re using a digital transformation technology, you likely purchased the specific technology from a vendor with some experience in providing solutions to your business’s industrial niche.
Now, is the time to leverage those relationships to simplify the configuration and deployment process. Seeking the services of vendors that provide extensive after-sales support and services is recommended.
- Plan for growth – Successful digital transformation implementations leads to business growth and the need to apply transformative solutions to other aspects of the business. When scaling up your digital transformation initiatives, ensure the lessons learnt from earlier experiences serve as the foundation for deploying larger-scaled projects. Leveraging local experiences including the issues that caused the most delay ensures that you do not repeat the errors of former deployments.
Agile implementations where implementations are quickly done are the best. Unlike the forced acceleration at which digital transformations occurred in 2020, we now have the benefit of hindsight to make scaling up a less difficult process.
Investing in digital transformative change and technologies has proven to be the most effective and safest way to get work done. For many, the pandemic recast our view of work and the importance of connectivity. It is critical that we continue to embrace this change, try new ideas, and continue to reap rich rewards from digital transformation.