Digital Transformation: The 2020 Reality

Posted on 5 Nov 2020 by Tom Lane

OpenText has vast experience working with manufacturers to help them start integrating digital processes and getting a better overview of their businesses. In the run-up to Digital Manufacturing Week we speak to OpenText, who will be exhibiting at Smart Factory Expo from 9-13 November, about bringing its expertise in digital transformation to life.

Digital transformation is an essential part of adapting to the current manufacturing landscape. How to start that journey and integrate the right software and processes to embrace that transformation is, however, challenging. The Manufacturer caught up with Tom Leeson, MSc, Senior Industry Strategist, Manufacturing & Supply Chain and Industry Marketing at OpenText, to find out more.

Tom said: “We support digital transformation in manufacturing in the context information management. On our platform we focus on delivering information compliance, information management and the collaboration of information, releasing data that’s in different applications silos.”

There have been many stories this year of manufacturers accelerating their digital journey. A recent study by Deloitte and MAPI showed that 62% of global manufacturing leaders say they are investing in digital factory plans and even beefing up that spend by 20%. In a separate MAPI survey, 85% of leaders agreed or strongly agreed that digital factory investments would rise by June 2021.

Thomas Leeson - OpenText - digital transformation
Thomas Leeson – OpenText

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly helped speed up this journey and Tom has seen this first-hand: “Everybody came to a halt pretty quickly earlier this year. But then they started seeing that one of the problems they were having in their business was actually communicating with people.”

He continued: “We were very quick to pivot on the situation, it was a really good learning curve. The safety of employees was imperative so first you make your employees safe and then you start to see some of the gaps that are actually in your business.

“When we were not connected to the business, physically, that’s when the acceleration happened. We were already seeing an advance towards the cloud from our customers, but going forward it will be increasingly cloud based as manufacturers move from on-premise applications to putting information in the cloud which will be secure.”

Keeping Secure

Security is another issue that is keeping manufacturers up at night. With all these new process in place, how can you keep your data secure and your business running at an optimum?

Tom said: “We have a technology layer that is looking to support Industry 4.0 with IoT, artificial intelligence and machine learning. We have a big division that specialises in security, particularly cybersecurity. The protection of people, things, assets and data is essential. And at Digital Manufacturing Week we will be putting that in the context of how recent events have increased the requirement for people to get serious about digital transformation and security in their business.

“COVID came from nowhere. It really was a real stress test, and a lot of lessons learned. It is well documented that digital transformation will be accelerated as a result, there will be more opportunity to optimise and automate processes. We envisage remote work will be here for good.”

CROP - digitalisation skills digital - depositphotos. digital transformation
Image by depositphotos

It was noted in a recent interview with Microsoft in The Manufacturer, more businesses are using Microsoft Teams to stay connected and OpenText has been aware of this shift too. Tom said: “75 million daily users of Microsoft Teams popped up overnight. Microsoft Teams now has 100 million users. That is a great new channel to collaborate and work remotely. But it must be secure, it has to be compliant and it has to be robust and that’s where we help.

“For the UK manufacturing base with Brexit just around the corner, digital transformation will be accelerated and support for remote working will be adopted and supply chain supply chain zones will be a focus.”

Within the manufacturing industry there are always challenges to face and OpenText is already looking towards that next test. Tom concludes: “We’re not far off the 2030-35 sustainability goals. We have an important role to play here and are strongly intwined into the corporate social responsibility of manufacturers. It is no longer ticking the box but how you actually build that into your process in your business and reduce your carbon footprint. We will be talking about that in general during Digital Manufacturing Week.”

Register now

Make sure you and your team do not miss out on the many exciting opportunities to accelerate your understanding of digital manufacturing. Registration for Digital Manufacturing Week is now open, so start planning your visit today.