Who drives your digital transformation journey?

With a growing number of manufactures eager to embrace the benefits offered by digital transformation, a lack of ownership and responsibility presents a barrier for many organisations.

Digital Transformation IoT Connect Tech Industry 4 Stock - July August 2016 New manufacturing landscape
Manufacturing is undergoing a change as fundamental as the first industrial revolution.

Digital transformation is increasingly being driven by the convergence of IT and operational technology (OT) systems, demonstrated by the blurring of what were once separate ERP and CRM systems into a combined architecture.

However, a digital transformation journey cuts across almost all departments within an organisation, unifying R&D, sales, production, distribution, customer service, finance, HR functions and more. Such a scenario presents a challenging question for many businesses, namely “Who is ultimately responsible for driving our strategy forward?”

The Manufacturer recently sat down with Jason Andersen, vice president of business line management for global fault tolerant computer servers and software company, Stratus Technologies, who had this to say.

“An organisation’s digital transformation strategy or approach really needs to be driven from the top. You can self-empower your people, but somebody at the top must take the lead and say let’s look at a different model, or this might be the best way for us to move forward. If that permission – if you will – and, ultimately, funding – comes from the top, then I think OT can take the lead, as long it acts in concert with the executive team.”

According to Andersen, a necessary part of driving your digital transformation journey forward is to achieve some small, quick wins in order to gain momentum and executive buy-in. The key, he says, is to not focus all of your efforts on cost efficiencies, but to consider increased or additional revenue streams.

“Saving money gets people’s attention, but making money gets people’s real attention. People will start to change their opinion in regards to digital transformation – particularly the Industrial Internet of Things aspect, when it allows them to achieve an X per cent increase in factory productivity, for example. Top line discussions, i.e. higher outputs, tend to be more powerful than those focused on the bottom line.”

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