Industry consultants such as Gartner, Forbes and McKinsey, have reportedly claimed a whopping 70-84% of all digital transformation journeys failed.
To ensure that your digital transformation initiatives don’t fail, focus on people processes and business goals, not just on the technology. Of course, the correct technology is a fundamental cornerstone, but first consider it as supporting your short-term business goals and having the flexibility to easily accommodate the on-going business transformation strategy.
When the aim is to deploy an Enterprise-class system platform enriched with embedded IIOT, further layered factors such as scalability, collaboration, automation, legacy systems’ integration, and platform hosting policies come into play, and when the need extends into the managed services environment, all these preceding demands become super-charged with the needs for multi-tenanted, multi-solution build options.
As a rule, there are five key properties commonly identified as constituting the operational trustworthiness of all system platforms, namely- security, safety, reliability, resilience and privacy. These properties become the bedrock for the complex interaction between Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT), typically unique to industrial businesses and achieving success with digital transformation being a particular challenge in this sector. Further factors to be evaluated cover business objectives (short and long-term), technology-readiness, organizational culture, goals, skills resourcing, and the ever-critical ‘C’ suite alignment.
Cautionary words from the CEO and Founder of AFFECTLI, Glen Scott:-“Quick wins can be achieved with the right solutions – insights drive excellence. However, even with the best people and systems in place, it will not solve the problem because digital maturity within complex programmes and projects cannot be achieved overnight…”
Unlike the more conventional commercial IT systems project management approaches where the end-user is often embraced as an extension of the IT system, IIOT projects within the industrial sector must welcome those parts of the workforce which may be either unused to, or have minimal interaction with, real-time operational connections into IT systems. Identifying and understanding those end users’ job responsibilities, performance expectations and work ethics, can unearth undocumented areas of concern and key productivity issues.
COMMON MISTAKES ¹
* NOT SPENDING ENOUGH TIME WITH END-USER EARLY ON…Many pilots may not go beyond the short-lived successful demonstration phase if they do not address long-term operational expectations and hidden constraints that take time to elicit from the end-user…
* TREATING THE END-USER JUST AS A CUSTOMER AND NOT AS A PARTNER…They may not have a clear idea where or how IIoT can help, but they have key knowledge of their operations, a practical grasp on what can be done or should be avoided and the expertise to judge the value of a solution. This knowledge will be ignored if the end-users are confined to the passive role of a customer…
* COMMITTING TOO EARLY TO OBJECTIVES OR BUSINESS BENEFITS…Over-committing with insufficient knowledge of the operational context risks disappointing everyone in case of failure…
* KEEPING THE OBJECTIVES VAGUE AND SUCCESS CRITERIA IMPRECISE…Once the approach to developing a solution has been clarified, clear criteria for success must be defined and agreed by all parties, phase by phase…
It is important to always re-state the mantra that digital transformation is primarily a business objective. It is the innovative and principled application of digital technologies, and the strategic realignment of the organization towards the continuous improvement of business models, industrial models, and associated processes, ultimately leading into the creation of entirely new and better ways of conducting business.
Digital transformation can be a failure-prone journey, baked into the project programme must be room for setbacks, learning and re-alignments. Commercial benefits should be identified with pain-points established for tracking and measuring success or failure of that pain-point process. With the full support of the ‘C’ suite who have taken ownership of the journey, a well experienced team led by seasoned DTx /IIOT advisors should participate in creating the finally ‘C’ suite approved project plan.
For many years, our AFFECTLI BOS/DTx platform and its supporting team, have provided the basis for successful digital IIOT transformation journeys, in various industrial endeavours. Through seamlessly addressing these needs and leveraging people skills, connected things and business processes, the AFFECTLI platform has frequently performed beyond expectations in the transformation of industrial operations with commensurate bottom-line results
In closing with the words of the CEO and Founder of AFFECTLI, Glen Scott:- “A successful strategy is a steady hand on the rudder, – not a sprint, not chopping and changing of point solutions – and it requires sustained rigorous yet pro-active flexibility, in the application of People, Processes and Systems logic within the projects to achieve best in class collaboration, increase ever-more successful relationships and reduce complexities – the core ethos that is at the very heart of our software architecture.”
¹ (“Common Mistakes” courtesy of- https://www.iiconsortium.org/pdf/Compilation_of_Testbed_Results_2020_Feb.pdf)