Digitalisation’s true value lies in our ability to reimagine how to solve critical business problems across functions, systems and processes. And while every domain will have its nuances around product, platforms and applications, digital technology itself is sector-agnostic.
The trends envisioned
We foresee continued evolution of the following trends
driving adoption of Industry 4.0 -
Digital twins: A virtual replication of equipment and processes created with the help of AI/ML, simulation and modelling, digital twins can be used to monitor assets remotely. It improves asset management, enables predictive maintenance and optimises operations & utilisation.
Smart manufacturing: Powered by sensor technology, the convergence of IoT and 5G will turn connected machines into smart factories. This will pave the way for smart manufacturing that could improve operational efficiencies and enable new functionalities.
Intelligent supply chain: Integrating supply chain with factory, including warehouses and material 'on the move', provides better visibility and traceability of inventory. This enables the use of methods like inter-modal logistics, which add incremental value at different points in the product lifecycle.
Staying ahead in the technology race
The key is to start with problems/opportunities for business transformation for those starting on their digital journey. Ask yourself, “what disruption in the industry/company’s value chain will provide a significant advantage or differentiation over the rest?” or something as basic as, “what are the three things in my business that I want to improve?” and then identify how digitalisation can help you get there.
The other thing to remember is that digital technologies are evolving at a breakneck speed; what seemed futuristic in 2019 is either a commonplace or obsolete. So, companies need to acknowledge that some of their investment will become outdated & will need a constant refresh, and a few others may not yield the desired result. However, consistency and discipline in technology investment are important because the risk of inaction is far higher than the risk of making some mistakes.
Suggestions to win at digital transformation
It is advisable to always start with business objectives and look for incremental benefits or improvements. And as powerful as technology is, it is also unpredictable because, with the proliferation and democratisation of technology, one never knows what new technology is around the corner. Take inspiration from the 8th law of Peter Senge – ‘Small changes can produce big results – but the areas of highest leverage are often the least obvious’. The key is, be consistent, build incrementally and execute limited scope with speed. It is far more effective to iterate after three months of adopting a solution, as against spending three months on visioning, discovery and roadmap exercises to launch a ‘perfect’ solution.
Another thing is to have realistic expectations and anticipated outcomes. For example, out of 10 investments, three or four will yield moderate results, one or two will yield significant benefits, and the rest may not be as effective. What matters at the end of the day is to learn consciously to increase the overall success rate.