Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 investments are increasing, but most companies are quite far from being totally ‘digital transformation ready’. Which barriers are still preventing organisations to implement new technologies and drive innovation?
When asked this question, customers answer that data availability, financial resources and internal skills are the most frequent stumbling blocks. Let’s debunk these three myths with Omninecs’ Chief Technology Officer and EAM Practice leader, Bruno Portaluri.
Q: Bruno, relying on accurate and timely data is fundamental for any digital innovation project. How should a company manage data availability and in-depth analysis?
A: There are so many Business Intelligence tools on the market, but before addressing data analysis, we need to take care of data sources and their integration. In most cases, data are collected and stored in different repositories, and they might not be within easy reach. The first step is to make all sources accessible, so they can be leveraged to transform data into insightful information for business processes. Once data are under control, we can implement the so-called data-lake, that is a centralised repository for any following analysis. Data-lake allows overcoming traditional techniques limited to structured data (data warehouse), paving the way to emerging machine learning algorithms. Such a new approach moves from retrospective to predictive data analysis, thus forecasting trends and behavioural changes. In this way, organisations will support decision making with more and better quality information.
Q: Even visionary companies might experience budget constraints. Does digital transformation require huge investments to be started?
Not necessarily. The real turning point is leadership, the identification of relevant goals to be achieved, and the processes to be targeted. Once agreed where the company wants to go, it is not mandatory to jump into a large-scale implementation, which could require a significant investment. We usually suggest starting with a pilot phase, deploying a PoC (Proof of Concept) or PoT (Proof of Technology) to assess project feasibility and expected ROI. This also allows for a better evaluation of technologies to be developed and a more precise budget estimation. According to pilot results, one or two digital projects might be prioritised and implemented, mitigating risks.
Q: Most organisations lack digital skills and fear this gap might compromise their technology investments. How to overcome this problem?
Having a strong and internal digital know-how would be ideal, but consider the do-it-yourself approach might not guarantee the highest possible effectiveness. A trusted technology partner might be preferable to take advantage of proven expertise and competencies. What we recommend is to create an internal team with a good technical background, but above all the ability to liaise digital innovation with business strategy and vision. That’s key to steer the digital transformation journey and turn ideas into successful projects.