Sometimes it takes a crisis to spark real change. COVID-19 is just that catalyst for industrial operations. Companies that had a head start on their digital transformation journey have experienced notable advantages. Whether you’re well on your way, working through pilots or just getting started, now is not the time to pump the breaks.
Here are a few tips from industrial companies that are leading the way.
1. Find senior executive sponsorship – Digital transformation is more than changing systems and platforms, it means changing your culture and processes while supporting your enterprise strategy. You need someone who will align the digital vision with corporate strategy and who understands the holistic impact across the organization. Without the right champion – many times the CEO – transformation initiatives can quickly become narrowly focused on technology and/or only one part of the organization, making the intended benefits very difficult to achieve.
2. Define your digital roadmap – What does success look like? Chances are, that answer differs across your organization. The collective answers generate use cases that can help advance your corporate strategy. Decide which areas to prioritize now and plan for later. Make sure to incorporate milestones, track success and celebrate progress.
3. Don’t forget a change management plan – Employees must understand what you’re doing and why. Explain the changes and intended benefits that will result from your digital transformation initiative. There may be some role changes, so it’s important to be transparent from the beginning.
4. Insist on cross-functional collaboration – To be successful, your cross-functional teams must work together so the proposed changes work for everyone. This means having both IT and OT subject matter expertise on your digital transformation team. They should consult with each other, finalize plans together, report out together and share the rewards.
5. Iterate quickly – Digital platforms mean you can add new functionality and use cases at a rapid pace. A growth mindset allows your organization to learn from each iteration and adapt quickly and accordingly. A solid business case provides a single guiding light to where new value can be realized in the long term.
6. Invest in your people – Support a data-driven culture across your company. As employees get more comfortable with data and analytics in their everyday lives, they may welcome additional learning opportunities. Not all data analytics need to go through a data scientist. Save the complex jobs for them and help other employees embrace data-driven processes, real-time operations visibility and more.
7. Cybersecurity is ongoing – Cybersecurity is not only a must for your everyday operations, but it is also critical for your ongoing digital transformation program. A security posture that is based on a single technology like a firewall is not enough, especially when insider threats can be as much of a risk as outside threats. Work with those who specialize in the security of OT systems to integrate cybersecurity into your transformation plan and technology roadmap.
8. Build partnerships outside your company – Digital transformation is a complex undertaking. Find a partner who can bridge internal gaps, understand your industry and share the knowledge gained through helping many others implement lasting, holistic transformation.
Transforming to a more digitally-focused enterprise can be overwhelming. But the past few months have shown us all that there’s no more time for talk. Even with the best intentions and highly motivated team members, enterprise-wide digital initiatives too often stall out well before the finish line. Working with an experienced advocate can help create a roadmap and plan that aligns to your corporate strategy – bringing industry-specific insight to speed the learning curve and accelerate the process. Learn how Rockwell Automation Digital Transformation Consulting has helped others like you reap the rewards of a connected enterprise.