Digital Transformation Blogs

Now the Rubber Meets the Road!

My first article after joining Element was regarding my experience in Europe at OSIsoft PI World and Honeywell conferences in ‘A tale of two cities’. Subsequently, I've considered Element's role in digital transformation, and how agility is pivotal in this fast-paced ecosystem.

It’s been 6 months since I joined Element, and times are a-changing. This February I attended the ARC Advisory Group Conference in Orlando, and one keynote talk that particularly struck me was Larry Megan, Director at Praxair Digital, who began his keynote, “Building DigitalDNA@Scale,” by stating that it can be hard to sort out the hype from the reality. “You hear about the promise, but we all have technology and organizational debt.” He went on to say “It’s important to know your target. Don’t get hung up on the definitions, just what you need to accomplish.” In Praxair’s case, this included real-time visibility, granularity, reduced friction, and ecosystem connectivity. “It’s not about being more digital, but about changing how work gets done,” he said.

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The missing link for digital transformation: Mastering the asset data domain

Having spent the most of my career serving industrial clients’ Information Technology needs, I found the week I spent at the 23rd ARC Industry Forum very interesting indeed. The conference was entitled “Driving Digital Transformation in Industry & Cities.” The conference was chock-full of presentations on industrial use cases & their potential value to the enterprise. I spoke with many attendees and there is an excitement I’ve not seen in a while, that the industry is producing truly digital outcomes that deliver on the promise of Industrial Digital Transformation.

On the IT side of the business you don’t hear “Digital Transformation” as frequently. It’s a given that the information domains supported by IT – Financial, Supply Chain, People & Customers - are already digital. Large Industrials have delivered on a technology stack to “master” these domains and as a result – for the most part – this data is widely used throughout the enterprise and is easily delivered via highly reliable, secure, scalable & trusted enterprise systems. IT analytics, whether analyzing marketing campaign effectiveness or product revenue trends, is performed with ease by a cadre of data scientists and analysts.

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Mutate or Die!

Evolutionary science says that evolution is the process of natural selection that allowed random mutations to help humans become the dominant species on our planet. However, this evolution takes many forms with domestic dogs, cats, and even flowers becoming dominant because some trait that makes them appealing to humans and therefore they have reached dominance through human propagation. In life, it is the propagation of DNA that is the goal. As a native Brit I do love a cuppa, and recently had the opportunity while visiting to Sri Lanka to see how our love of the cuppa has transformed the high altitude landscape. The photograph for this piece was taken at the Uva Halpewatte Tea Factory.

But everything on our planet has its own “DNA”. My native English is the most spoken language on earth in no small part to the British Empire, but also because of its ability to adopt and integrate words from other languages or just create new words. The Sci-Fi series Firefly got it right with their spoken language being English + Spanish + Chinese but it was still called English, the language evolves. We even see it in political ideology and the collapse of communism in no small part because of its rigid controls and unwillingness to let natural forces have their natural influence.

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From Hype to Reality, a Partner Ecosystem Perspective

Having spent most of my working life around technology I have seen my fair share of economic booms and busts. Apart from the meta-economic influences, the Silicon Valley cycle usually follows its own wave tied to “the next big thing”-- the wave of investment, over expectation, under delivery, and subsequent crash. This obesogenic hype environment means great ideas typically die before their time and are reborn years later when the foundational problems have been resolved.

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What Your Peers Think About Digital Transformation

Industrial companies are becoming increasingly seasoned and sophisticated in their exploration of data analytics. They’re aware of – and intrigued by – the promise of analytics but are increasingly focusing on getting down to business, encountering challenges and asking tough questions.

This means confronting cultural barriers (i.e. “this is how it’s always been done”) and working to ensure the broad availability of data and analytics (versus making them available only to an organization’s most motivated groups). They’re also moving away from addressing narrow challenges with data and instead treating data as a powerful, broadly applicable and dynamic asset. To first-movers in the industrial sector, data is an asset on par with capital, equipment or personnel.

These are some of the findings from Element Analytics’ workshop, “Digital Transformation Readiness” at the recent OSIsoft PI World.

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