Practical Roadmap to Digital Transformation

by | Mar 11, 2019 | Industrial IoT

Jim Cahill

Chief Blogger, Editor

Digital transformation, digitalization, digital twins and all things digital has been threading through the discussions taking place this week at CERAWeek. Emerson’s Chris Hamlin joined the fray with a presentation in one of the Agora Pods, Beyond hype: Practical Roadmap to Digital Transformation.

Chris’ mission for the presentation was to give a clear and actionable path—where to start and measures to know when you’ve achieved a transformation.

Emerson's Chris Hamlin at CERAWeek 2019

Chris opened describing his seven guiding principles:

  1. Don’t do digital for just the sake of doing it!
  2. Know what you are trying to achieve
  3. It’s all about People (who are enabled by technology)
  4. Fully utilize (& capture) the knowledge that you have
  5. Walk before you run
  6. Continuously, critically review your roadmap
  7. Sow Seeds and Nurture

Start with your business drivers—safety & risk management, reliability, production, sustainability. Understand your business enablers—organizational effectiveness, systems & data. People have to do something different and work processes have to change. Change management is a critical part of the initiative.

For people, you need to answer where?, who?, and how? For where, should the people be local or remote. For who, should the experts be in-house or 3rd party specialists. For how, will the data all reside on premise or cloud-based. Once these decisions are made, the architecture of what data goes where becomes clearer.

A critical part of a digital transformation initiative is capture the expertise and knowledge embedded in your experienced people. Truly prescriptive intelligence identifies root cause of problem or opportunity, prescribes specific mitigations and understands interactions between multiple inputs.

Think about a transformation as a progressive process—walk before you run. Prioritize projects with business impact that you can affect the business processes and have data analytics in place.

Roadmap is not necessarily the right word, since it applies you have a clear path to your destination. Chris used the analogy of navigating through an ice flow. You know where you want to go, but the route is shifting. You can make a step forward but need to see what’s in front of you before possibly needing course corrections.

Start by establishing a project in a core capability you want to improve. Seed the key infrastructure elements with easy, quick wins, and then encourage growth.

Throughout all the steps, focus on the people. And then, focus more on the people. And after that, focus even more on the people.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.