At the 2019 ARC Industry Forum, Praxair’s Larry Megan shared their digital transformation journey. Based on all the hype, he jokingly wanted to call his presentation:
Larry opened sharing how unique it is to everyone. It starts with what you’re trying to accomplish—what’s your business objectives? It’s important not to get hung up on the definitions of digital transformation.
In developing your digital strategy, never start with technology. Next feel your customers’ experiences. Next build on foundational platforms that will help you scale over time. And, emphasize products over projects building incrementally instead of all at once.
By keeping the focus on the expectation of value creation, the technologies and work practices can be worked to improve real-time visibility, granularity, reduce friction and improve ecosystem connectivity. It’s not about being more digital, it’s about changing how people do their jobs and changing how work gets done.
At Praxair, they have three main ways of delivering industrial gases to their customers. The first is building their plant next to or within industrial plants who use their gases in their process. The second is delivery trucks who deliver the gases. The final is in cylinders to deliver the gases.
He shared an example of digital transformation in their industrial plant supply method. Their business strategy is high reliability with a digital strategy of low cost IoT and analytics. For reducing energy efficiency, state-of-the-art automation is critical. For low fixed costs, remote accessibility and augmented reality technologies are important elements of the digital strategy.
The foundation of their digital strategy is their plant historian and computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS). Their journey is to add more edge analytics, collaborative analysis and platform strategy.
Organizational culture is fundamental for a digital transformation. It takes investment, leadership and communications to change the culture over time.