Brian Joe

Brian Joe

Global Product Manager

In a Flow Control magazine article, Seven Digital Transformation Myths Exposed, Emerson’s Brian Joe offers advice on starting a digital transformation program.

When we talk to companies about digital transformation, especially companies that have yet to launch a program, we frequently hear two kinds of responses representing two extremes. Either they don’t think the technologies work, or they have inflated expectations of what the technology can deliver, well beyond what is practical. Many of those claims begin with a statement like, “I hear that digital transformation…” You can fill in the rest.

Many of these statements advanced are simply wrong, which prompted me to write an article for the June 2020 issue of Flow Control debunking seven myths of digital transformations that we hear again and again. You should read the article for all seven, but for right now, I’m going to concentrate on myth No. 6: Digital transformation is strictly top-down and must be implemented all at once. This often causes companies to do nothing because they think they can’t launch a big enough project to matter, but this is wrong thinking. The reality:

Projects can be launched on a small scale and driven from the plant level where challenges and pains are known by the personnel interacting with the process daily, with the knowledge of operations personnel informing digital transformation (DX) projects. Frontline personnel understand what specific challenges need to be addressed to drive performance improvements, bringing valuable perspective to these projects by informing them from the bottom-up.

For instance:

If pump failures are a routine problem, it is a simple matter to outfit a few of the most troublesome installations with condition monitoring instruments able to communicate via WirelessHART protocol. An analytics app designed for this type of application can collect and process the data and then provide recommendations for when repairs need to be made before an outright failure. This approach to DX — a series of small changes combined together to provide big results — takes advantage of the scalability of the technology. Each upgrade of this type is designed to solve an operational pain point or reduce an excessive cost.

You get the idea. Such condition monitoring instruments communicate with Emerson’s Plantweb Insight analytics software , which turn the raw data into information that can direct maintenance efforts so the things that really need attention can get it in a timely manner.

So where is your facility in your digital transformation journey? Are you stuck in your efforts to implement start your facility’s  digital transformation because too many people believe the myths? The article can be a good starting point for a group discussion about direction and planning.

Visit the Digital Transformation pages at for more on technologies and solutions to create this reality. You can also connect and interact with other engineers in the IIoT & Digital Transformation Forum at the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

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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.

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