Questions around digital transformation in the heavy process industries no longer begin with “if,” but instead with “when” and “how.” By now it’s universally acknowledged that the digital technologies of the fourth industrial revolution can generate significant return on investment (ROI). These technologies center around data and how it's collected, stored, accessed and analyzed.
Digital transformation is a journey, and there are many unique routes to successful outcomes. Companies in the same vertical—with similar revenue, headcount and organizational structure—often take very different approaches. But one thing many industrial leaders in digital transformation have in common, and perhaps the most surprising characteristic of the digital age, is that they’re all talking openly about their digital transformations, and this information sharing is having a positive impact.
A shift in mindset
Technology has historically been considered a source of competitive advantage in the process manufacturing industries. While a company’s home-grown solutions are typically proprietary intellectual property, a rise in publicly available data storage, infrastructure, analytics tools and open-source algorithms has differentiated between competitive advantage and simply embracing new technology. As industrial companies navigate these new technologies together, there's much to learn about what they’re using, what it’s enabling, and how it fits in their overall data strategy.