SAG_Twitter_MEME_Missing_Steps_880x440_Oct17_draft1.jpgEvery industry is investigating, investing in or actively pursuing some form of digital transformation, but there appears to be an important step missing that is holding them back.

In manufacturing, organizations are pursuing digitalization from real time, IoT-enabled supply chains for greater visibility, to smart manufacturing and connected products.  POC’s are prevalent and many companies have successfully tested the waters, but have not successfully scaled to an enterprise-wide deployment. 

So what is holding them back? 

There are many obstacles; architectural limitations, organizational readiness, business requirement and value clarity and the funding process for projects.  While all of these are crucial considerations, two of them are especially interesting to examine; architectural limitations and the project funding process.

These two items are closely intertwined.  Operational technology and IT applications are far from standardized across a multinational manufacturing conglomerate, are usually fraught with redundancies and are costly to maintain.  When seeking funding for enterprise-wide digital transformation projects, these needs are weighed against the possible returns of other projects and the best are funded.

To facilitate digital transformation at an enterprise level, a rational first step is to obtain an understanding of the enterprise OT & IT landscape and then rationalize IT & OT applications based on functional need.  This provides two benefits: 1) making transformation a simpler endeavor and 2) provides a direct method for funding the transformation by reducing IT & OT application costs. 

Rationalizing these applications not only eliminates the direct maintenance or subscription costs, but also decreases the support costs spent on personnel managing these applications.  These same persons can then be redirected to manage a complete transformation.  More importantly, the spend reduction can be used to fund a digital transformation. 

This particular step is often overlooked but is a critical entry to digital transformation for any manufacturer that has legacy architecture to manage.

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