If it wasn’t before, post lockdown Digital Transformation will be huge. Google the phrase “Digital Transformation” and you’ll get in excess of 500 million results in around half a second. To put into perspective that was almost as many hits as “Donald Trump” and he’s been pretty busy recently.
Searching through those hits, there are some themes that emerge. Start with the Customer, wait that’s from a CRM vendor. No, it’s all about protecting your data said the cloud-based data back-up company. It’s about connecting users and working together said the collaboration tools company. It won’t succeed unless you follow a framework and implement change management said the management consultancy, access anywhere said the remote access vendor. The main theme that emerges is digital transformation means all things to everyone. It seems digital transformation is about whatever you have to sell.
In all of this, the voice of the customer is strangely silent, unheard and drowned out by the volume of sales messages.
Actually, Digital Transformation is about the way we interact with our business, either as a connected worker or as an engaged customer. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has perfectly demonstrated the power of being digital. Paper or people-based solutions were severely impacted or barely functioned at all. Those departments or companies that were digitally-enabled fared much better. Digital meant better-connected people working from safer locations. It meant being able to pivot quicker. Stories became rife about introducing cloud-based collaboration tools for tens of thousands of people that only took days rather than the many months previously planned.
The key lesson from all this is the need for speed, to make decisions and do things quickly. However, to do this we need data and here this is the challenge – what data should we use and how fresh and accurate is it?
Consider the Data timeline below.
The transactional data we record in the ERP or CRM solution that enables the Finance department to produce reports and measure KPIs. The unstructured data created on the shared drive that captures the random thoughts and intermediate actions as we execute our day to day tasks. The modelled data that allows Sales to create forecasts and Marketing to estimate future potential.
The challenge about this data is not the management of it (although for some of us that is very important) but the impact it has on our interactions. A bad quarter may encourage management to incentivise sales differently. A favourable forecast or machine prediction may encourage optimism.
However, there is an underlying issue to this view of data, namely the transactional data has already happened and is a statement of record. Legally (and ethically) we cannot change this data. Future data has not yet happened. No matter how confident we are, there is always the prospect of an incomplete model, too small or unrepresentative sample set, unconscious bias, an omitted factor or even an unpredicted event that causes our forecast to be wrong.
What about the point where data is neither past nor future? What about the power of now?
This is why your digital transformation needs IOT. The data generated from the sensors such as IoT Horizons’ MPWR:Sense range can provide the data that quantifies the now. Whether directly, for example detecting the level of iron in engine oil or the presence of a contaminant, or indirectly measuring sound or heat against a reference, IOT can be used to measure the now. Using MPWR:Insight, that information can be presented to a point, an operators’ display, an app, web page or control room, where something can, if necessary and possibly automatically, be done.
The ability to influence the now is why IOT is so important to your digital transformation. We can legitimately influence the statement of record, for example reducing waste or efficiently locating assets, thereby increasing profitability. We can see whether we’re on track against our forecasts and respond accordingly.
To understand the impact of our actions in the business, we need data. IOT generates all sorts of data from different sources using a wide variety of different types of sensors. At IoT Horizon we can advise and help you understand what is the best sensor to deliver the necessary data securely. We can develop the application, dashboard or integration so that data is turned into actionable insight quickly. We can use that insight to understand the health of the business.
But more importantly we can use that data in ways previously not possible to make better calls and more timely decisions, which ultimately determines the success (or otherwise) of our Digital Transformations. This is why IOT is so important to digital transformation and explains why if your digital transformation does not include IOT, it is not likely to deliver the full value and benefit from your transformation investment.