A panel discussion at the 2020 ARC Industry Forum in Orlando, Florida elicited multiple perspectives on how transformation strategies across industry and infrastructure are constantly changing and adapting to current business requirements.
Prior to the panel discussion, executives from several technology end user organizations gave presentations on the digital transformation journeys at their respective companies. These were Kevin Carpenter, Vice President, Advanced Manufacturing at Carrier; Tim Linsenmeyer, CTO at Clover Imaging Group; and Vijay Kamineni, Business Transformation Leader at Logan Aluminum. Joining them on the panel from the technology supplier side were Jesse Alleyne, Sr. Manufacturing Industry Executive at Microsoft; John Magee, VP Marketing Digital Solutions at Hitachi Vantara; and Neelakandan Sharma, VP, Digital Advisory Services at L&T Technology Services.
Greg Gorbach, Vice President at ARC Advisory Group, moderated the panel and kicked off the discussion by providing a high-level overview highlighting the imperatives, expectations, technology deployment curve, and complex and dynamic 21st century operations ecosystem.
21st Century Transformation Strategies
In their introductions, the panelists from Microsoft, Hitachi Vantara, and L&T Technology Services agreed that technology suppliers and end users alike are all on a similar digital journey, working on the common issues of strategy and execution and the next steps of digital transformation. But organizations are at different levels of digital maturity; those in the fundamental stages need to scale up operations to leverage digital technologies and achieve tangible goals such as increased productivity.
The panelists then took turns responding to questions posed by the audience.
“What's Different Between the 20th and the 21st Century, When It Comes to Using Computers to Solve Operations Issues?”
Mr. Alleyne said that the difference lies in the volume, variety, and velocity of data; and the ability to consume massive amounts of compute at low costs. In the historical buying model of the 20th century, a lot of money was spent on OPEX, experimenting and hoping for an outcome. “Today, you can actually use these capabilities as services.” According to Mr. Sharma, the 21st century is all about the evolution of smart products and how to manage and take it downstream to manufacturing and services. These technologies help improve operations and reduce costs. “It is more than just data collection; we need to glean the right contextual information from it.”
Mr. Kamineni opined that from a business perspective, the primary difference in strategy between the 20th and 21st century is the rate of change. In a fast-moving ecosystem, organizations must get continuous value and be agile and adopt new technologies to remain competitive. Mr. Magee added that in addition to the rate of change, which is driving the imperative for digital transformation in the 21st century, it's also the connectedness of the ecosystems. He said that the companies that Hitachi Vantara works with are horizontally integrated; they are optimizing supply chains and their ecosystems.
The role that technology plays today is completely different than what it was last century, said Mr. Linsenmeyer. The days of just maintaining and existing are gone, organizations must stay current with technology and industry trends.
“What Are the Challenges of Deploying Digital Technologies?”
The panelists then took turns responding to a query on the challenges of deploying digital technologies by sharing their experiences and viewpoints.
Mr. Carpenter commented, “It's not really the tools; it's how we do the homework.” Often, tools are used to solve optimized processes just because we like the tool; this only exposes the gaps. What is required is a good, solid business process to apply the tools and get the benefits. Further, Mr. Linsenmeyer said that the business functionality problem must be solved first and then a partner should be brought in to provide technology training. Strategic partners are needed to make the right decision because it's extremely costly to make the wrong decision and select the wrong tools.
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Keywords: ARC Industry Forum, Transformation Strategies, Digital Transformation, Digitalization, IT/OT Convergence, ARC Advisory Group.