ARC’s India Forum was all about Driving Digital Transformation

By Sharada Prahladrao

Industry Trends

For the last several years, the core theme across all ARC global forums has been digital transformation.  And on this journey we’ve moved to the next level of discussing how digitalization can help industries and cities grow in a secure, collaborative environment.  At ARC’s India Forum, the first presentations on both days set the momentum for the subsequent presentations on Driving Digital Transformation in Industry and Cities. 

Day 1 – First Speaker

Bradley G. Houk, Senior Engineering Advisor, ExxonMobil, spoke about the company’s open process automation journey.  He provided a brief history of how the Open Process Automation (OPA) Forum was formed in 2016; and in 2019 they are continuing the development of the prototype and starting test bed work.  The OPA Forum is an industry organization that supports the development and use of industry standards. 

The current DCS architecture has constraints, such as proprietary hardware, networks, and interfaces; no built-in security; high-cost, limited access to latest computing power and applications, and vendor controlled software access.  The OPA reference architecture provides industry standard interfaces, interoperable hardware, best-in-class components, built-in security, open software access, etc.  Mr. Houk spoke about the enablers and drivers of change, such as the Industrial IoT, cybersecurity innovations, Cloud Services, greater integration of IT and OT; and proven success in industries such as avionics and telecommunications.  Further, he explained the objectives and approach of the ExxonMobil-Lockheed Martin proof-of-concept.  He explained the process, challenges, and deployment in a step-wise manner; and stressed on the importance of collaboration among partners.

Driving Digital Transformation

Day 2 – First Speaker

The morning began with a keynote by G. Ganapathiraman, Vice President and General Manager, ARC Advisory Group, India.  After giving a brief overview of the company, he spoke about how new technologies are reinventing every aspect of every industrial sector.  His presentation was in two parts: planning and managing digital transformation; and new, digital software.  Business dynamics have changed due to new technologies, innovation, and disruption.  For example, mobile phones began as a communication tool and now are like a computer in your pocket!  This was only the beginning.  The Driving Digital Transformationripple effect was felt in markets and infrastructure as the impact was visible outside the system (for example, Uber, FB, Twitter, etc.).  And that is the real transformation. 

The first part was about the impact of disruptive technologies, such as cloud, artificial intelligence, robotics etc., on the industrial landscape; and although it’s hard to see the future, it sure is coming fast, he said.  Explaining the digital imperative for every organization, he explained the six dimensions that need to be transformed and optimized.  The six dimensions must converge for operational efficiency – smart business, smart services, smart products, smart operate & maintain, smart design & construct and smart supply chain – and these have to be seamlessly integrated with Industrial IoT.

In the second part of his presentation, Mr. Raman elaborated on how “software is eating the world,” and how it is powering the Industrial IoT revolution.  He further spoke about the evolution of IT systems; the functionality gaps and transitioning to the new software to create a digitally integrated enterprise.


Driving Digital Transformation


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