COVID–19 Accelerating Digital Transformation

By Sharada Prahladrao

Industry Trends

Accelerating digital transformation in a post-COVID world was the theme and core of the executive interviews at the virtual ARC Industry Forum. ARC’s Ed O’Brien, Director of Research, and Denise Miller, VP and GM, Enterprise Asset Management at Infor, discussed the company’s customer-first approach, focus on innovations, and its digital transformation initiatives. Ms. Miller’s extensive industry experience includes customer asset optimization, helping customers reimagine their business models, and charting their future path. Infor has a robust R&D budget that enables the company to continually build out capabilities and features to drive ongoing value for its customers. This blog covers the highlights of the interview. It can be viewed on YouTube and/or below.  

Embracing Digital Transformation

Mr. O’Brien asked how Infor will change as Koch Industries has full ownership stake and if this entails additional investment opportunities. Ms. Miller responded that Koch is well known in the industry for its market-based management philosophies, and Infor has adopted those practices. “It's really about driving good profit where we deliver ongoing value for customers and embrace transformation,” she said. Koch has enabled the company to take a long-term risk profile and collaborate and co-innovate with customers in unique ways to drive virtuous cycles of continuous improvement. Besides, Koch owns 13 companies that evaluate and invest in innovative technologies, such as remote asset monitoring, artificial intelligence, machine learning algorithms, and predictive models to analyze massive amounts of data. Infor can rely on those partnerships and address a broader set of use cases for its customers, expanding market reach and driving ongoing value.  

Digital Transformation in EAM

Asked what digital transformation means, not only within an enterprise industrial company, but also within EAM and where it is heading, Ms. Miller categorized it under three themes:

  • Re-engineering business processes
  • Creating new services capabilities
  • Creating new business capabilities

She said that EAM fits nicely across all three categories and is a core foundation of a lot of the transformations, especially as customers embrace and adopt Industry 4.0 use cases. Talking about the data aspect, she said that it's really about harnessing the power of data to predict asset failure and then leveraging those insights to make data driven decisions, so that you can automatically direct the processes of remediation and drive asset optimization, improved asset yield as well as improved profitability of the assets.  “EAM has a strong place in digital transformation,” she said.   

Challenges and Opportunities of COVID-19

COVID-19 compressed and accelerated digital transformation. Companies were caught in the eye of the storm, and things that would have happened in five years were happening in five months, explained Ms. Miller. Workforces were reduced, employees went virtual, and the emphasis was on digital workflows and remote monitoring capabilities. Companies that responded with agility are now in a position to adopt new and unconventional ways to optimize business processes, so that they can drive value and compete more effectively in the market.  

Journey Ahead

Infor is driving transformation to give its customers a competitive advantage, and there are three steps that it follows to drive ongoing value:

  • Identify the business problem and link that to the expected business outcome
  • Improve decision velocity (a key component of transformation)
  • Provide a platform that customers can build upon

Infor’s EAM solution is easy to adopt and integrates with most ERP solutions in the market. But the real benefit is realized when customers leverage Infor’s full suite of products and integrate their assets holistically across the organization and combine that with workforce management, supply chain, and inventory optimization, said Ms. Miller. At the macro level, customers want to evolve from enterprise asset management to asset performance management and drive a new set of business outcomes. Infor is focused on driving customer value and helping its customers innovate as they embark on these digital transformation journeys. In this context, she spoke about the company’s ongoing smart factory project at Wichita -  a 60,000 square foot immersive innovative facility that has end-to-end production lines leveraging innovative technologies (machine learning, artificial intelligence, IoT, and robotics) experiential labs etc. that will provide manufacturers the ability to envision what is possible through innovation.

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