IQ…EQ…and now it is DQ! Intelligence, emotional, and digital quotient. Today it’s not enough to be highly intelligent or emotionally balanced – these are givens. The question is that in this era of digitization, what is your individual and company’s digital quotient? That is, what is your digital competence/expertise as compared to the expected growth and potential of the digital market?
Look around and you’ll find that the focus of all conferences in India is on new technologies and digitization. Since January this year there have been atleast two conferences a month exclusively on the wave of digital transformation and how industries have started to evaluate, identify, and bridge knowledge gaps. Such conferences facilitate networking, exchange of insights and best practices, and prepare the ground for new ways of collaborative working. The central themes of these conferences hinge on:
- Effective digital strategy
- Understanding the challenges
- Continuous learning and adapting
- Applying new management and technical skills
Books have been written on this topic. Some have alarming titles, such as Digital or Death: Digital Transformation – The Only Choice for Business to Survive, Smash, and Conquer; and Digitize or Die. But these titles make one realize the imperative to digitize strategies, portfolio, and business organization. Technologies are evolving at breakneck speed, but have not yet established rigid rules or ways of doing things. The rules of the game can be adapted and customized according to the organization’s needs. A lot of these technologies are discussed at ARC forums.
The Digital Enterprise at ARC Forums
At ARC’s forums worldwide the theme for the last few years has centered on the digital enterprise. We look at the concept of digital transformation from every aspect of business, industry and infrastructure, presenting case studies of how digital transformation is under way in manufacturing today. The forum presentations make it clear that there is increasing recognition among industrial companies that new approaches are disrupting established business models; and to keep pace it is imperative to adopt new strategies and processes. Some companies already have a robust strategy for digital transformation, along with a realizable roadmap. This digital transformation will be widespread with far reaching impact as it necessitates the collaborative convergence of information technology (IT), operational technology (OT), engineering technology (ET), and a host of other services.
According to a presentation at the India forum by NASSCOM, an industry body, the digital forces driving customer experience are: intensifying competition, disruptive innovation, and new technologies - all leading to a more aware customer base. Diagrammatically explaining the challenges surrounding digital transformation initiatives -
These challenges apply across most industries in India. A speaker from the oil and gas sector said that these challenges can be addressed by going digital and enhancing continuous improvement. The business model has changed from “maintaining business” to “growing business.” And business can grow only through digitization, which reduces costs; facilitates faster and intelligent decision making; nurtures innovation; and provides a single version of the truth. Digitization enables manufacturers to improve the performance of their service operations by facilitating:
- Remote connectivity
- Predictive maintenance
- Continuous uptime
- Rapid service response
- Incremental, revenue-producing products and services
Orlando Industry Forum
Seeing the video uploads of the presentations made at the recent Orlando Industry Forum it is evident that digitization is not just a hot topic – it is the way businesses have to be transacted to remain competitive and survive. A few years ago, new technologies, such as cloud computing, mobility, Internet of Things, Big Data/analytics, and 3D visualization, seemed like mere business jargon; but today, these technologies are driving industrial growth.
The keynote addresses at this year’s ARC Industry Forum in Orlando, focused on the new open and secure hardware and software platforms that will play an increasingly important enabling role within a successful digital enterprise; and as companies, municipalities, and transportation networks become digital enterprises, they will need a few more digital platforms, including platforms to support the Internet of Things (IoT). Most major automation and equipment companies will develop their own cloud platforms, which are open and able to work together. For the first time ARC hosted an end user–driven Digital Transformation Council at the forum, eliciting multiple perspectives.
Developments in the Digital Space
Conferences and ARC forums drive home the fact that organizations must clearly define their digital strategies and work collaboratively to ensure success. Developments in the digital space are a good indicator of the collective rising digital quotient. But how does one constantly improve the DQ? I think it can be done by business networking, keeping abreast of latest technologies, and learning from the experience of others. In India, the government is trying to encourage the transition to a Digital India through various schemes and incentives. There has been some degree of success; but this has to percolate through the layers of bureaucracy and varying skillsets. We are all at different stages on the digital journey – but the objectives are the same – resource optimization, operational efficiency, and enhanced productivity. And as our digital quotient improves we will achieve these objectives.