In the world of manufacturing and services, businesses all over the UK rely on digital transformation to increase efficiency and profits by becoming more innovative, adept, and customer-focused.
Here, Rob Holmes, Managing Director, explains our process – from auditing and identifying the best opportunities for digital engagement, applying automated processes to remove inefficiencies, to enhancing the customer experience.
How do you begin to scope a digital transformation project?
In this day and age, there are few companies that have no digital infrastructure at all in place, so “transformation” is always a relative term. A scenario we often find is that an organisation will have data stored in several disconnected, unstructured locations, such as Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. At one level, this can be considered “digital,” but it is not really pertinent to a proper digital infrastructure that should actually be helping people to achieve their goals by providing automation and such.
When we start to scope out a project, we look to see how much data is currently “siloed” in documents, how that data may be drawn together into a meaningful database of information, and what application code would need to be written to make that data provide a meaningful benefit to the client.
What are the key success factors when approaching a digital transformation programme?
Success in digital transformation means that a client now has a better understanding of and control over their business as a result of introducing new digital technology. We need to look at:
• Reduced effort (thanks to introducing automation)
• Reduced error (due to re-keying, etc)
• Better Customer Service (through improved communication, notification, alerts, etc)
How do you ensure projects are delivered to time, cost and quality?
We run projects along Agile principles. This methodology allows for a great deal of flexibility in the definition of scope, functionality, and features. In a vast majority of cases, a client’s functional requirements will evolve as the project progresses and Agile project management allows for this type of scope expansion to happen in a controlled, transparent fashion. It also ensures that as soon as usable functionality is complete, it can be delivered to end-users, who can start to benefit from the systems, therefore, enabling the ROI as early as possible.
Can you give an example of a successful digital transformation outcome?
At one of our clients, we were faced with a business that had very little in the way of tech operating. They had little understanding of their operational effectiveness and their job-costing was poor to non-existent.
We were able to introduce some IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things) technology which captured enough data to show how we can track equipment usage, energy usage, job throughput, productivity etc. This meant that senior management now have the chance to optimise their processes and increase productivity through analysis of actual captured data rather than just because of gut feeling or hunch.
Covid has sped up the adoption of innovative technologies and digital working. Do you think this trend will continue?
Undoubtedly, yes. Although I think that as Covid starts to recede (that can’t come too soon!), more people will spend more time in the office with all the benefits that it brings. I also think that office space will be seen more as a “collaborative” space where staff will meet and interact, whereas home will be seen as a “productivity” space, where people can focus on a specific task without distraction.
Some businesses will be able to adopt these new practices more widely than others, of course. Whilst flexible working used to be something you had to convince your workplace would be okay, going forward there is no doubt in my mind that it will simply remain a normal part of how we all work.