Digital transformation now underpins corporate survival. Not only did digital disruption forge a critical path through the COVID-19 pandemic for enterprises – allowing them to continue operations in challenging times – it has now become a strategic imperative. Across all sectors those enterprises that have invested in digital transformation can now embrace automation, AI, the IoT and edge deployments that give them a significant competitive edge. It’s small wonder that despite the challenging market conditions and shrinking IT budgets, worldwide digital transformation spending will grow at a CAGR of 22.7 per cent to $US3.3 billion by 2025.
Digital transformation does look different from vertical to vertical, as transformation is adapted to suit the specific needs, workflows and processes of the sector. One example of this can be seen in the industrial sector. In 2020, AVEVA announced that it would be acquiring OSIsoft, a leader in real-time industrial operational data software and services, so that it could help deliver transformation to its customers in that space. Combined, AVEVA can provide full stack end-to-end solutions that span edge, plant, and enterprise deployments. Specifically, industrial customers could benefit from performance intelligence.
“Digital transformation, among other things, provides companies with two things. One is real time data. And the second one is improved operational efficiency,” Boris Marrone, AVEVA VP, Head of South Asia and South East Asia, said in an exclusive interview with IDG. “Now, when you add artificial intelligence to the equation, when you overlay that on this data, that’s when you get performance intelligence.”
Managing the data pressures of industrial operations
Industrial sites are high-risk environments that rely on people being able to make quick – and often life-saving – decisions based on the best data that’s available to them. The problem is that industrial sites are creating more data than ever and, in an increasingly digital world, the workers on site need to be able to quickly access and interpret that data.
However, businesses are not necessarily taking full advantage of the available data. As noted in a PwC report, only 18 per cent of survey respondents rate the maturity of their data analytics capabilities as advanced, and more than half say that the lack of skills and competencies in their company’s workforce is a key challenge to making full use of data analytics.
This is something that the combined AVEVA and OSIsoft are looking to address, Boris Marrone said. “The connected worker is that individual that works on sites such as a plant, an oil rig or a manufacturing plant. They are the individuals that need to take fast and important decisions, and resolve critical challenges, sometimes even life-threatening. The challenge of the organization is to take all that harnessed data that is being analyzed at the same time, and use best-in-class algorithms to transfer it in real time to the connected worker. It’s not just about transferring data fast, but also making sure that it’s just the parameters that really help them to make the right decisions and take action.”
Boris Marrone gave the example of an oil rig, with a centralized monitoring centre located off site. In the event of an alarm being triggered, key to the safety of those on the oil rig, and the ability to minimize disruption and downtime, is the ability for that centralised monitoring centre to feedback critical instructions to the connected worker on-site. Being able to pinpoint the exact location of the critical asset that triggers the alarm is a ground-breaking benefit. Being able to provide insights into how to address the alert can reduce downtime, eliminate disruptions and even save lives. By supplying this data to an edge device, such as a tablet, this performance intelligence-enabled system can filter the right data for the connected worker on-site, resulting in faster and safer outcomes, without needing specialized analytics skills. And it all happens in real-time.
Leveraging data for better sustainability outcomes
The other great challenge that organizations face – particularly those in industrial sectors – is the question of sustainability. In order to do their part, organizations are looking into proactive ways to reduce their carbon footprint.
Data is a solution here, too, Boris Marrone told IDG. “If you look at just energy, manufacturing, agriculture and traffic management alone, these sectors globally correspond to more than the combined carbon footprint of the US and European Union combined” Boris Marrone said. “Digital technologies are helping to cut carbon emissions by up to 15 per cent at a global level. This transformation is allowing them to drive efficiencies across the supply chain, run leaner organizations, consume less energy, make fewer trips between plants, and so on. AVEVA has its role to play here, and that’s why in every product roadmap we incorporate ways for companies to translate our solutions, in such a way that they drive a more sustainable organization, introduce ways of cutting waste and run leaner.”
Sustainability is another way in which organizations that have transformed, will differentiate themselves. Not only will green credentials assist them to meet regulatory and social demands, but the efficiencies will reduce the costs of running businesses in a world where carbon will become one of the heaviest costs for enterprises to bear.
Ultimately, the purpose of digital transformation is to prepare the organization to better handle masses of available data, to drive better efficiencies and outcomes back to the organization. Companies like AVEVA are providing the vertical applications of that data to drive efficiency, lower risk, and lead to better outcomes within the business.
For more information on AVEVA and OSIsoft industrial solutions, click here.