By Chuck Rathmann
Digital transformation is changing business as we know it. Defined as the use of new digital technologies to improve business performance, executives in a range of different industries are looking at the latest advances, such as analytics, mobility, and smart devices, to make this happen.
Tech Disruption Filtering into Industry
Inline companies involved in food order and deliveries, such as UberEATS or AmazonFresh, are good examples of those going through digital transformation—using mobile technologies to manage service offerings and workforces that disrupt traditional companies. In the same way, the industrial internet of things (IIoT) is about to reach new heights as sensor prices drop, connectivity increases, and more businesses reap the rewards. In Industries such as manufacturing, organizations may use smart sensors on their production equipment to drive predictive maintenance techniques to reduce downtime, automate machines, or even entire work processes to reduce risk of human error.
In fact, a new study conducted by IFS suggests that mobility represents just as large an opportunity for industrial organizations as it does for the likes of Amazon or Uber. The study of around 200 industrial executives suggested that companies were more prepared for digital transformation if they had employees that accessed enterprise systems, such as enterprise resource planning, enterprise asset management, or field service management software, through mobile devices.
Despite this, only 31 percent of respondents said they access enterprise software through a mobile device. The survey also found that those respondents who said their enterprise software did a poor job of preparing them for digital transformation were two times less likely to access their software from a mobile device than those that said software did prepare them. The relationship between enterprise mobility and a readiness for digital transformation is clear.
The transformative potential of enterprise mobility for companies is real. Taking an industrial organization as an example, mobile access to enterprise software can enable accurate and real-time collection of information for better decision making, improved productivity of staff by connecting personal devices with machines and equipment, and can also help boost the customer experience by increasing first-time fix rate and decreasing operational downtime.
From Achilles Heel to Enabler
But according to Rick Veague, CTO, North America, IFS, the biggest benefit of enterprise mobility for organizations is that it allows users to engage more frequently with supporting systems, and therefore increases return on investment in enterprise software.
“Mobile is the most obvious manifestation of digital transformation,” says Veague. “It is not the only one or, for that matter, the most important one. But when people use enterprise software from a mobile device, it indicates that the system is the lifeblood of the business. Your employees can connect into those core processes and participate even if they are not sitting at their desk. If you cannot do this, you will struggle with anything in digital transformation.”
Other surveys seem to concur with Veague. A recent CCS Insight survey found that investment in mobile technology resulted in a 25 percent improvement in worker productivity, a 21 percent improvement in cost reduction and an 18 percent improvement in revenue. Another survey went one step further, highlighting nine elements of digital transformation for enterprise executives, of which process digitization and worker enablement were two key points.
While it is impossible to predict the future of the ever-changing IT environment, businesses can take steps to prepare for whatever lies ahead. Incorporating mobility solutions into day-to-day operations will be a step in the right direction on the way to realizing the advantages of digital transformation and new technologies.
Chuck Rathmann is the senior marketing communications analyst, North America, IFS