Digital Transformation • June 26, 2019

Digital Maturity Translates into Market Dominance

Tom Hennessey Tom Hennessey

Analyst firms such as Gartner and Forrester are originating a variety of digital maturity metrics aimed at gauging how far along organizations are in their journey towards end-to-end process digitization. By scoring enterprises against these metrics, some interesting data emerges. 

According to the popular press, the leading lights of digitization are the likes of Google, Airbnb and Uber. They certainly garner most of the attention. Yet digitally advanced companies are not just those focused on the consumer. As it turns out, there are digitization champions in just about every vertical. This includes the aerospace and defense industries where the goal is comprehensive digitization of manufacturing to encompass all shop floor, administrative, management and supply chain interactions. 

Whatever field these digitally advanced companies are in – be it consumer, retail, IT, logistics, manufacturing, aerospace or defense – there are certain traits they tend to have in common:    

  • Rapid growth: According to Forrester analyst Ted Schadler, they are four times more likely to report growth number of 10% or more each year than those at the earlier stages of digital maturity.  
  • Technology spending: They spend strategically on technology to grow the business. Instead of viewing technology as an expense, they treat it as a business asset, as a competitive differentiator and a way to raise profitability. That’s why they spend heavily on the cloud, Internet of Things (IOT), digitization and emerging technology. But they don’t just implement software or systems in a piecemeal fashion, hoping that one new element of technology will solve all of their problems. Instead, they steadily build toward the achievement of a digital business platform from which they can gain greater value across the enterprise and the supply chain. 
  • Operational transformation: The technology may get much of the attention. But it’s viewed as just one facet of achieving digital maturity. Digitization imbues strategy, organizational culture, the overall structure, how they attract talent and the underlying technology framework to create a whole new class of enterprise. These digitally advanced firms put the time in to establish a platform that allows them to work differently than their competitors and be able to more easily cross departmental boundaries. 
  • Market Reinvention: Almost half of all enterprises can be classed as having barely begun the digital transformation. About 40% more are further along but could hardly be classed as trailblazers. In the vanguard are a little more than 10% of organizations that have instituted enough digitization to be able to reinvent their business models and achieve an even greater focus on the customer experience. These are the ones who emerge as the leaders in their respective fields.

The aerospace and defense industries could be said to be late to the digitization party. But some are now moving forward with aggressive digital manufacturing strategies. In many cases, the immediate goal is to create connected systems and data exchanges that make it possible to have “the right information, at the right place, at the right time.”

This means: 

  • Data is only entered once and is automatically distributed to other functions in the enterprise through publish/subscribe data exchanges
  • Every digital handover is structured, parsable and revision controlled
  • Downstream processes avoid manual translation or transformation
  • Downstream systems maintain digital associativity for revision control of derived objects

These are important milestones on the way to becoming a digital manufacturing enterprise. The iBase-t Digital Manufacturing Suite helps complex discrete manufacturers accelerate their journey toward digital maturity.  It achieves this by bringing together MES, ERP, PLM and other systems. This is a vital step in eliminating the information siloes that exist between systems that lead to manual processes, data re-entry and a host of other problems that curtail efficiency and erode profitability.

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