- Digital Transformation
Yes, You Can Get Beyond the Hype of Digital Transformation
Digital transformation is a catchy phrase in corporate circles these days, but it turns out to be more than just hype. Numerous enterprises, both small and large, have embarked on journeys to transform their business processes using digital tools. Many cases of transformation have had successful results, with solutions to enable problem solving and also drive efficiency and monetary gains.
The Successes of Digital Transformation
DCP Midstream, one of the largest producers of natural gas liquids and natural gas processing companies in the US, is in the midst of a 5-year plan to digitize its complex operations. DCP Midstream has invested some $20 million in people, hardware, and software to change its many processes. The results are noteworthy; the company realized a return on its investments in 2017, and it expects to achieve an incremental $20 million for 2018. DCP managers anticipate additional benefits to come from their digital efforts as they explore higher levels of predictive analytics and advanced pattern recognition.
Another enterprise taking a similar digital transformation journey is the White House Utility District (WHUD), a water and sewer service provider to more than 100,000 customers in the Robertson and Sumner counties of Tennessee. The district was losing an estimated 32% of its treated water to water main leaks, so it invested approximately $1.3 million in advanced meters in the field and a new software platform to stem the losses. The result of these efforts has been impressive, with a significant reduction in leaks and increased efficiencies valued at $1.6 million over a 3-year period. The district has also been able to avoid an expensive capital improvement project with the implementation of digital solutions.
In Oregon, Deschutes Brewery encountered issues with some new fermentation tanks it had installed, but the company’s brewers could not understand why they were seeing unwanted temperature spikes during the cooling process as they lacked visibility. The brewery installed new sensors and deployed a new software platform to figure out the problem, investing less than $50,000 overall. With more granular and timely data, the brewers discovered they could better monitor temperatures, keeping the fermentation process on track and avoiding the need to dump bad beer from the tanks. The brewery was also able to shorten its process and increase yield by 4%, which translated into production of an estimated $450,000 of more beer per year, achieving investment payoff in roughly the first 3 months.
In Australia, two other firms report similar results from investing in digital transformation tools, AGL Energy, the country’s largest producer of electricity, and mining company Aurelia Metals. These firms share one thing in common: they have deployed OSIsoft’s PI System, an enterprise grade software platform for transforming complex business processes as part of their journey. As Mike Kanellos, OSIsoft’s Internet of Things Analyst and Senior Manager of Corporate Communications, says: “What you find is that most companies do have a valuable treasure trove of data, but they are only now figuring out ways to take advantage of it. It is like oil, that is to say there’s a lot of it, it’s often in weird places, and it’s almost unusable unless you refine it.”
Beginning the Digital Transformation Journey
If your firm is considering a digital transformation journey and you want to move beyond the hype, an upcoming Navigant Research webinar could be helpful. Join us on January 15 by registering for Finding the ROI in Digital Transformation. I will be moderating the discussion along with Kanellos and panelists form Deschutes Brewery and Convergio (which helped Aurelia Metals implement its digital tools). If you do join the webinar, you will get the inside stories on what to expect during a digital transformation journey.