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What should YOU do about Digital Transformation? Lessons from Transforma Insights' research

MAY 04, 2021 | Matt Hatton
region: ALL vertical: ALL technology: ALL

Enterprises all around the world are engaged in digital transformation programmes. The Internet of Things is used for remote monitoring or predictive maintenance. AI is applied to optimising business strategies and for many specific use cases. Manual business processes are streamlined using Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Blockchain is seen as the universal panacea for many use cases. Options for harnessing new technologies for competitive advantage are dizzying.

Transforma Insights is here to help executives puzzling over their approach to digital transformation. One of the tools at your disposal is the extensive Best Practice & Vendor Selection database which we have built over the last few years. It includes our assessment of hundreds of real-world deployments of IoT, AI, blockchain, RPA and much more.

Just a small subset of the lessons we have learnt from analysing the data is presented below:

Lesson 1: The greatest activity is in manufacturing

If your company makes physical products, you should be aware that your competition is focusing lots of effort on automation and streamlining production. Over 1/3 of all use cases that we have identified are applied in the Manufacturing sector, followed by Retail, Finance and Construction.


The top use cases within manufacturing are

  • Precision Specialist Robots (example case studies: Schubert creates a digital warehouse for on-demand packaging; Langen Group uses 3D printing to produce lightweight gripper end for robotic packaging arm)
  • Workflow optimisation (example case studies: Miele inspects household dryer motors with robots; Westheimer Brewery uses robots to move beer)
  • Repetitive Process Automation (example case studies: Grupo Antolin drives 1M screws per month for Audi door panels using robots; Panasonic uses robotic systems to quality check touchscreens for cars)
  • Assisted Decision Making (example cast studies: Land Rover BAR designs America's Cup racing hull using PLM; GE Healthcare enhancement of MRI brain scans accuracy)
  • Remote Diagnostics & Maintenance: (example case studies: Ford Dagenham Engine Plant uses drones for plant inspections; Kaeser Kompressoren compressed air as a service)

Lesson 2: Every vertical has radically different use cases

The types of digital transformation use cases being implemented depends substantially on the organisation's vertical. The chart below shows the six verticals with the most digital transformation activity, and the top ranking use cases within each. Highlighted for each are the new use cases observed within each vertical that are not seen in the list of most applied in the prior verticals. For instance, three of the top use cases in Retail & Wholesale are not seen in Manufacturing. Five of the top seven in Finance & Insurance do not feature in either of the prior two's list of top applications. The lesson is clear: every vertical is different.


Lesson 3: Most use cases have a significant impact on process efficiency (but not much else)

As part of the analysis of use cases we also look at many different technical, commercial and deployment characteristics. One such characteristic we consider is the impact of the deployment. As shown in the chart below, most of the top Digital Transformation use cases have a 'significant' or 'transformational' impact on internal process efficiency. But in terms of impact on the company's products, or the wider market, the impact is much less pronounced. Analysis released in 2020 shows that 70% of projects have a significant or transformational impact on process efficiency, compared to 30% on an organisation's products and services. Barely 10% are disruptive to the industry as a whole.


Lesson 4: There are a thousand more lessons to be learnt!

There are many many other conclusions that can be drawn from analysing these real-world deployments of AI, IoT, robotics, RPA, edge computing and more. Previous blogs (including this one) have focused on topics such as deployment time (which averages 12 months), payback time (20 months), mission criticality, complexity (functional, stakeholder and geographical), and the deployment parameters used. We have published a series of Technology Insight Reports delving into the common deployment characteristics, as well as understanding those that are specific to the technology (e.g. in AI what types of algorithms are used, or the size of training data sets).

If you want to learn more about the Best Practice & Vendor Selection Database where all of the case studies are stored, or more about what we do at Transforma Insights, please contact us.

To hear more about this topic

Check out Jim Morrish's presentation at the IoT Solutions World Congress Digital Summit, 11-12 May 2021.


Technology Adopters implementing digital transformation should join the Transforma Insights User Group

The Transforma Insights User Group is designed for executives implementing digital transformation programmes and projects within their organisation. It is a year-round, engaged and informed, subscription-based member community, connecting technology end users, navigating their digital transformation journey.

Driving business outcomes, the User Group unites professionals with common goals and responsibilities in a trusted environment, to exchange lessons in new technologies, emerging use cases and enterprise change management.

The TI User Group facilitates structured discussion and the sharing of ideas to allow members to grow their knowledge base and foster partnerships between leading technology stakeholders and enterprise adopters.

For details on membership, the year’s schedule and member benefits, click HERE.

For everyone else, there's the free 'Essential' subscription

The Essential plan gives access to our vendor and case studies database where you can explore case studies and compare recommended vendors. It also give access to a selection our Reports, tagged as 'Essential Reading'.

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