The Digital Transformation of Enterprise Asset Management

Digital innovations are changing industries and dragging leaders into a whirlwind of technology. The digital economy offers endless new opportunities where every company becomes a technology enterprise, smarter assets and products can transform asset management and enable new services and business models. 

Creating a digital foundation for operational achievements, which will connect the traditional organizational silos of: 

  • Risk 
  • Purchase 
  • Operations 
  • Reliability 
  • Environment 
  • Health 
  • Safety 

This foundation must push data structures, business processes, and the consumer experience not only in all these departments but also beyond finance, the supply chain, and customer service. 

However, such benefits do not come easily or cheaply. According to the study of FinancesOnline, $ 2 trillion is the total enterprise spending on digital transformations in 2019. 

Succeeding in your digital transformation endeavors requires finding ways to overcome these limitations. Then you need to enhance the effects with tools and processes. Of course, you need to do all this economically and safely and without major interruptions to current business operations. 

The goals of the digital transformation of assets: 

  • The focus of customers is to know your customers and to offer the best information and/or to acquire the right information to serve their needs. 
  • The effective knowledge worker must be able to work with … knowledge and no further explanation is needed as to where this knowledge comes from and that it must be stored, shared, protected, and used. 
  • Operational Achievements: How else can you improve your operations and processes other than having at least the right information and data to achieve it? 

Regardless of the scope of the digital transformation project, data and digital information do play a critical role. Along with people and processes, it is more important than the technological side of things. 

Lesson 1: Refine your business strategy before investing in technology 

Leaders who aim to improve organizational efficiency with digital technologies often think of a specific solution. “Our organization needs a strategy to implement IoT sensors.” This may be the case, but the digital transformation must be guided by a broader business strategy that links the various actions you will take. 

Here is a sample framework that you can use when creating your plan: 

  1. Focus on 1-3 main areas. Examples are speed, innovation, and digitalization. 
  2. Set goals that stem from point 1 – reduce production time, increase marketing speed and improve the use of data in your product development and innovation 
  3. Determine which digital tools you will use. Digital twins can reduce time and cost along with Maintenance, Operations, and Repair (MRO), enable operations executives to analyze performance metrics, make modifications to production lines, and improve the quality of future product iterations 
  4. Describe how the sequence of steps you will take and how the individual elements of the plan will be related to each other 
  5. Keep all stakeholders informed of the activity before and during the process 

There is no single technology that provides all the desired results. The best combination of tools for an organization will vary depending on the approach and focus. 

Lesson 2: Involve company insiders in the process 

Organizations that transform their businesses often turn to external consultants who tend to apply the same solutions to different clients in the name of “best practices.” We advise you to rely on insiders – staff who have intimate knowledge of what works and what is not and is in contact with the systems and processes in their daily operations. 

Often new technologies cannot improve the productivity of the organization, not because of the main shortcomings of the technology, but because intimate internal knowledge is neglected. 

Lesson 3: Focus on the goals of digital asset transformation that you have set 

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If the goal of the digital transformation is to improve asset downtime, then any effort must be preceded by a diagnostic phase with in-depth input from maintenance, repair, and monitoring teams. 

Several interviews should be conducted with individuals or segmented groups of them, in which they ask each client to describe the strengths and weaknesses of the processes so far. 

They can also conduct focus groups, during various stakeholders to identify their needs, set their priorities, and evaluate the work of the department. 

This information should then be analyzed, and action points derived. You can divide the process into phases and make small changes to different instruments at different points in the asset management cycle. The only way to know what and where to change is by getting extensive and in-depth feedback. 

Lesson 4: Meet the fears and anxieties of employees not to be replaced 

When people perceive that digital transformation can threaten their jobs, they may consciously or unconsciously oppose change. 

“If the digital transformation then proves ineffective, management will eventually abandon their efforts and their jobs will be saved,” one might think. Leaders must acknowledge these fears and emphasize that the process of digital transformation is an opportunity for employees to improve their experience to respond to the market of the future. 

There will always be participants who are skeptical about the whole operation from the first step. In response, you can develop an inside-out process. 

Ask all participants to explore their unique contribution to organizations and then link these strengths to components of the digital transformation process for which they will take responsibility. This gives employees control over how the digital transformation will unfold and frame new technologies as a means for employees to become even better at what they are already doing great. 

Lesson 5: Introduce an internal culture for data-driven decision making, rapid prototyping, and design thinking 

The process of digital transformation is uncertain. The changes must be made temporarily and then adjusted. Decisions need to be made quickly and groups from across the organization need to be involved. As a result, traditional hierarchies can become an obstacle to success. It is best to adopt a flat organizational structure that is slightly separate from the rest of the organization. 

Lesson 6: “Assets” and activities of the inventory company 

There are probably already employees in your company who have already started gradual digital initiatives. Identify all assets that you do not manage or actively measure and describe everything, assess its compliance with the future digital strategy, and reallocate resources from uncertain projects to strategically important ones. 

Lesson 7: Create and acquire digital assets 

Many “traditional” businesses often own or can easily access valuable digital assets. Find out which ones you could build, distribute strategically with a partner, or acquire. The goal is to start moving from purely physical assets to more valuable and scalable digital assets. 

Digital transformation works for those organizations whose leaders are returning to basics 

So, what can you do with all these new opportunities? First, evaluate the impact on the business and its’ asset. Then, consider the possible outcomes. Finally, follow the lessons we outlined in this article: 

  • Lesson 1: Refine your business strategy before investing in technology. 
  • Lesson 2: Involve company insiders in the process 
  • Lesson 3: Focus on the goals of digital asset transformation that you have set 
  • Lesson 4: Meet the fears and anxieties of employees not to be replaced 
  • Lesson 5: Introduce an internal culture for data-driven decision making, rapid prototyping, and design thinking 
  • Lesson 6: “Assets” and activities of the inventory company 
  • Lesson 7: Create and acquire digital assets