Five Steps to Preparing for Digital Transformation: Terri Hiskey, vice president, global product marketing for manufacturing, Epicor Software.

Author:Hiskey, Terri
Position:DATABASE AND NETWORK INTELLIGENCE: OPINION
 
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UK manufacturing is experiencing its fastest rate of growth since early 2008[1], resulting in a rise in output and a certain degree of excitement among economists and manufacturers. Yet, UK businesses could still be seen as a long way from competing with the world's production powerhouses, such as China.

One of the secrets to long-term success and reaching full production capacity can be found in incorporating innovative technology into production methods. Recent findings from the MIT Centre for Business show that companies which have embraced digital transformation are 26 percent more profitable than their average industry competitors and enjoy a 12 percent higher market valuation.

However, digital transformation can be an incredibly complex process. With that in mind, here are five key steps companies need to take to prepare for a successful digital transformation journey.

  1. Align your business transformation strategy to your business goals

    A massive 96 percent of companies see digital transformation as important or critical to their development. However, to avoid investing in new technology for the sake of it, or because you feel you should, it is essential that businesses identify where technology change is needed most.

    Start by assessing your overall business goals and ask what objectives your business wants to achieve in the short, medium, and long-term. Then ask what technology will help achieve those goals. For example, it might be that your primary focus is to expand into new markets quickly, in which case it might be sensible to hold off on that Al investment you've been planning, and instead make sure you have a solid cloud infrastructure that can support your mission-critical processes from multiple locations.

  2. Invest in the right technologies

    Digital transformation means different things to different businesses and certainly, heavy spending alone is not going to guarantee success. The Aberdeen Group has identified three digitalisation technologies that have the potential to impact operations-the Internet of Things (IoT) because of its ability to provide operational intelligence, the cloud for its scalability, and big data analytics, which can transform data into predictive and actionable insights. But there's no one size fits all. According to our research, 19 percent of manufacturers are planning to invest in inventory management, 18 percent cloud, big data and customer relationship management, and 17 percent are planning a...

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