Digital Transformation, or Die

In today's fast-paced and competitive business environment, digital transformation is more than a trend—it's a survival strategy for industrial companies aiming to thrive in an increasingly competitive world. Digital innovation is no longer something you focus on if you have extra cycles and resources. It’s no longer just a way to break into a new market. 

It’s innovate, or die. Faster to market, or die. More efficient, or die. Digital transformation, or die. 

Understanding industrial digital transformation

Why reinvent the wheel, when an industry giant says it best? According to IBM, “digital transformation is a strategic initiative that incorporates digital technology across all areas of an organization. It evaluates and modernizes an organization’s processes, products, operations, and technology stack to enable continual, rapid, customer-driven innovation.”

Breaking it down into types 

Wow. Digital transformation seems like it could be pretty broad. Why yes. Here are some of the ways organizations bring it to life. 

Process Transformation

Redefine workflows and operational procedures to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and optimize resource utilization, which streamlines industrial operations and fosters continuous improvement in digital transformation initiatives.

Product and Service Transformation

Leverage digital technologies to innovate and enhance offerings, from product design and development to service delivery and customer support, thereby driving competitiveness, market differentiation, and revenue growth in digital transformation endeavors.

Growth Opportunity Exploration

Identify and capitalize on emerging markets, customer segments, and business opportunities through digital innovation, market analysis, and strategic partnerships, thus expanding market reach, diversifying revenue streams, and driving sustainable growth in digital transformation strategies.

Here’s why our clients have turned to digital transformation.

Behind every push towards digital transformation is a need to improve business value. Organizations rarely come together and say, “You know what we could use some more of? Digital transformation!” No. Instead, business leaders realize a need to achieve one or more of these objectives: 

  • To be able to discover innovation in the value chain

  • The need for a faster time to market

  • The higher accuracy of digital workflows

  • Address the issues of an aging workforce and the great digital divide

For one company that delivers services to industrial sites, keeping tabs on expensive hand tools became a big deal when losing them meant losing millions yearly. Their need to rapidly deliver fast and accurate specialized services to their clients while keeping track of their expensive tooling drove their digital transformation. They turned to the digital toolboxes of IoT sensors, mobile apps, and machine learning for visual recognition and tying it all into their ERP and EAM systems.

We worked with another company that needed to track drilling operations in real time across the globe. They were dealing with high volumes of data from hundreds of rigs across the world. They had to figure out an innovative way to handle all that data in real time and compare it with decades worth of historical records. Providing value to their clients meant finding digital innovative ways to process and analyze this data. Again, innovation through digital transformation enabled them to achieve that for their clients.

So, what’s driving the successful adoption of digital transformation?

Leadership and Organizational Culture: It takes a special person to be a digital leader. Leaders fostering an innovation-friendly culture enable their teams to discover innovation throughout the value chain. By encouraging cross-functional collaboration and experimentation, they create quicker, more efficient decision-making processes and optimized digital workflows, essential for rapid market response.

Strategic Alignment and Execution: You have to align digital strategies with business goals to ensure seamless innovation integration and speed up deployment, refine workflows, and reduce resource wastage.

Talent and Capabilities: Effective digital transformation requires balancing the enthusiasm and digital fluency of the younger workforce with the experience and operational knowledge of older employees. This can enhance the development of digital workflows that are not only innovative but also grounded in practical, real-world challenges.

Customer-Centric Approaches: The need to focus on customer needs naturally steers organizations towards digital transformation.  Digital tools that improve customer interaction, such as personalized marketing and mobile solutions, can also accelerate speed to market by quickly adapting to changing consumer preferences​

Agile Practices and Continuous Learning: Embracing agile methodologies and continuous learning accelerates product development and enhances workflow accuracy, enabling faster, more effective updates and implementations.

Ecosystem and Partnership Development: Establishing partnerships expands technology access and capability, accelerating innovation and digital transformation by leveraging external expertise and technology to improve workflows and reduce market entry times.

What are some of the tools in the digital transformation toolbox?  

Innovation without cutting-edge technology is like trying to cut a piece of meat using a dull knife. It would eventually work, but it can take a while and it would require more effort. The success of digital transformation relies on a combination of advanced technologies, strategic implementation, and the alignment of people and processes. Here are some typical technologies you’ll find in a successful digital transformation toolbox.

Industrial IoT (IIoT). The network of interconnected devices that collect and exchange data, enables real-time monitoring and control of physical processes, assets, and environments, thus enhancing operational efficiency and enabling predictive maintenance, among other operations solutions.

Artificial Intelligence. Enables systems to learn from data, recognize patterns, makes predictions, and make decisions autonomously, thereby optimizing processes, improving decision-making, and unlocking insights. 

Industrial Automation. The use of technology to perform tasks with minimal human intervention, streamlining workflows, reducing errors, and enhancing productivity across various processes in digital transformation initiatives.

Data Analytics and Big Data. The analysis of large volumes of structured and unstructured data to uncover patterns, trends, and insights that drive informed decision-making and strategic planning in digital transformation projects, thus enabling organizations to extract value and drive innovation from their data assets.

Put it all together, and what do you get? The ability to leverage these technologies in synergy to optimize operations, drive innovation, and unlock new levels of efficiency across industrial processes.


Industrial digital transformation is not just a technological shift; it's a fundamental reimagining of how industrial companies operate and compete in the digital age. By embracing digital transformation, organizations can unlock new opportunities, drive innovation, and position themselves for long-term success in an increasingly digital world. Or, they can die. Which is very dramatic, but a reality many of us are facing in this tough, competitive and AI-driven world.

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