Earning Stakeholder Buy-In for Industrial Digital Transformations

Blog / Earning Stakeholder Buy-In for Industrial Digital Transformations

The good fight is an uphill battle.

The energy industry is critical to our current way of life, and will continue to be for a long while. However, as energy prices soar amid production disruptions and the ongoing war in Europe, producers are more incentivized than ever to find additional efficiencies to help lower costs and increase competitiveness.

Unfortunately, one of the best ways of doing exactly that—undergoing a digital transformation—often encounters stiff resistance from the energy sector. Whether that’s a result of horror stories of past failures, an inability to realize promised benefits, or the simple fact that it’s just hard for producers in this sector to pivot quickly into new processes (or a combination of all three), the fact remains that industrial companies are generally among the least mature when it comes to digital technology according to this report from Deloitte, and O&G in specific placed dead last on the prestigious research company’s list. Not a good look for the sector.

And yet, the same research conclusively shows (along with much other research) industrial businesses that are digitally mature enjoy substantial benefits including:

  • a better ROI, particularly on subsequent digital transformations to further digitalize processes,
  • more comprehensive transformation project to find even more efficiency, and
  • enhanced agility and capacity to respond to changing conditions.

So, how can CTOs earn stakeholder buy-in? There’re a few different ways.

In-House Expertise

First, your best chance of harnessing digital’s full potential is to make sure you have the skills to do so. Remember, human beings are generally creatures of habit, so jumping into a digital transformation when your work force is still using analog processes is sure to lead to frustrated employees, lengthy and costly delays, and ultimately a failed transformation. That means helping your work force develop the required skillsets with training prior to and during the implementation process. If you can get the majority of your workforce comfortable with digital tools, it will go a long way to getting your corporate culture as a whole to embrace new ways of doing things.

Find the Right IT Partner

Look, you might have your own internal IT person, maybe even a team, and that’s good; having access to at least some technical expertise on a whim is a proven asset for most industrial businesses. Unfortunately, an IT guy that knows how your current processes work is not the same as an IT team that understands what Industry 4.0 is capable of and has experience implementing transformations for businesses. Trust is absolutely essential in every business agreement, but it’s particularly important here. Executives and decision makers are going to need assurances the IT experts you partner with have the skills and experience to execute the project properly and avoid the expensive and costly problems of other companies’ digital transformation disasters.

Reiterate and Reinforce Real Benefits

Let’s be clear about one thing; while tales of transformations gone wrong, particularly in the industrial sector, are based at least in part in reality, the truth is that the vast majority of them are executed cleanly and without disruption. However, combatting preconceptions built on a few stories of oversold and underdelivered projects isn’t easy. That’s why it’s important to stay focused on realistic deliverables, realistic timelines, and most importantly, realistic benefits.

For example, yes, it’s true that you can on office expenses and material costs by cutting hardcopy printouts out of your workflows, but honestly those savings are negligible. The real value lies in the real benefits that can be realized, including:

  • fully-digitalized workflows
  • enhanced data transparency
  • a single database serving as a single source of truth
  • better collaboration between coworkers
  • improved quality and automated checks

So rather than trying to sell leadership on a transformation by focusing on every nickel and dime that can be saved, be realistic and honest about the benefits. They are plentiful and valuable, but oftentimes they’re not what first comes to mind. Saving a few cents here and there by moving past paper isn’t nearly as valuable as, for example, the improved decision making enabled by access to transparent and authoritative real-time data.

As Deloitte so eloquently put it when they titled their aforementioned research, standing still when it comes to digital isn’t an option for industrial players anymore. We prefer to avoid the alarmist suggestion that digital transformations have become an issue of survival as opposed to efficiency as some may suggest, but even if you’re competitors aren’t yet outperforming you by taking a proactive approach to change, they will soon. That means, as scary and problematic as it may sound, it’s important (and quickly becoming more urgent) to get a start on your own industrial digital transformation sooner than later.

If you’re looking for a team of IT experts experienced in digital transformation, we’d be happy to demonstrate our extensive experience and explain the process in a simple and straightforward way to ease, and even hook you up with some sweet training. Contact one of our experts today.



The TRINUS team.

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