The challenges of digital transformation in the industry

28 January 2021

In recent years, and even more intensively in recent months, digital transformation has become essential to the survival of the economy, including the industrial sector.

However, digitization is not a long quiet journey: many challenges await industrialists, both at the organizational level and in terms of business experience, and identifying these challenges will allow an easier transition to a successful digital transformation.


Culture and organizational change

The digital transformation does not only imply the purchase of software or the implementation of remote working: it also represents a profound change in the organization of a company. A long term strategy to structurally change the vision of the corporation is crucial and requires the involvement of the management that will lead to a successful digital transformation. It is essential that leadership provides the necessary impulse for digitalization, and must drive the teams, both IT and business, so that the change takes place both technologically and culturally. Multifunctional collaboration will help build a true digital culture, including technological and structural change.


Alignment of IT and business challenges

The biggest challenge facing manufacturers is the alignment of IT and purely business objectives. The industrial sector, like any economic sector, is facing the lack of interfacing between the business part and the technology part, the two being closely linked. The question is no longer whether technology is essential, but how technology enables us to go further, faster.

It is becoming imperative for CIOs to move in the same direction as all other industry executives, to align IT operations with the industry’s business challenges.


Data: the main challenge of digital transformation

Manufacturers wishing to lead their plants towards operational excellence will have to make the best decisions to reduce their operating costs and improve their margins, in order to gain a real competitive advantage.

In order to be able to make the best decisions, the quality, integrity, and completion of the data become the priority, and two challenges arise:

  • Infrastructure: the multiplication of technological innovations (Cloud, AI, IoT, Digital Twins, etc.) requires an adequate infrastructure to adopt and develop these new applications.
  • Security: the centralization of data, the basis of a successful digital transformation, requires increased vigilance in terms of data security and management.


New technologies, such as IoT, allow industrialists to supervise and monitor all the assets that compose a production site. However, not all data is always actually used, visualized, and interpreted.

The implementation of a complete and integrated database allows managers to optimally analyze all equipment-related data so that they can make the best decisions regarding the optimization of the maintenance and inspection strategies implemented at all the group’s sites.


Long-term digitalization

The implementation of a sustainable digital transformation is not a matter of a few months. Beyond the operational implementation of new tools by consultants and IT systems integrators, companies should not neglect the upstream elements required to implement a genuine digital strategy: budget in line with the project, data aggregation, and cleansing, an internal team dedicated to the project, etc.

Once the tools have been set up, manufacturers must not neglect the time it takes for end-users to appropriate these tools and the organizational disruptions they can cause.



The added value of the implementation of digital tools for the management of industrial assets is no longer to be proven:

  • A CMMS to manage field maintenance operations
  • An EAM to manage work orders and procedures related to assets
  • An APM platform to optimize the strategies in place and aim for performance and reliability

The combination of different tools leads industrial facilities towards operational excellence, through new and more innovative technologies.

The digital transformation of industries allows to fundamentally change the way of working, to combine efficiency, performance, and competitiveness.

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Sirfull is a software vendor with a strong industrial culture and French know-how, which develops solutions that enable its customers to anticipate changes in their market.

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