What does “Digital Transformation” mean in 2020?

What does “Digital Transformation” mean in 2020?

Chris Ryan specialises in digitally transforming business processes for leaders in critical asset operations and maintenance, improving safety, governance, and productivity.   


What does a “digital transformation” mean for asset-intensive industries? 

In 2016, I wrote an article titled “The Storm that is Digital Transformation”. I spoke about defining Digital Transformation in the context of critical asset owners and operators. It essentially came down to this: 

Digital = Technological and Transformation = Change; thus a Digital Transformation = Technical Change.

Three (and a bit) years later, that definition needs to be re-examined. I won’t argue that Technical Change is the cornerstone of Digital Transformation (DX), but rather that the “technical” component of a DX needs to be expanded. 


Transform Processes 

From managing a business, to managing assets, to managing people, “going digital” isn’t as simple as a blanket solution of tablets and fancy software. You need to innovate workplace processes and job functions to go alongside the new software and hardware. 

In 2016, when the “storm” was about to really hit Australia, I wrote about the importance of looking at your manual processes. It’s still important to examine where hold-ups occur and any opportunities for streamlining and automation with technology. 

However, this will not only save you time and money, but it will advance your organisation as a whole. It will enhance the skills and capabilities of your staff and remove burdens that are typically related to manual process review. 


Cultural Change Management 

Cultural change management is critical, but often overlooked. 

Technology should be implemented to enhance human interaction, not replace it.

You can augment the tacit knowledge of your staff with a technological solution. This will support their transition across to new processes and methodologies, improving employee engagement and overall financial outcomes. 

Your staff will appreciate being involved in the process and will be working towards a common goal. 



To have any significant success with projects that DX supports, your business – from the top down – needs to commit. 

To generate faster results, improve customer and staff engagements, and deliver tangible value to the board, everyone must commit to the change. 


Strategic Partnerships 

As with any change, you’ll make a few missteps However, by partnering with the right organisation, you’ll be guided through what steps to take, where and when. 

When I say partnering, I mean opening up and working with a company that has the skills, resources, and experience to understand your needs. This should include: 

  • Purpose-built solutions that deliver to your unique requirements. 
  • Strong post-go-live services that provide ongoing, intrinsic support across your company. 

This isn’t a fast and simple procurement exercise of “what meets the minimum requirements for the lowest cost”.

Would you accept a basic text editing application as meeting your complete office correspondence requirements? Of course not! You’d look at the full Office365 suite. 

What may look like a bargain upfront results in the convoluted, expensive process of constantly bending your requirements, processes, workflows, and other systems to meet their offering. This can stagnate transformation and hinder effective change management, creating more problems than it solves. 


Key Takeaways 

If you run a utility in the Power,Water or Gas environments, assess where you are currently at in your DX journey. 

  • Do you use software that is, in essence, a text editor tool for a job a full Office365 suite should be doing? 
  • Are you letting suppliers dictate your direction in asset management and field mobility? 

If so, make 2020 your year of moving ahead, or risk being left behind. 

Take your asset management models, the information fed in by the field service teams, and a unified commitment from management, to move forward. Partner with an innovator that truly understands your needs. Ensure they provide pedigree solutions that deliver and that will work with you throughout your journey, and your DX will weather any storm. 


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RedEye Apps is the first purpose-built cloud solution for managing as-built data for organisations that own and operate critical infrastructure. Together with our clients, we manage over $200 billion of the world’s assets. We’re reinventing the way people work by making the world’s as-built data more usable, valuable, and available.  

Learn more about our Digital Transformation Services or Drawing and Data Management and Workforce Mobility solutions. Want to speak with an expert? Get in touch!

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