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  • By Annie Heaney
  • In Blog
  • Posted 09/06/2021

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Following on from our previous blog, Planning Your Digital Roadmap, that focused on the role of process and organisational change within digital transformation planning, we now turn our focus to the technology and data aspect of digital transformation. How do you ensure that the ideas you have will succeed and affect the changes you want to see?

Utilising technologies such as predictive simulation can assist planning, or even validate decisions, ahead of time, capturing unforeseen outcomes as a result of many variables coming together.

Technology

New technology, like software, machines or other tools for automation, can contribute to benefits like increased productivity or reduced labor costs. But they can often come with less obvious, or hidden, costs. For example, a new piece of machinery may increase production, but if you haven’t adequately planned for associated training or maintenance you can be left with an expensive piece of equipment that doesn’t deliver the intended value in the required timeframe. It’s key to understand how new technology affects your end-to-end processes so that you do not fix one problem, only to create another unintended challenge in another place in your process.

At Ford, they utilised a predictive simulation model of their manufacturing facility to inform decisions relating to technology upgrades within the plant. That ensured they were able to identify change areas that had maximum impact and could also explore the overall impact of the changes before committing to any expenditure.

Data

Data is essential for decision making. Without data, decisions are based on guesswork and gut feeling. This can lead to decisions that may detract from the business goals and hinder progress, development and innovation.

The key questions, though, are what data is required and why? Data is often abundant, but without a clear understanding of the business problem and scope, you can find yourself overwhelmed with lots of information but little understanding and insight into how to best solve your challenges.

It is all about having the right data for the question you are trying to answer. It is also important to establish the level of data required as trying to incorporate too much into any model or spreadsheet can create additional workload to process and interpret without gaining any additional insight. When collating data, ask yourself, how does this relate to the questions I am trying to answer? If it changed, does it have an impact?

Many businesses will have a long-term goal or objective that they wish to achieve. Although it is a business wide goal, the paths to achieving it will be different across different departments. By breaking down the overriding objective into smaller, localised goals, it allows a greater probability of success.

Tools such as predictive digital twins are invaluable assets when it comes to testing scenarios to gain insight into business questions. They allow a high level of complex variability and flexibility to be incorporated in calculations which cannot be easily analysed in more static tools such as spreadsheets. Find out how you can use predictive simulation to plan your digital roadmap by watching our recent webinar 'Strategically Planning For The Future: Developing Resilient, Agile Processes Using Predictive Digital Twins' or by contacting us here.


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