Most consumer transactions are now digital-first — digital news subscriptions have surpassed print newspapers, self-checkout has taken over grocery stores, Amazon provides real-time status updates, and our phones can do everything from order dinner to create professional-looking videos. But this digital-first mindset is not always present in the enterprise. Instead, too many organizations continue to rely on outdated paper-based processes — creating a gap where workplace technology is a decade or two behind consumer technology.


The promise of organizational-wide digital transformation was intended to modernize companies and bridge the gap between consumer and corporate technology. But for many companies, especially those in asset-intensive industries, those transformations were slow to take hold or have stalled. Research across industries found that 70% of digital transformation efforts have not reached their goals.


Instead of debating how to go from zero to 100 with innovation, leaders need to be creative in selecting and rolling out technology that is user-friendly and fast to deploy. This provides quick wins for management and eases the workforce into a new era of technology and processes.


But the question of how or when to move to fully digital processes is an outdated question. Today, leaders need to ask themselves, "How quickly can we adopt digital processes?" Customers and a new generation of employees expect digital-first experiences that mirror their personal lives. Adapting is the only way forward for companies to remain competitive and attract and retain skilled workers.


Benefits of Digital Transformation in Industrial and Plant Maintenance


Modernizing manual processes, including paper-based work orders checklists, and inspection notes, as well as spreadsheet-based planning and scheduling, brings a wide range of benefits to your business and your customers. Organizations in asset-based industries who are further along in their transformation journey are able to:


  • Increase wrench time: Providing field technicians and maintenance staff with mobile apps automates manual processes. This reduces the time and effort required to complete tasks. Instant access to the right information at the right time improves the accuracy of each job. Organizations that have mobilized their workforce are able to increase wrench time and reduce costs.
  • Improve customer experience: Faster and more accurate resolutions improve customer experiences by reducing equipment downtime. In addition, digital tools enable organizations to move towards proactive or predictive maintenance for optimized performance.
  • Enable data-driven decision-making: Going digital in industrial maintenance helps managers, workers, and leadership make better business decisions. That's due to factors such as real-time data updates in SAP combined with a deeper understanding of everything from machine performance to workforce availability. Information, whether words or pictures, is captured in real-time leading to data accuracy. Instead of guesswork, everyone throughout the organization can make data-driven decisions leading to better business outcomes at a lower cost.
  • Facilitate innovation: The right tools create opportunities for innovation by enabling organizations to experiment with new technologies, maintenance procedures, or even enterprise-wide business models. This can help organizations stay ahead of the competition and create new revenue streams.
  • Future-proof the business: post-pandemic, business is changing rapidly, and customer demands have shifted. Leaning into digital processes can future proof the business by ensuring that any organization has the tools necessary to adapt to evolving customer needs and market conditions. By leveraging technology, organizations can become more agile and responsive to change — and stay ahead of the competition.



4 Barriers to Digital Transformations in the Enterprise

While the benefits of a digital transformation are well documented, adoption at many organizations has stalled. Here's why.


Workforce Resistance

One of the most significant barriers to digital transformation is resistance to change. Many employees, especially more tenured members of the workforce, may be resistant to new technologies or processes. This slows down the implementation of digital transformation initiatives and make it difficult to achieve the desired outcomes.


Tip to ease frontline resistance: Foster a change in workplace culture. Leaders should communicate the need for change and engage employees in the process. This can help to reduce resistance and build buy-in from employees. Leaders should also ensure that employees have the necessary training and support to adopt new technologies and processes effectively.


Legacy Technology

Legacy systems can be a significant barrier to digital transformation. Many businesses have invested heavily in technology systems over the years and replacing them can be costly and time-consuming. Integrating new technologies with existing systems and processes can also be challenging, leading to data silos that prevent organizations from realizing the full benefits of digital transformation.


Tip to address legacy IT: Invest in new technologies that align with business goals and easily integrate with legacy systems. Organizations should also take a phased approach to implementation, starting with smaller initiatives that can deliver quick wins and gradually scaling up.


Workforce Skills Gap

A lack of digital skills among your existing workforce is a common barrier to success. Organizations need employees in every department to be more comfortable with the tools and technology to transform an organization from analog to digital. As longer-tenured professionals retire and the digital-first generation begins their career journey, it's common to have a workforce with a wide range of skill sets — some much more tech fluent than others.


Tip to mitigate a skills gap: Organizations need to invest in training and development programs to upskill employees. And these development programs should be long-term instead of a one-time overview during the deployment phase.


Lack of Leadership Buy-In

Without a clear vision and strong executive support for transformation projects, organizations struggle to prioritize initiatives and make decisions that align with overall goals and objectives. The C-suite is essential to ensure budget allocation andto help create a company culture that embraces transformation projects.


Tip to secure buy-in: Transformation buy-in needs to start from the top. If departments are struggling to secure C-suite buy-in, consider a proposal that demonstrates how your specific project ties into larger business objectives such as customer experience goals, cost reduction, or workforce upskilling goals.


Next Steps to Overcome Digital Transformation Barriers

Digital transformation is about more than technology, people are the most important factor in determining whether your project succeeds or fails. For asset-intensive industries, that includes everyone from executives to those in the field, including technicians, operations managers, planners, production managers, and more.


Learn how Sigga can help your maintenance organization overcome barriers to digital success.

Download the Ebook, Effective Change Management Strategies for EAM Digital Transformation.