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Digital transformation in 5 steps – Emerson


For digital transformation to happen, users can follow five steps. According to Emerson representatives, implementing those five strategies can help companies in the energy sector transition from a pre-digital stage to operational and management autonomy.

Steps to a digital transformation

At the “Emerson Exchange Virtual Series” event, Emerson’s director, Shirley Marquardt-Tynan, and the Professional Services Director at Emerson Plantweb Software & Services, Dennis Belanger, presented their perspectives regarding what can be done to transition digitally on an organizational level.

In that sense, the directors explained the five steps that, in their experience, allow their customers to achieve a digital transformation.

Those steps are the following: 1. identify operational performance levels and gaps, 2. architect the vision, 3. develop a roadmap, 4. pilot and deploy, and 5. relook into the transformation.

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Once a user identifies the gaps, the next step consists of gathering all the business parts to build a joint vision about getting digitally.

Later, and once built the roadmap, the next step would be to deploy the technological solutions and monitor the results.

In the panelists’ words, the follow-up of those steps can generate a considerable change, from the Flintstones to the Jetsons, through a technological transformation.

The six stages of transforming digitally

At Emerson, the company has developed a digital plant maturity model for plants. That model has six levels to measure how digitalized a company is. Those stages are the following: pre-digital plant, digital silos, connected plant, predictive plant, adaptive plant, and an autonomous plant.

A pre-digital plant is paper-based and reactive digitally speaking; according to the participants, this stage still has many rudimentary activities in terms of information management.

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Regarding a digital-silos, panelists said a plant in such a stage still has islands of automation; in that way, some technology is deployed, but it still has inconsistencies.

On the other hand, a connected plant already has a very well-established vertical integration. Predictive and adaptive plants can detect problems and apply intelligence within the operations. And finally, an autonomous plant can run itself entirely digital.

COVID-19 and digital transformations

Shirley noted that given the current conjuncture due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the digital transformation took a considerable accelerated pace.

Scenarios that seemed impossible sixty years ago (like those presented in the Jetsons cartoon: home-office schemes and voice activation software) have increasingly become part of the new normality.

Regarding the resulting challenges from the pandemic, Shirley added that in the beginning, several of their clients didn’t know where to begin to transform themselves technologically.

Considering that industry people were debating over the necessity of automation only a year ago, uncertainty wasn’t surprising, she added.

However, the director highlighted that several of their clients have learned to transition digitally. If they follow the recommended steps, they would probably achieve reliable and sustainable digital systems in the long-run.

According to Emerson’s data, approximately 50% of its clients has already set digital transformation as a goal within their Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s).

Finally, the director added that their clients could keep moving into a digital future through data analysis, edge computing, virtual and augmented reality, and mobility solutions.

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