According to Gartner, digitization is a process of digital enablement that changes analog methods into digital form. Digitization in the context of workshops and the field refers to automating non-value-added tasks. These tasks include printing documentation, handwritten notes and updates, walking back and forth between asset and a kiosk, keyboard data entry, manual job assignments, requesting, waiting for parts, etc. Enterprises may use digitization to simplify workflows, reduce paper-based procedures, and improve control, communication, and security, all while transforming their businesses. Digitization often involves using mobile apps to digitize all aspects of the operations, including inspections, inventory, maintenance, construction, capital projects, facilities, and infrastructure.
Digitization is a key driver of business value and outcomes and is the most significant trend of this decade and beyond, further accelerated by the pandemic. The global spending on digitization is projected to reach $1.8 trillion in 2022 and $2.8 trillion in 2025.
But first: Why Digitize Now?
The answers fall into 4 buckets:
- >Make it easy on your workforce – Labor Shortage: Digitization addresses the skilled labor shortage problem by maximizing the efficiency of the available workforce. Automating mundane tasks that do not add value to the process, the business and the customer is a necessity.
- >The Dollars make sense – Return on Investment (ROI): There is tangible ROI from digitization. Digitization improves efficiency, provides ready analytics that help with decision-making, and reduces overheads.The numbers make sense here – even a nominal 5% efficiency gain for a 10 man crew can result in as much as a $33,000 annual gain.This is a conservative estimate – Connixt customers have documented >over 20% efficiency gains.
- Automate low-value add, high impact tasks – Compliance and Safety: With ever-changing regulations and mandatory reporting requirements, businesses do not want manual processes with paperwork stored in multiple desks and folders. Digitization with products like Connixt iMarq helps automate much of the tracking, auditing and reporting. Connixt customers today are able to draw up audit packages easily based on any set of factors such as asset number and location – the system works for them and not the other way round.
- Get more from your CMMS / EAM systems – Enrich Data: Digitization uses mobile technology to enrich captured data. Mobile apps go far beyond merely “do things on the tablet / phone whatever you used to do on a laptop or a kiosk”. Mobile devices enable features like bar codes, text-to-speech, photos, and video calling to enrich data captured, which can be used for enhanced reporting, analytics and decision making. If a picture is worth a thousand words, mobile apps generate capture data worth millions.
So, what makes digitization difficult and what can make it easy?
The three factors discussed here have been a constant in the business process vs IT landscape for years now. But there are ready-made fixes to these challenges from cloud-mobile technology such as Connixt iMarq:
- >My Backend System is Old, Inflexible, Expensive to upgrade, migrate etc.:Integrating legacy systems with modern and mobile solutions is a huge challenge for digitization. Organizations often hesitate to digitize because they feel they might have to replace their entire legacy system, which is both a time-consuming and expensive process.
Connixt iMarq’s DNA is different – it bolts-on with a degree of flexibility afforded by its Open Enterprise Architecture. It offers a degree of flexibility in digitizing processes without the need for transformational changes in your legacy systems. And changes are easily made on iMarq – and don’t necessarily have to reflect on your back-end system since iMarq stores the information and can add a reference to it in your system. Best of all, your back-end legacy systems remain the single source of truth – your investment of time, effort and money over the years is protected and extended.
- My Crew Can’t Handle Technology: This is one of the most common concerns we hear from businesses – that their employees cannot handle digitization and the related change management.
This thinking needs to change and is not grounded in today’s reality – your employees are digital by default – mobile devices and apps are a part of their everyday life. Our cloud/mobile apps are much like all the apps your employees use today. And the Connixt implementation process involves your employees from Day One; their input is key to success and are thus a part of the digitization program from the very early stages.
- My Processes Change (Always!): Businesses respond to internal and external challenges by constantly modifying or completely changing their processes. Yet, back-end systems are not as responsive resulting in a degree of reluctance to add technology that may further complicate change management.
Again, technologies such as Connixt iMarq are inherently flexible – far more so than the back-end systems. They are much easier to modify – often within minutes and inhouse – and require no back-end system modifications (see #1 in this section above).
If you are looking to digitize your processes and system flexibly, reach out to us for a demonstration today!