New study shows enterprise mobility is an essential step to harness the disruptive technologies in business.
Business conditions are changing rapidly thanks to digital transformation, which is defined in this MIT Sloan Management Review article, “The Nine Elements of Digital Transformation,” as the use of technology to radically change the performance or reach of enterprises.
Mega trend is unstoppable
Consumer businesses like Uber and Lyft come to mind, as they harness mobile technologies to manage virtual workforces and service offerings that disrupt traditional taxi companies. Industrial organizations may sensor their production equipment and automate machines or entire work cells—or reduce downtime by adopting condition-based maintenance. And indeed, this industrial internet of things (IIoT) is about to reach new heights as sensor prices have dropped, connectivity has increased and tools like the IFS IoT Business Connector streamline the operationalization of IoT data.
Are industrial companies ready?
According to a new IFS study of 200 industrial executives, however, mobility represents just as large of an opportunity for industrial organizations as it does for Uber. The Enterprise software mobility and digital transformation study suggests that in companies where employees access enterprise systems like enterprise resource planning (ERP), enterprise asset management (EAM) or field service management (FSM) from mobile devices, that they were more prepared for digital transformation than others. Respondents who said their enterprise software prepared them well for digital transformation were more than twice as likely to access their software from a mobile device than those who said their software did a poor job of preparing them for digital transformation. There is a relationship between enterprise mobility and readiness for digital transformation.
Moreover, for almost 70 percent of respondents, increasing mobile access to enterprise software may be an immediate digital transformation opportunity. Only 31 percent of respondents said they access enterprise software from a mobile device.
Why mobility matters
The transformative potential of enterprise mobility for industrial companies is real. Mobile access to software including ERP, EAM and FSM can:
- Enable accurate and real-time collection of enterprise information for more efficient operation and executive decision support
- Improve the customer experience in field service environments
- Increases the productive time of technical staff by allowing them to interact with systems like EAM or computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) while in the field or at the machine on the plant floor
- Enable workers and enterprise systems to harness advanced features of mobile devices including geolocation and cameras
- Improve the amount and quality of information available to those servicing assets or customers, allowing for more efficient service, more first-time-fixes in field service environments, more reliable troubleshooting and less downtime in a plant environment
- Induce users to engage with software systems more frequently, increasing the return on investment for enterprise software
This last benefit, increased engagement with enterprise systems, may be the most significant transformative element of enterprise mobility, according to Rick Veague, IFS’s Chief Technical Officer in North America.
“Mobile is the most obvious manifestation of digital transformation,” Veague said. “But when people use enterprise software from a mobile device, it indicates that the system is the lifeblood of the business. Your employees can connect into those core processes and participate even if they are not sitting at their desk. If you cannot do this, you will struggle with anything in digital transformation.”
The authors of that MIT Sloan Management Review article site their own study of 157 executives at 50 companies, too. They wound up identifying nine elements of digital transformation. Several of them, including worker enablement and process digitization, seem to suggest that other knowledgeable parties share Veague’s viewpoint on the importance of connected people for digital transformation.
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