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Three ways to make digital transformation sustainable

The Internet of Things (IoT) makes digital transformation challenging, but companies that are transparent about their actions and focus on company wins from a policy and culture standpoint will be able to weather any potential hardships.

Nicole Dyess, Motors@Work
09/13/2018
Three ways to make digital transformation sustainable

Nicole Dyess is the director of client solutions at Motors@Work. Courtesy: Motors@WorkMost people and companies know plenty already about the Internet of Things (IoT): what it is, where to start, how to build it, how to procure it, and how to secure it. You're ready to roll, but first want to make sure your IoT investment is sustainable. With a platform like IoT, don't expect a one-and-done project to remain sustainable. As new technologies and service models emerge, companies will need to adapt to an increasingly interconnected and digital world. In other words, creating a sustainable digital transformation in a changing IoT world will require companies to utilize three management skills:

1. Communication and transparency is key

Communicating at every stage isn't just about transparency in the process and inviting input, it's about reinforcing how this IoT project supports your organization's mission and vision and identifying how this fits into the overall digital transformation. Communication is also key to managing stakeholders' expectations such as what's included in this step part of the overall plan and when the feature they've been waiting to get their hands on will be rolled out.

2. Celebrate wins early and often

Companies should announce events when they occur even if they seem minor. For example, when the first month's worth of results are gathered from the new condition monitoring software, companies should highlight key performance indicators (KPIs) such as the number of alerts generated—or failure modes corrected—through early intervention. Quantify and publicize operational savings from increasing the availability and efficiency of the assets and making smarter asset management decisions.

Celebrating wins during and after a project generates a positive narrative, which helps create momentum for future project phases. This is very important for large, complex, multi-phase, and possibly multi-year IoT deployments. Whether it's called positive momentum, goodwill, or a proven track record, celebrating wins early and often throughout a project keeps stakeholders excited, attracts support from throughout the organization, and, most importantly, helps you obtain and retain project resources.

3. Reinforce changes

While it's tempting to hang up your laurels after one IoT project and monitor progress, organizational psychology tells us that it's easier to habituate change and make a team accustomed to making continual improvements and adjustments. Continuously implementing successive steps in your digital transformation plan creates a change-ready organizational culture. The need for continual change is particularly acute where the landscape keeps changing, as it does with IoT. Those who fail to stay with the IoT's evolution will fall behind.

Nicole Dyess is the director of client solutions at Motors@Work, a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media, cvavra(at)cfemedia.com.

KEYWORDS: Digital transformation, Internet of Things

Communication and transparency for an Internet of Things (IoT) project is vital to success.

Celebrating achievements, even if they aren't major milestones, keeps stakeholders and workers motivated and excited.

Companies should keep reinforcing changes and keep the team accustomed to making improvements.

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What else is crucial to ensuring success on a digital transformation project?

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