Digital Transformation Examples
— January 25th, 2020
Digital transformation projects are continuing apace with organizations recognizing significant benefits from a digital reboot. In sectors such as manufacturing, logistics, banking, and healthcare we're seeing shining digital transformation examples.
The rate of investment in digital transformation is poised to continue with IDC predicting it to reach$6.8 trillion by 2023. By that time it's expected that 75% of organizations will have solid digital transformation plans in place, guided at least in part by existing digital transformation success stories.
At its heart, digital transformation is about re-shaping an organization, from its interactions with customers to the day-to-day business processes it uses. But it's more than just implementing new technologies, although technology does play a critical role. It's about re-imagining how you do business and introducing a digital-first approach throughout your organization. While it's not revolutionary in itself, businesses have been transforming themselves for years, this idea of a digital reboot when applied to the very roots of an organization can demonstrate incredible benefits.
The Changing Role of Internal Communications in Corporate Communications
Digital transformation success stories by sector
Digital transformation examples in manufacturing
When we look at sectors that have successfully adopted digital transformation one of the more prominent is manufacturing. It is arguably one of the pioneers of digital transformation, in an industry that has undergone dramatic changes over the past decades. This latest iteration of the manufacturing sector is dubbed Industry 4.0 and heralds the use of technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI), robots and automation, and Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality together with deeper use of data to gain actionable insights and predictive analysis.
Augmented Reality speeds up training times
BAE Systems, one of Europe's largest defense contractors, implemented Augmented Reality glasses from Microsoft (HoloLens) as it sought to reduce the time it took them to train line workers to assemble a complex product consistently. Armed with a 3D virtual reality of the product, real-time instructions, and drag-and-drop functionality, workers were able to quickly learn how to put components together. The result was a reduction in assembly time of up to 50% and training time by 40%.
Robots drive efficiencies at Whirlpool
Home appliance manufacturing giant Whirlpool has deployed a team of robots to transport dryer doors from pre-assembly to the assembly line. In Whirlpool's factories, a dryer leaves the assembly line every 15 seconds; the introduction of robots has allowed the manufacturer to maintain that speed consistently while ensuring safety standards. In addition, by removing the need for human staff to transport the doors Whirlpool has been able to re-deploy these staff into higher-value areas. Whirlpool has seen a return on its investment within two years.
Successful digital transformation case studies in logistics
Enhancing safety and reducing fuel costs with AGVs
US trucking firm Wilson Logistics has equipped its truck fleet with autopilot technology which essentially transforms its trucks into Autonomous Guided Vehicles (AGVS). While a human driver is present in the cab they can effectively switch to autopilot during certain parts of the journey. In addition, the company is also trialing so-called tethering or an Automated Relay Convoy where two trucks are digitally tethered, with the front truck in effect driving the second.
This tethering ensures a consistent distance between both trucks and maintains a safe speed. For Wilson Logistics, implementing AGVs has led to a decrease of 8% in its annual fuel costs and has enhanced safety across its fleet.
Aside from this real-world example, there aresignificant opportunities for the logistics sector in adopting digital transformation. Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions such as demand forecasting, have the potential to deliver almost-real-time data exchange, allowing organizations to anticipate customer needs and personalize their buying experience.
Likewise, AI can have a large impact on route optimization where it can analyze delivery routes and make informed, real-time decisions on the quickest and most efficient route, thus reducing fuel consumption and road emissions. The Internet of Things (IoT) is also poised to turn warehouses into smart warehouses where managers can track goods, right down to item level, which in turn can enhance inventory management and order fulfillment. Through technology and data, and the smart combination of both, the supply chain is ripe for a complete overhaul.
Digital transformation examples in banking
In the banking sector, it's less about implementing new technologies but rather about transforming the digital experience for its customers. Today's consumer is used to the seamless and user-friendly digital experience of Google, Amazon, and Apple. They wantthat enhanced experience from their bank. And while the majority of banks have made it possible for customers to perform banking tasks via digital channels such as online or via a mobile app, the more digitally savvy banks are driving customer engagement by allowing them to apply for a loan or mortgage completely through digital channels.
Traditionally a bank's interaction with its customers has been what marketing teams call a pull approach, where customers only interact with the bank when they need to. As more banks embrace digital transformation this approach is being turned on its head and banks are now using the opportunity to implement a push approach where they send customers tailored insights, typically via digital or mobile channels, based on their spending behavior, alert them to discounts or offers at nearby retailers, or let them know about unusual behavior on their accounts.
For the banking sector digital transformation is about digitizing existing services to produce a more holistically digital experience for the customer. In the short-term at least, this is where the sector will see the most success.
Successful digital transformation case studies in healthcare
We've all read the headlines whererobots have performed increasingly complex surgeries at hospitals around the world. While this is high profile, bells, and whistles side of digital transformation in the health sector, there is a much deeper, all-encompassing digital change happening. This change is essentially about applying digital to every layer of the healthcare system, creating a more efficient, safer, and responsive sector.
According to aMcKinsey report, many healthcare tasks have already been digitized or automated. But the report shows that there is vast potential in this area: preventing up to 95 percent of adverse drug events and reducing the number of duplicated diagnostic tests and reducing costs by up to 11 percent.
The report went on to highlight the role that governments around the world are playing in the digital transformation of the healthcare sector. In Australia, the National Digital Health Strategy set up the My Health Record as an opt-out medical record for all Australians. In the UK the NHS has been revitalized with the development of NHS Digital and NHSX which supports and transforms NHS and social care, while in Denmark the government has launched an app-based platform known as the World-Class Digital Service (WCDS), which is used to access all publicly held data on Danish citizens.
For digital healthcare, true success is coming from being digital right to the core. This is leading to a more open and transparent system, where health records are digitized and travel with a patient throughout the healthcare system. We will look into digital transformation in the healthcare sector in more detail in a future blog post.
The Changing Role of Internal Communications in Corporate Communications
Digital transformation poised to make a dramatic impact
It's clear that digital transformation is happening across most business sectors. In fact, it would be difficult to find a sector that hasn’t been touched in some way by digital technology. And while some sectors have embraced it and understand the certainty of its progression, others have been slower to evolve. Recent global events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic will no doubt have accelerated thinking in these sectors and we are likely to see a huge upswing in successful digital transformation case studies in the coming years.