AVEVA unpacks the changing connected industrial landscape during X-Change 2023

5th June 2023 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Deputy Editor Online

AVEVA unpacks the changing connected industrial landscape during X-Change 2023

AVEVA digital portfolio strategy director Tim Sowell
Photo by: Creamer Media's Marleny Arnoldi

In addressing future “digital champions” at the X-Change 2023 conference on June 5, AVEVA digital portfolio strategy director Tim Sowell said industries globally are racing to break down silos in efforts to become digitally transformed.

He cited organisational divisions operating in silos as a major inhibitor to increased adaptability, innovation and problem-solving, which were increasingly prominent requirements in a changing world.  

Sowell highlighted in his keynote speech on June 5 that, as the world had experienced supply chain shocks and a rapidly changing workplace since the advent of Covid-19, the market had been forcing a step-change in ways of working.

“Traditionally, we have tried to get the most out of our plants, focusing on production efficiency, getting inventory through and going from pit to port as quick as possible; however, with global changes in supply chains and workplaces afoot, we have this tug of war happening.

“It is driving an immersive and adaptable mindset of being efficient where possible, but also being able to switch gears and take the shocks while optimising accordingly,” Sowell explained.

He added that although the products companies produced remained the same, the technology and market forces had changed, as had the way in which a more skilled workforce operated.

It has become key for workers to interact with systems in a safe and skilled manner, as well as at pace. AVEVA, as a technology consulting company, brings assets, process and people together to align them in a collaborative manner, whether they are all based in the same country or multiple countries, on-site or remotely.

Through its industrial software solutions, AVEVA is working to create connected industrial ecosystems, all in efforts to increase time, time that is often wasted owing to delays in decision-making or time wasted to intervene in the climate crisis. 

Sowell said the industry was poised to spend $2.8-trillion on digital transformation by 2025, which was double the investment made in 2020. Yet, currently, 84% of companies fail at digital transformation, with seven out of every ten organisations citing digital transformation progress having slowed or stalled in recent years.

To this end, AVEVA is diagnosing the root causes of these failures and helping organisations to become connected industrial ecosystems.

The company’s software and solutions help organisations empower workers to solve problems, protect their brand promise, quickly adapt to market conditions, maximise eco-efficiency and process innovation, as well as eliminate value leaks and accelerate transformation across sites.

Sowell noted that organisations were struggling with sharing data between systems and overall connectivity within a system, be it between processes and assets or between people. He pointed out that if all parties in a value chain were optimised in parallel, with data as the accelerator, a connected organisation could be achieved.

He emphasised that digitalisation and sustainability had become necessities, as evidenced by the 44% of companies globally that survived through Covid-19 using Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies.

Sowell is confident that 30% of productivity gains come from digitalisation; however, taking it a step further, with digital transformation comes new ways of working, reduced wasted work, value creation, outward thinking, customer centricity, better time management and adaptability.

A data-driven value chain needed trusted, secure and contextualised information, he explained, adding that connected teams could become engaged teams. “The fundamental thing is not just gathering data, but getting people to absorb information effectively and across a global scale.”

The market forces at play amid a changing global landscape have led to assets becoming "information appliances", functioning autonomously, while products have become "information streams" enabling transparency and traceability across the design-to-dispose lifecycle.

In turn, people have become problem-solvers who bring judgment, imagination and improvisation for innovation and agility, while the value chain has become a "digital nervous system", all based on contextualised data, at speed, to drive savings on “time”.

Sowell noted that labour and expertise had become remotely based and that these were not necessarily on site all day anymore.

Another consideration is a higher staff turnover compared with earlier years. These two factors necessitate the on-boarding and training of people to become versed across plants and operations, to ensure greater consistency and reduce room for error.

“People all over the world are collaborating with the plant, and providing guidance. They are providing advice to plants they will likely never visit,” Sowell stated.

This calls for meaningful information, collaboration and digital transformation, if connected industrial organisations are to emerge, and if the planet is to be preserved for longer.

He summarised his keynote by stressing that the critical ingredients to enable an organisation to thrive in the connected industrial economy was one open, neutral industrial digital backbone, one application portfolio spanning the industrial lifecycle and one world-class experience.

The X-Change 2023 conference is being held in the Drakensberg from June 5 to 7.

*Marleny Arnoldi attended the X-Change 2023 conference as a guest of IS3 and AVEVA.