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Exiting the "Digital Shadow Zone" — Underpinning Processes with Digital

Main visual : Exiting the "Digital Shadow Zone" — Underpinning Processes with Digital

We are delighted to present this guest blog from Jan Burian, Head of Manufacturing Insights EMEA at IDC.


Digital transformation (DX) is positively impacting organizations' resilience, competitiveness, and customer perceptions. Operational performance is frequently underpinned by cutting-edge tools such as industrial IoT, cognitive AI, edge and cloud computing, and intelligent automation.

But lookingBut looking at operational and back-office processes shows that many organizations still have vast siloed activities that leverage different IT systems, Excel sheets, and supportive tools. They also still rely on the good old system of meetings, calls, and emails.

Companies in this "digital shadow zone" believe they are already fully digitally equipped because they leverage data from ERP or related systems. But IDC's experience has shown that organizations are missing out on the benefits when they continue to rely on data collected here and there.

Process Optimization: Risks and Challenges

Many process optimization projects use lean methodology, based on the removal of wasteful activities — non-value-adding steps, lead-time shortage, many handovers, for example. The value stream design approach typically leverages manual activities, data from IT systems, and the sharing of information via digital tools.

In real life, however, process owners face challenges that make it difficult to maintain newly designed processes at their envisioned level of efficiency. According to IDC's Europe, Middle East, and Africa Future of Work Survey, 30% of organizations still struggle with inefficient processes. A fifth work across too many applications. Even best-in-class lean methodologies cannot overcome these technology barriers. In time, the performance of processes declines.

There is another huge challenge that also needs to be tackled — the human element. According to IDC's Future of Work Survey, 40% of organizations face resistance to change from employees. Almost as many organizations lack the necessary training programs to keep employees up to date with technology.

Digital Technology and Sustainable Processes

Ideally, for organizations, newly designed processes should be touchless, utilizing manual input only at the point of decision making. Process resilience can be achieved through the availability of data from across the value chain, automation elements, and AI for complex decision making. Such a framework, underpinned by IT and OT data security, provides a solid and transparent process environment.

But transformation must go beyond the organization's walls. Data must be accessible from anywhere. This is where cloud-based platforms and cloud computing for complex analytics come into play.

Removing the human element from processes provides organizations with a sustainable level of performance. Process resilience is provided by standardization enabled by digital technology, and by data democratization.

For a deeper understanding of how digital technology provides manufacturing organizations with sustainable performance, please see https://marketing.global.fujitsu.com/manufacturing-targeted-investments-inb?utm_source=blog&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=idcinfobrief2


Biography Jan Burian, Head of IDC Manufacturing Insights EMEA

Jan Burian is Senior Research Director, Head of IDC Manufacturing Insights EMEA and Leader of Future of Operations Europe Practice.

Jan’s core research coverage includes Industry 4.0, asset management strategy, IT/OT convergence strategies, and digital transformation across manufacturing subindustries.

Before joining IDC, Jan has worked as a consultant in Big 4 firms for 11 years. He led a Supply Chain and Operations team in the EY Czech Republic and provided consulting services including performance improvement, digital strategy, and enterprise asset management. Before his consulting career, Jan was working in manufacturing companies, covering various positions in R&D project management and quality management.

Profile photo of Jan Burian