In our latest post People at the center: the key to a successful transformation we talked about our digital transformation methodology in an Industry 4.0 (Digital Frog) and Corporate (Automation Journey) context.
However, in this post we will be exploring technology onboarding which, along with design thinking, as we have already looked at, is one of the unique features of our approach.
Technology Onboarding: what is it, and how does it work?
Technology onboarding is designed to address three fundamental demands for your business:
- keeping your partners fully in the loop with digital transformation initiatives
- providing opportunities for education about new technologies
- spreading digital culture throughout the entire organisation.
How is it structured? Basically, it consists of one or more workshops for digital champions and business representatives, supported by IT and HR. These workshops are led by a mix of digital advisors and technology experts - this way, the strategic perspective is combined with the technological expertise, and every aspect of the process is covered.
Discussion points during these workshops will include current and prospective potential and development of the selected technologies, getting a sense of the technologies themselves both on the macro and micro levels, and providing multiple business cases and success stories. Following our firm conviction that ideas and proposals conceived in one context have the potential for success in a context that may never even have been considered, we select business cases both from within and outside of your industry.
Participants play active role in our workshops: we ask them to bring the initial ideas for how technologies can be applied to their own context - ideas which will then be rationalized and taken forward to kick-start the digital initiatives phase.
The technology onboarding process can develop in different ways, depending on what your company's goals are. We distinguish between two macro typologies here (which are not mutually exclusive):
- A bird's-eye view means everyone will gain a top-quality understanding of the technologies, consisting of a wider range of elements. This is the perfect programme to start an all-round, company-wide digital transformation process.
- Focussing in on a refined selection of technologies applied to one or more business areas lets participants gain mastery and a high level of understanding of the technological potential for your business. This is the ideal choice for those looking to start a digitalisation process for a specific area or technology - for example, an intelligent automation programme (RPA + AI + business process management).
By way of example, here are some of the issues we address with our clients: the Internet of Things and 5G, robotic process automation, process mining, process orchestration, advanced mobility, field service, business intelligence and data platforms, big data, machine learning, virtual control rooms, digital twins, and IT-OT integration.
What are the benefits of technology onboarding?
One real advantage of technology onboarding is an accelerated technology adoption process and faster testing phases.
To better understand this aspect, let's think about possible reactions to emerging technologies - something well described by the Gartner Hype Cycle. In fact, when it comes to this, people can be split into two categories:
- enthusiasts promote innovation in a company, sometimes with the risk of adopting technologies that are still immature and may end up being abandoned before they are able to achieve full productivity
- conservatives, on the other hand, are more reluctant to innovation both in how we work and in what we produce and will take a critical approach to a new technology.
These two aspects, enthusiasm and conservatism, can be balanced out in the training sessions as part of the technology onboarding process and the design thinking exercise. This careful technological evaluation, along with the experience of solution architects and technology leaders, will allow you to flatten the hype curve by both accelerating technology adoption and speeding up testing phases simultaneously.
Technology Onboarding is also an opportunity to promote digital culture at every level of the organisation.
In fact, one way you can take advantage of this process is by taking the opportunity to create or develop digital ambassador roles, by developing and refining a wider range of digital skills through a series of training and-experience initiatives. As promoters of innovation, digital ambassadors share their acquired skills with their groups and contribute to the common emergence of digital initiatives, proposals, and opportunities, encouraging a digital transformation process that is both broader and more inclusive.
Tax credits for Industry 4.0 training
Materials and technologies training for companies relevant to technological and digital transformation is subsidised in many countries.
In Italy for example, as part of the incentives for the development of Industry 4.0 in the country, companies can obtain a tax credit of up to 50% of costs incurred for Industry 4.0 training activities: another good reason to consider a technology onboarding process in your company.
Other articles of this series on Digital Advisory:
- People at the center: the key to a successful transformation
- The role of Technology Onboarding in innovation projects
- The pros and cons of remote Design Thinking
- Checking and monitoring devices remotely: IoT or Historian?
- Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE): the KPI for improving production processes
- Digital Twins, a pillar of digital transformation
- Heat and material balances: monitoring yield and consumption, identifying losses