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The biggest barriers to digital transformation and acceleration in industry: Part 3

Updated: Apr 26, 2023

Welcome to the third post in the biggest barriers to digital transformation and acceleration in industry series.

  • In the first post, we introduced the eight common barriers to digital adoption, acceleration, and transformation faced by capital-intensive industries.

  • In the second post, we reviewed those barriers and focused on cybersecurity concerns, difficulty replacing legacy systems, and linking investment with business goals.

In this post, we’ll look at the next two common barriers hindering and slowing digital adoption in industry today: knowledge gaps across the business and silos, and employee resistance to change and a risk averse culture.

4) Knowledge gaps across the business and the challenges posed by silos

There are expected differences regarding digital knowledge between departments, especially between operations and IT. There are also silos that are impossible to break down without digital transformation.

Training is required to educate the entire workforce on digital transformation, what it means to the future of the business, and to the futures as key stakeholders. If the organization coordinates training well and manages the process incrementally, it can diffuse concerns and potential areas of conflict and confusion.

There are also distinct silos regarding access to holistic information. This is partly because of legacy systems and partly because of inefficient technologies. To illustrate with an example, let’s consider an Operations Production Planner named Steve.

Steve’s daily challenge is to monitor information from multiple sources, use different additional systems to record data, and then distribute it to relevant stakeholders. Each system is disparate, the data is siloed, and the stakeholders are disconnected. Steve’s daily tasks and responsibilities include:

  • Accessing information from multiple siloed sources to create production plans and communicating them to cross-functional teams via disparate channels.

  • Accessing up-to-date information from Quality Management Systems (policies, business processes, and procedures, qualified supplier lists, and more) to request for necessary supplies. This information is usually held in disparate silos and takes effort and time to locate, compile, and contextualize.

  • Analyzing real time information to ensure production goals are being constantly met through accessing multiple different information sources

How VEERUM alleviates this concern:

VEERUM is a single, easy to use, web-based interface that can be accessed anywhere you have an internet connection. Our solutions team provides white-glove training to ensure adoption, understanding of features and functionality, and helps new users uncover new use cases. There are many online and additional training resources available, with regular updates, benefits and feature-drive use case videos. Digital expertise is not a requirement nor a prerequisite to using VEERUM and achieving maximum value from the application.

5) Employee resistance to change and a risk-averse culture

The fear of being usurped by an AI is quite real, especially amongst site and factory-floor workers. This resistance can be the biggest challenge your digital transformation initiative will face.

We look at leadership support in more detail later, but it is essential to understand that it is not only leadership that needs to be aligned and ready for transformation change, but the entire organization. This is not just a transformation, it is a complete cultural shift.

Change agents will need to be identified and deployed to champion the change in their respective areas. Along with the leadership team, it is their role to inspire their people to accept the change, understand the need for change, understand their role in making it happen, and appreciate their role in a transformed work environment.

To effectively communicate this change, highlight the focus on employee’s health and safety, time on site, travel requirements, and other key variables that impact their daily lives. This communication should be repetitive and consistent.

What’s more, technology adoption is frequently perceived as a resource-demanding, and extremely expensive process with an uncertain outcome. The oil and gas industry in particular has been characterized as having a “slow clock speed”, in which the uptake of new technology can take up to 16 years to have widespread industry adoption.

If you have a risk averse culture, the advantages for digital transformation need to be very clearly highlighted and communicated, specifically around the areas of financial implications, lack of knowledge and qualification, job security, health and safety and more.The clock is ticking. If you are not transforming and investing in interconnected and integrated ways of working, you are now falling behind.

How VEERUM alleviates this concern:

Understanding what VEERUM is (and is not) capable of doing will help ease the fear of being usurped by the software. It’s essential that users gain a complete picture of how the software helps users work more safely and productively with less travel time and time on site.

VEERUM is a world-class digital twin. It employs machine learning, but it doesn’t replace your workers. In fact, VEERUM depends on humans for several reasons. Humans are required to provide the data for it to ingest, to interpret the data it analyzes, to leverage the visual data it outputs to enable the gains we recently highlighted. VEERUM empowers your workers to be more productive, with less time wasted, in a safer, more unified, visual and collaborative way.

In our fourth and final post in this series, we’ll dive into the last three common barriers to digital adoption faced by capital-intensive industries; proof-of-concepts that don’t make it to production, lack of leadership support, and choosing the wrong technology partner.

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