Schneider Electric outlines 4 keys for successful digital transformation

Published: 26 October 2020 - midnight

Digital transformation has the capacity to accelerate global, regional and national economic growth, promote job creation, and lead to the creation of new industries and technologies that will promote efficiency, agility and sustainability, according to research undertaken by Schneider Electric. The findings of Schneider Electric’s Global Digital Transformation Benefits Report, which were validated by Schneider Electric’s customers in the Middle East and Africa throughout 2020, highlighted that there are four universal results of any successful digital transformation: remote capabilities; resiliency; efficiency, and sustainability. These four elements are providing digitally-focused companies with a base for growth, even during times of crisis.

Speaking in the run up to the company’s annual Innovation Summit Middle East and Africa, which is to be held on the 28th October, Schneider Electric executives underlined how technology has given organisations the tools to become more resilient, efficient and capable whilst operating remotely.

Emerging nations have even more to gain from digital transformations. In 2018, research firm IDC predicted that by 2021 60 per cent of emerging markets’ GDP would be based on digital products or services created from digital transformations. In the same year, professional services firm PwC estimated that the Middle East would stand to gain significantly from Artificial Intelligence, resulting in an increase of US$320 billion to the region’s economy. The result will be the addition of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the country.

“The pandemic is transforming every business, and this year is a reminder of why agility, efficiency, and resiliency matter so much,” said Ahmed Fateen, Power Systems vice president, Schneider Electric Gulf.

“Organisations are looking to save costs whilst working towards becoming more responsive to customer needs. The one solution we have found to both is digitisation. This isn’t new to our customers. Digital transformation has been a part of the business landscape for decades. Those organisations who have been digital pioneers have had a substantial edge over the competition. COVID-19 has accelerated digital, and every organisation that has invested in this transformation is now benefiting from increased resiliency, efficiency, and sustainability whilst also being able to operate remotely.”

Building on research released last year from a repository of 230 customer projects Schneider Electric completed in the last five years across 41 countries, the company interviewed customers across the Middle East and Africa on the potential for digital transformations to improve organisational performance. The research culminates in four key factors to ensure business continuity during unprecedented times:

Remote everything – Enabling off-site operations

The ability to operate remotely is an outcome of digital transformation. Remote connection and monitoring provide organisations with the ability to continue operations whilst prioritising employee safety. One example of this is Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), which used remote access to enter the company’s Panorama digital command center during lockdown. ADNOC employees could access real-time operational information, allowing them the ability to optimise production whilst abiding with health and safety requirements.

Ensuring resiliency in a crisis

Remote capabilities allow for constant monitoring, and this provides the platform for the implementation of automation and analytics that will resolve issues without human intervention. The work being undertaken to digitise Egypt’s electricity grid will allow the network to self-heal; energy demands can be managed remotely in real-time, ensuring business continuity during any situation.

Increased efficiency, reduced costs

Efficiency has always been critical for industry. And this has never been truer than during the pandemic. Organisations are always looking to reduce costs, speed-up response times, and improve efficiencies. South Africa’s RCL Foods, a producer of private label food products, implemented a modern and reliable automated control system with remote access capabilities. The result has been greater visibility into the plant’s operations, reduced downtime, and a 20per cent increase in throughput.

Sustainability through optimised operations

The journey to sustainability starts with digitisation. By measuring, organisations can begin to optimise for efficiency and benchmark against global best practices. This begins a virtuous cycle of resource reduction and efficiency gains. North Africa’s largest data center provider, Tunisia-based Dataxion, has reduced its energy needs by 35per cent, increased its asset availability by 20per cent, and lowered operational costs by 20per cent over the past four years since opening in 2016. The result is a more sustainable, digitally-enabled organisation.

Schneider Electric will be showcasing more examples of how organisations can ensure their business continuity through successful digital transformations at the Innovation Summit MEA, which will take place online on the 28th of October.

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