Series 3 of 6 on NCS Digital Factory
Do you need a Digital Factory?
Digital technology is disrupting businesses in all sectors, both in terms of enabling businesses to change the way they operate and pursue new opportunities that did not exist before. This potential for digital innovation is presenting itself in an environment where the pace of change is accelerating, and traditional industry boundaries are breaking down as organisations face competition from digitally-savvy competitors from adjacent or previously unrelated sectors.
The deliberation has moved beyond what-if to how, when, and where should businesses transform. As organisations grapple with how best to approach their digital transformation, they will need to consider how a digital factory can play a part in their transformation plans and how to derive the most value.
What is a digital factory?
Digital transformation programs consist of many high-value activities that require knowledge workers with highly sought-after skills. At first glance, it may be counter intuitive to think of a “factory” as the right reference for digital innovation.
A digital factory is a set up that operationalises digital transformation at scale. Applying the concept of a factory to digital transformation is akin to the rise of factories in the Industrial Revolution where the factory system was associated with centralisation, specialisation, standardisation and scale.
A factory for delivering on digital transformation outcomes requires careful construction to take advantage of what a factory system can deliver while keeping front and centre the appreciation that digital products are not composed of interchangeable widgets.
Do you need a digital factory?
An important point for consideration is where digital transformation sits within the current business strategy. The case for a digital factory is strongest when the goal is to effect fundamental changes to the business and move digital capabilities deeper into the core of the company.
Is the digital transformation agenda business-critical, and will it touch multiple functions of the business? If it is, even if an organisation is currently choosing to manage innovation at the edge of the organisation, a digital factory may be applicable. However, if the focus of digital innovation is not changing core businesses and operations and is concentrated in one part of the organisation, other digital innovation setups may help get the initiative off the ground faster.
For example, if a business' current priority is to use digital channels for more effective customer communications, driven and executed by a specific team within the organisation, a defined innovation project may be the right approach. Digital transformation may progress further across the organisation and affects digital channels where associated technologies can support the redesign of the customer engagement value chain from start to end - including the provision, delivery, operation of applications, systems, and data. In this case, a more comprehensive set up like a digital factory may be needed.
What to consider when building a digital factory?
Each digital factory has to be designed to support the business strategy, to deliver change, maintain momentum and ensure a stream of visible digital outcomes to the organisation. At NCS, we have a digital factory framework that helps customers design and build the right digital factory. This framework takes into consideration a few areas:
A digital factory is both the result of a business imperative for change and a catalyst for change in the organisation. NCS has helped many clients look at their digital transformation needs and design the right approach to scale their digital innovation initiatives. Is a digital factory the right answer to your digital transformation challenges?
Let’s discuss to see what is right for your business.