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Executing on the objective of digital transformation

Nov 15, 2018
4 min read
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By: Craig Hayman, CEO, AVEVA


As the CEO of a leading industrial technology company, I am often asked what solution is the right fit for digital transformation. My answer is not always what people expect, because for me the right technology starts with the problems that need to be addressed, rather than the solutions to be implemented. During these conversations, the questions I ask are, who will benefit most from your transformation programme? Do you need to help your operations team, or your engineers? And, will you start with a large-scale project or pilot your ideas by implementing something small to test the tech in your own operating environment?

For most oil and gas companies, the key challenges are how to improve asset performance and how to boost operational efficiency while increasing plant uptime. Leaders see the need to optimise yield with safe operational certainty. They are increasingly turning to digital transformation as the path forward to, in a proven manner, bring this balance beyond operations into handover and even design. The reason for starting with the questions becomes clear as soon as you start asking them about their own business: when it comes to digital transformation, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. Instead, I suggest that customers consider their primary resources and constraints. Create a business case for digital transformation with clear ROI expectations, timelines and objectives, just as you would with any other investment. There are a host of solutions to choose from, but I find that taking this approach makes it easier for companies to find the right fit for them.


There are some exciting innovations today that include:

  • Cloud-based Process Design: Cloud computing offers numerous opportunities to reduce costs in process design by leveraging an almost infinite processing power and storage available through a cloud-based architecture.
  • Digital Planning & Operations: Business units that have historically been disconnected silos can now connect in real time to create a unified supply chain model that maximises profitability by integrating internal and external data sources. 
  • Digital Asset Performance Management (APM): Properly configured and applied APM solutions can drive maximum return on asset investment through reduced downtime, lowered total cost of ownership, decreased maintenance costs and improved overall equipment performance.
  • Digital Workforce Knowledge Capture & Retention: Virtual and Augmented Reality are digital technologies capable of building and capturing critical procedures and best practices. These can then be transferred to control room operators, maintenance, and fi eld personnel to improve overall effectiveness.


There are many ways to plan and execute your digital transformation journey. Most organisations start by defining their most obvious need and selecting an appropriate technology to help solve that problem. Many companies have already embarked on this journey, having already achieved success. Often, however, companies may not want to invest from the start in a complete system that spans their entire processes, plant and people.

A good first step is to set out to create a Digital Twin environment for an important asset. This can then provide a visual portal to all the essential information and data required to achieve safe and reliable operations. This is a major step forward for most organisations. Choosing the right technology solution requires careful analysis, however, implementation requires informed leadership and organisational management of change to ensure a successful transition to new ways of working and optimum ROI.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that Digital Transformation is not a one-time-deal. It is an ongoing journey of modification, development and discovery. As successes build, projects gain momentum as people, processes, and assets are digitally fused together to bridge gaps and break down silos. It’s an exciting process, and one which demands a partner who can support you every step of the way. To find out more about how AVEVA could help you in your digital transformation journey visit our stand at the ADIPEC conference.

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