Industry 4.0 Audit: Where to Start for Successful Digital Transformation

30 September, 2020 | Blog

Pierre Boucher

Pierre Boucher, P.Eng.

Engineer

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Julie Lessard

Julie Lessard

Business Analyst

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For businesses, it’s no longer just a question of developing new products or services; it’s a question of rethinking all functions, practices and thought patterns to create value. Companies must seize digitalization opportunities to remain competitive.

One of the most efficient ways of stimulating growth and improving profitability and performance is to modernize technology or invest in new solutions. This will also make it easier to acquire talent and attract investors.

The digital plan, a pillar for your technological shift

In the age of the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0, companies are encouraged to invest in technology, but it’s not a good idea to venture into it blindly; company sustainability is at stake. There’s a wide range of solutions available: artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), cybersecurity, cloud computing, 3D printing, robotics, virtual or augmented reality and much more. But, based on your objectives, how do you know which of these solutions should be implemented and prioritized to move forward today or in the medium term?

It’s essential to take a break, even before you start developing a digital plan, so you can take stock of your company’s technology. Assessing your company’s digital maturity can quickly become challenging. There are several questions that are difficult to answer:

  • What’s our current overall level of digitalization?
  • Do we have the resources and expertise required to reach set objectives?
  • How quickly should we develop our technology?
  • Do we need to develop all the company’s services at the same time?
  • Have we mastered all our existing systems?
  • Are we making optimal use of existing tools?
  • Which projects should we prioritize to generate the greatest value?

And the list goes on… One of the recommended solutions to answer these questions is digital diagnostics.

What does digital diagnostics measure?

Digital diagnostics (or Industry 4.0 audits) are an accessible approach that provides an accurate portrait of the company’s current maturity and helps increase operational excellence. A digital diagnostic helps identify your company’s strengths and weaknesses, major issues and challenges, as well as opportunities for improvement. This exercise also helps target inefficient practices and eliminates them in the new processes being implemented.

Digital diagnostics include an in-depth analysis of organizational needs to choose solutions that are adapted to your business reality. This tailor-made assessment requires the cooperation of employees working in various areas of your organization: information technology, administration, finance, accounting, sales and marketing, procurement, production, etc. Key players must be brought together to represent all existing practices and processes to provide an accurate portrait of the company’s overall maturity.

During a digital transformation, we want to improve processes and increase team collaboration. To do this, it’s critical for various levels of the organization to be involved and that the process be transparent when gathering information.

What method is used when performing a diagnostic or audit?

BBA’s approach consists of four key steps:

  1. Validate needs: the first step is to properly formulate the organization’s strategic and operational orientations and needs.
  2. Understand and analyze: data is collected through an online questionnaire, interviews, or workshops, among other means. Many topics are covered, such as business governance, operations, information technology and processes.
  3. Determine the overall maturity index: results are compiled and analyzed by our auditors to determine the company’s digital maturity.
  4. Make recommendations and prepare a digital plan: You now have your company portrait, including recommendations aligned with your strategic plan and growth targets. A solutions roadmap will allow you to begin your digital shift while limiting technological and financial risks.

Digital diagnostics can be eligible for government grant. BBA experts are certified to perform audits as part of the Québec government’s Audit Industry 4.0 and can assess your strategies and provide their expertise for your company’s digital transformation.

Conclusion

Technology is evolving quickly, and there is no reason to believe that this pace will slow down. That’s why it’s a good idea to perform an initial digital maturity diagnostic and to review it regularly so you can adjust your business model based on market needs. This exercise is essential to implement solutions that offer the best return on investment and to foster company sustainability.

This content is for general information purposes only. All rights reserved ©BBA

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