Why the future of manufacturing is digital

Organizations must bridge gaps to unite for winning digital strategies

by AT&T Business Editorial Team

Digitalization has the potential to remake the manufacturing segment dramatically. Yet, according to one survey, only 23% of manufacturing leaders say they have a corporate-wide strategy for digital transformation.

“Few manufacturers are responding to opportunities and threats presented by the digital revolution in a comprehensive, coordinated way,” according to McKinsey analysts. Although data is the lifeblood of the digital era and manufacturing generates more of it than any other segment, “few companies are harnessing it,” says the McKinsey report.

It may well be that traditional organizational siloes are holding back progress. Information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) traditionally have been separate entities relying on disparate technologies and disciplines. To stave off the type of disruption that has affected media, transportation and retail, these organizations must bridge cultural and communications gaps to unite for winning digital strategies.

“Without the right digital culture, the best talent will not want to stay,” suggests consulting firm PwC. “But what does a true digital mindset look like? It’s highly collaborative, crossing company boundaries and outward to partners and customers. Companies that remain constrained by functional silos are unlikely to achieve the integration that is so central to Industry 4.0.”

As organizations within the manufacturing ecosystem integrate the Internet of Things (IoT) and become increasingly data intensive, they have never been more primed for digital transformation. Bridging the gaps between IT and OT is essential for capitalizing on connectivity among the digital plant, IoT devices, and the cloud.

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