Analytics is Key to Digital Transformation in UK Manufacturing

When TS Elliot famously wrote ‘Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?’ he could easily have been speaking about the vast amounts of data produced by every manufacturing organization today. It’s the new lifeblood of business, but only if it can be properly harnessed. Recently research from OpenText and Sapio Research suggests that knowledge of data analytics is still in its infancy and is holding back Digital Transformation efforts within UK manufacturing companies.

Manufacturing is one sector where Digital Transformation will have the biggest impact. It goes far beyond the process of digitization to improve productivity and efficiency. It provides the opportunity to embrace product and market innovation in a way that drives completely new revenue streams. Little surprise then that 80% of respondents to our ‘Digital Transformation in Manufacturing’ survey placed it as a key priority for their business.

Change is accelerating

While the transition to digital processes is disrupting the sector, it has taken companies some time to put in place the plans to respond. In fact, a full 90% of respondents who had plans admitted that they have begun implementing them within the last 24 months. Worryingly, almost one fifth of respondents didn’t have a plan.

It’s very clear from our research that companies understand the value in the data created with any Digital Transformation program. When asked what they considered the key benefit of Digital Transformation, the ability to improve decision-making based on big data analytics came top of the list.

Strategies are becoming actions

Companies have started work on creating the environment where big data analytics can be fully exploited. Our survey showed that over 50% of respondents has already begun digitizing unstructured information into a contextual framework with a further 34% planning to do so within the next 18 months. In addition, almost half had introduced processes that filter and analyze internal data to help optimize business insight, with 47% planning to do so within the next 18 months.

In terms of business operations, the ability to organize and analyze data is already producing benefits for manufacturing companies. When asked, almost two thirds of respondents said they were already using analytics to improve productivity. Over half the companies surveyed were using analytics to achieve supply chain efficiencies.

Yet, more business oriented objectives are still lagging behind with only 40% of respondents said they were using analytics to enhance their levels of customer engagement.

Analytics skills is still a barrier

While our research report shows that real progress has been made in both Digital Transformation and the implementation of data analytics, it remains a barrier. In fact, handling and analyzing the vast volumes of data create ranks as the second and third most significant hurdle to the adoption of Digital Transformation.

Manufacturing companies are struggling to gain visibility of all data held in various silos within the business. It is very interesting to note the affect that survey respondents see these legacy, non-integrated systems spread throughout the organization having on their business. Over 70% said that disparate and legacy systems had a negative impact on scalability, 60% said it impeded business agility and 70% felt it held back business innovation.

There is an urgent need for organizations to consider implementing a robust infrastructure that supports data analytics as an enterprise-wide capability. With investment a major challenge for Digital Transformation programs, manufacturing companies need a centralized system that can provide complete control and visibility across all its information – both structured and unstructured – and allow advanced analytics to be applied for real-time business and operational decision-making.

OpenText™ Content Suite is a Enterprise Information Management (EIM) system that provides the building blocks to underpin an organization’s Digital Transformation while connecting with legacy systems and information silos to maximise investment and speed the transformation and implementation processes. It includes the powerful OpenText™ Analytics Suite, including OpenText™ Big Data Analytics (BDA),  whose advanced approach to business intelligence lets it easily access, blend, explore, analyze and display data.

Want to find out more about how Digital Transformation is affecting UK and Nordic manufacturers? We are presenting the results of our Digital Transformation in Manufacturing Survey at the OpenText Innovation Tour in London (March 21) and Stockholm (March 29).


Join us at either event and find out more.

Tom Leeson

Tom is Industry Marketing Strategist for the Manufacturing Sector globally. An Engineer by Trade, and Mathematician by Education, Tom’s entire career has been spent in Engineering, Manufacturing and IT helping customers digitally transform their business and their manufacturing sector. With Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things, Manufacturing lives in exciting times, so there is much to talk about.

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