Recently a friend of mine told me that their organization is embarking on to the journey of digital transformation. I said wow, what exactly it is doing for which his response was that their implementation of portal system for logging records. Does it quality to be called a digital transformation ? is it so ? Actually, for many, digital transformation is digitization of their processes which can be a mere implementation of IT tools replacing their legacy modes of operation. Indeed digitization does not advocate replacement of legacy applications with new age tools. Rather it advocates tight integration of organization competitive tools which have evolved over years with new age technologies to stream line the user experience and operational excellence.
Digitalization is the new requirement for companies to competitive in the current age. It is not just mere requirement but rather it is a opportunity to outperform competition. Traditionally EHS processes operates in tandem with other processes within the organization. These processes have with a close hand offs with different departments like HR, Operations, Sales, Procurement and manufacturing. These processes, like operational processes have certain challenges like i) Disparate data systems and sources ii) Inadequate view of Leadership towards the Return of Investment (ROI), iii) In adequate collaboration across departments iv) KPI visibility including data visibility across the company v) Missing management of support due to lack of visibility vi) In adequate training / skills to the changing environment.
These challenges leads to the following digital needs i) Leadership visibility to overall process KPI, and need for showing details when needed ii) Need for data driven decision making and identification of actionable insights iii) Alignment of business goals to organizational goals iv) Operational management to meet day to day requirements v) Risk Management and risk treatment and finally vi) collaboration and flow of single truth of information across the organization.
There are many digital enablers be it i) Big Data ii) Internet of Things iii) Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence iv) Mobility and many others like AR/ VR and Gamification / biochips etc. Details of the technologies can be dealt separately and can be found freely in the internet search.
Some of the significant digital user cases highlighting the use of the above technologies include i) connected worker / worker safety solutions ii) Process Safety Management (Incident and Safety Management) iii) Leading indicator management and predictive incident management iv) Chatbots technology for real time plant safety / spillage support inside the plant or while carrying goods outside the plant v) Process automation meeting day to day operational requirement like use of Robots vi) Pollution monitoring / Emission Monitoring systems and predictive maintenance technology vii) Customer perception of risks and products viii) spill / maintenance notifications via mobile devices ix) drones for unsafe plant / places assessment like oil drills x) Surface scanning of pipelines for potential hazard due to cracks xi) implantation of enterprise solutions for Supply Chain Collaboration, Product disclosure information and Chatbots for product stewardship management.
From the above use cases it is clear that on a overall scale broadly six different areas of investment surface. Those include i) Operational Management ii) Implementation of data driven culture iii) Customer oriented model development iv) Transformational management v) Implementation of value proposition-based results and finally vi) organizational alignment.
There are many technological enablers for the implementation of digital EHS, which include market analysis reports from Research firms like IDC, Gartner, Verdantrix report of EHS Vendors and LNSResearch published article on digital transformation or EHS 4.0 Implementation.
So to conclude how to start with digital transformation of EHS ? What are the different questions which needed to be answered include like i) Do you know what digital activities are underway within the enterprise ii) what are your customer touch points for potential disruptions iii) what will your industry look like in 5, 10 and 20 years’ time period iv) How to start your digital future and where to start and finally v) Having a visibility of the end game in mind and whether business is in alignment with spending multiyear multi million dollars spends and how your vision as a digital transformation leaders fits to the overall organizational goals. Digital transformation further advocates not implementing departmental wise transformation strategies, but the use of overall corporate goals / transformation strategies will help EHS delivery immense organizational value and stakeholder confidence.
There is a lot to discuss on digital transformation including the organizational culture for implementing the digital technologies, digital dexterity , how to align your departmental transformation strategies with overall corporate scope in mind and new age millennial / centennials being in your work force. Stay tuned for a 1 hour long presentation sessions I would be uploading on this topic some time in coming days highlighting my understanding of blue print for Digital Transformation of EHS highlighting processes from both Product Safety Stewardship, Health safety and Environmental Management and Employee engagement.