A Cloudalize Customer Story
Is it all just marketing fluff?
I hear a lot that the term “Digital Transformation” is only marketing fluff. Thankfully, this is not the case. Digital Transformation is one of the biggest challenges for businesses in the 2020s and beyond. Even though 82 % of business leaders recognise this fact, only 22 % understand the need to make necessary changes. (Starita 2020).
It is difficult to define what digital transformation is or what it can do for a company. According to George Westerman, MIT principal research scientist: “ Digital transformation marks a radical rethinking of how an organisation uses technology, people and processes to fundamentally change business performance.” (Schmidt 2020)
Many companies have launched digital transformation initiatives in the past decade. Some have witnessed success, others have witnessed failure. A staggering 70 % of companies fail in their digitisation efforts (Bucy, Finlayson, Kelly & Moye 2016). Some of the traditional blue-chip companies including GE, Ford and Procter & Gamble have gambled big on digitalisation and yet failed (Morgan 2019).
The question remains why? Let’s try to answer this question by looking more closely at the digital transformation undertaken by one of Cloudalize’s clients.
Working Methods from a By-gone Era
MC Fabrication* is a manufacturing firm with many local subsidiaries around the world. It designs and manufactures a wide range of products which are later tailored to a customers’ specific requirements. Over time, its work practices became outdated and less efficient. Projects teams and stakeholders became entrenched in their different silos with little collaboration between them. There was a lack of innovation: what advanced one project to cut costs or speed up the design process was not shared with another team. Internal file sharing was done by email or exchanging USB keys for larger files. External file sharing was often done by internet-based file transfer services outside the firm’s firewalls and domain. This lead to a security breach where important files went missing
A New Path
Change was needed and MC Fabrication needed a new path. They had to design and build from the ground up a new way of working based on new processes enabled by digital technology. The initial discussions were difficult. MC Fabrication was confronted by the natural resistance of their employees. There was reluctance to go tinkering with processes which everyone already knew from lead designer to account manager down to customer. It was an unbroken chain where everyone knew their space, role and expectations.
But what to do with the existing IT infrastructure? Management was not going to dump an infrastructure which had cost hundreds of thousands to plan and install. Even the best development plan accompanied with a detailed risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis would not persuade them. Despite all its security, productivity and data-streaming flaws, the existing infrastructure still functioned.
However, the centrifugal force is non-stoppable and change had to come. Going digital was the solution and Cloudalize was chosen as the best-fit partner for the job. Cloudalize’s GPU-powered Cloud Workstations (DaaS) solution was chosen because it is easy-to-use and bridges the gap between the digital and physical world. MC Fabrication could upgrade to the latest computer-aided design (CAD) and engineering (CAE) software without investing in new hardware. Furthermore, Cloudalize was proven during the initial PoC to integrate well with MC Fabrication’s existing on-premises IT infrastructure.
Better Process, New Innovations
Working directly with Cloudalize’s technical team, the employees became less resistant. Together both parties quickly combined expertise to design new work practices with minimal disruption. However, it was not all plain sailing. There were unforeseen teething problems including upgrading the performance of Cloudalize’s Cloud Workstations (DaaS) solution for power users of CAD, CAE and BIM software.
However, these were minor and the digital transformation process was moving in the right direction. Silos began to break down. Teams were helping each other to adjust to the new cloud technology and work together on projects. Competencies became interdependent for the success of each project and roles were no longer mutually exclusive to one customer or another.
Working with the firm’s foreign subsidiaries became easier too. Files are no longer shared by a file transferring service as everyone has access from a Single-Source-of-Truth (SSoT). A European-based member of the team can stop at 17.00 CEST and their North American-based counterpart can continue from the same file and on the same program when they log in at 9.00 DST.
While, SSoT available has the highest data security protocols available. This brings an extra level of trust and confidence to customers which are more sensitive about security and corporate espionage.
Happier Employees, Happier Customers
One area where there was the greatest impact of digital transformation was in customer satisfaction. The former customer feedback loop was 2 weeks: the file is sent to a customer. They download it, organise a meeting to discuss feedback and send back comments, etc. The teams realised that by complementing Cloudalize’s GPU-powered DaaS with Autodesk BIM 360, the customer feedback loop could be optimised.
Tested and implemented, it reduced the feedback loop from 2 weeks to 1 day! Inputting the correct modelling data into the genitive design software in the morning and processing it throughout the day delivers the final design and update by close-of-business.
Keep Calm and Go Digital
MC Fabrication did not invest billions like GE or Ford, but it did do one thing correctly where the big guys failed: communicate and plan for change in a constructive manner to all stakeholders involved. Employees are not robots after all, they are human and they fear change.
Digital transformation enabled MC Fabrication to bring about new advances and innovations to improve all the working life of all stakeholders. Silos are no longer an issue and data security is airtight. The end-user experience of the tools and software is better and customers are happier. What’s more is that these digital transformation efforts cut long-term costs. It reduced Total-Cost-of-Ownership (TCO) of the existing hardware and shifted maintenance and support of the Cloud technology to Cloudalize.
Manufacturing firms have been traditionally slower to adopt to change. Perhaps it is due to the old engineering maxim: “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” However, this attitude will not make your business more viable or to remain competitive into the future. Digital transformation is taking place. If you want to embrace change, embrace it with Cloudalize.
Editors Note: *Cloudalize is under NDA with the client concerned not to mention its name in any external communication. For this reason, the name has been modified to “MC Fabrication”. This was a required in order to communicate about its internal processes.
Author: Benny Willen
- Starita, L. (19 February 2020) 6 Outdated Ideas That Harm Your Digital Business, Available at: https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/6-outdated-ideas-that-harm-your-digital-business/ (Accessed: 10 June 2020).
- Tom Schmidt (June 2020) Successful Digital Transformation Begins with a Cultural Transformation, Available at: https://www.cio.com/article/3402022/successful-digital-transformation-begins-with-a-cultural-transformation.html (Accessed: 24 June 2020)
- Bucy, M, Finlayson, A., Kelly, G., Moye, C. (9 April 2016) The ‘how’ of transformation, Available at: https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/6-outdated-ideas-that-harm-your-digital-business/ (Accessed: 10 June 2020).
- Morgan, B. (30 September 2019) Companies That Failed At Digital Transformation And What We Can Learn From Them, Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2019/09/30/companies-that-failed-at-digital-transformation-and-what-we-can-learn-from-them/#7eb3332a603c (Accessed: 10 June 2020)