Change Management: A Deciding Factor For Your Project’s Success
Published on: Nov 24, 2021

The industrial space is hungry for data. And for good reasons. Implementing new technology is the way to achieve that, and many companies have picked up on that recently. They make use of open, flexible, powerful platforms like Ignition to connect their systems, digitalise their processes, and get and present data in a meaningful way. 

That sounds amazing, right? 

It is, but as companies move forward with implementing new technology, they lose their focus on the things that TRULY matter – or that are truly impacted.

Because the truth is… nobody really cares about technology

Well, they do care, because it’s fascinating. But nobody should care about technology ONLY. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Technology is just the beginning. Beyond it, there lies a whole new situation you have to deal with because it will disrupt your entire organisation: change management. 

Yes, that’s right. Even in this machine-focused Industry 4.0. era, it’s still all about people. It was never about technology.

Let me elaborate on that. 

Data is useless

Industry 4.0. has brought with it an intense desire for data – not only because leaders have figured out that it’s an incredible opportunity for growth, but because new technology has made it more available than ever. 

Until not too long ago, companies settled for collecting and presenting data as well as they could, but it was never truly meaningful because it was scattered, incomplete, and downright useless.

This PDP (physical-to-digital-to-physical) loop from Deloitte showcases the exact goal you should focus on reaching: get data from the physical world (your systems and devices), collect it in a digital space (preferably, all in one place on a platform like Ignition), and analyse and present it in a way that inspires action back in the physical world.

Well, companies have been lacking when it came to the last step: generate movement (taking data-driven action). 

If you don’t have the systems and processes in place, talking to each other, and giving you the exact real-time data you need, you’re just bleeding money with no real ROI. On top of that, you have nothing to show to your team to empower them to make better, more strategic data-informed decisions. Hence, the lack of “movement”, as Deloitte calls it.

Now, organisations WANT to strengthen the movement part, but they miss the processes for that and overlook the implications all of it has on the people and on the organisation.

Here’s a solution.

Today, the goal is to get a holistic view of your organisation from the plant floor to the enterprise level for EVERYONE involved. It promotes a mindset of transparency, communication, teamwork, belonging, and data-driven decisions. 

That’s why you should focus on building and nurturing a network, an ECOSYSTEM. 

Because get this: want it or not, once you implement new technology, change is in motion in every aspect of your business, just like the impact on a node affects the entire network.

Typically, it goes: technology -> behaviour -> culture -> politics. 

And if you’re not aware of that, you can’t use it to your company’s advantage, and you’ll lose a lot of great opportunities to take your success to the next level. 

So, yes – get that fancy industrial solution, get that valuable data, but don’t get stuck there. 

Embrace the organisational changes that come with it, and bring together employees to harness the powers of the technology to create and nurture growth. But remember: you have to listen to people and be empathetic in order to guide them through these changes. Not everyone will be as enthusiastic as you, so you’ll have different mindsets to handle.

Change is deeper than you think

The finished product has enabled a complete positive change in culture/mindset where decisions are now being made using data and not just feel or assumption.

IT Professional in a manufacturing company 

This is the core of this blog post, and the message we want to convey. 

Putting technology at the core of your operation will, indeed, change the way your systems and processes work, but it will also inevitably change the way you do business, the way employees behave, and the overall culture of your organisation. 

When companies try to implement new things, they overlook the change management aspects: 

  • The need for a new mindset focused on using data to deliver better products/services, 
  • Training the employees to leverage the new technology’s strengths (and the psychological impact that has on them), 
  • Navigating the reluctance to change and the loss aversion.

…and how all of this translates into new characteristics of the culture and new policies.

All of these are an important part of your initiative’s success.

Here’s a story that can paint a clearer picture for you: 

You get rid of your old, limited SCADA, and you implement Ignition SCADA, or, the way Inductive Automation calls it, “The New SCADA”. 

What does New SCADA mean? SCADA (Supervisory, Control, and Data Acquisition) is a cornerstone in many organisations, and Ignition ups the game by moving towards open standards and architecture, along with an attractive licensing model.

The daily users of a SCADA system will love the openness of Ignition along with the technical opportunities. They’ll be super happy with their new toy – it has an intuitive front-end, it shows them the exact data they want, they can create reports, everything is automated, their life and work are just easier. 

The folks responsible for budgets will appreciate the different and attractive licensing model. 

But that’s not where it stops. When you integrate Ignition and access the plethora of technical opportunities, other things will also change. 

Once you’ve given these people new technology, you’ve changed the way they were doing their job, the way they were EXPECTED to do it, the way they were thinking about it, and the focus of their daily tasks. 

You eliminated a lot of tedious, complicated stuff, and you empowered them to be more open, creative, and data-driven. 

They’ll probably talk to their colleagues about their new fun way of doing their job because it’s so much more efficient. Their colleagues will then want something similar to work smarter and make their life easier.

And this chain reaction will gradually change your organisation’s behaviour, culture, and politics. If you handle it well, you’ll unlock a whole new operational and organisational excellence.

Final thoughts

Introducing technologies like Ignition’s New SCADA or any other powerful tool like that will inevitably lead to a change in the behaviour of its users. Which, in turn, will lead to a shift in culture in general in your organisation. 

Implementing technology for technology’s sake makes little sense. The aim must be to improve things in general. Hence, there must be a focus on implementing new and more efficient processes along the way.

 The question is: are you ready to follow through and implement the necessary management changes as well?

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