Digital Transformation – Engineered for Success

Engineering and manufacturing are industries that have been on one of the longest journeys with digital transformation and it shows no sign of reaching an end point. The journey commenced in the 1960’s with the advent of CAD software and the IBM Drafting System. Initially it was the privilege of large corporations in the automotive, aerospace and electronics industries due to the cost of the computers capable of performing the calculations. The rapid increase in computing capabilities along with the decrease in its costs (Moore’s Law) has enabled CAD and other systems to become the norm for the masses and transform the speed and expectation for design and manufacturing:

  • CAD has moved from simple 2D to 3D, 3D Solid Modelling and to 4D BIM
  • The technical requirements have moved from being exclusive to specific platforms and suppliers to being available on multiple non-exclusive platforms like Windows, Linux, UNIX and Mac OS X
  • Whilst computing platforms and hardware are no longer exclusive there is a substantial requirement for computing power to perform graphically and computationally intensive tasks. High speed CPUs, graphics cards and large RAM are minimum requirements
  • It is also moving from a substantial singular purchase to being Software as a Service (SaaS) as well as moving from residing on local technology to Cloud based
  • Due to the transferability of information an increased requirement to protect information and specifically intellectual property

Whilst these developments provide substantial opportunity they have also increased in their complexity as they are now required to feed data into new systems and processes such as:

  • 3D print devices to provide rapid prototyping and manufacturing
  • Moving from just a bill of materials to process integrating into just in time automated manufacturing systems
  • Collabotative design as projects increase in size and customers look to source not only locally but for the latest innovations in the individual elements of their projects requirements, wherever they may be in the world
  • Multifaceted project management requiring the linking of all engineering, manufacturing and project management systems to ensure optimal documentation/version controlling in real time to minimize production wastage

Add to all this the inevitable cash flow issues around progressive project payment based on key timelines and milestones and your technology planning and implementation can’t be left to chance with only a break/fix outcome, it needs to be engineered for success.

At Pivotal Group, we work with engineering and manufacturing companies to ensure their technology infrastructure matches not only their day-to-day requirements but is also supported by a future technology roadmap for proactive change.

A recent example is a Hunter region engineering firm that were already a customer of Pivotal for managed print services but not yet IT Services. They raised a number of issues that were concerning for them about their IT Services supplier:

  • Services were being provided only with a break/fix mentality. A resulting problem is that there was knee jerk quoting to resolve technology problems which was not achieving optimal cost control
  • All IT issues had to be routed through a single internal staff member to the supplier. With 25 staff this created inappropriate delays and work load
  • Key technology had no plan for proactive upgrading
  • Due to the nature of some projects there were requirements to move key technologies to the Cloud
  • A lack of account management with only reactive contact resulting in a belief they were not getting what they were paying for

 

As a result of this Pivotal Group undertook discussions with key stakeholders. Our aim was:

  • to understand the direction their industry is heading and the key objectives within their business plan
  • to understand the key processes within the business and what best practice would look like. This may bear little relationship to how things are currently being done. The objective was to identify the gap between current and the required future state
  • to understand the implication of capital expenditure within the core business objectives

We then gained approval to conduct our Network Discovery Audit to determine the current state of the IT infrastructure and its ability to support both the current and future state. The audit determined that:

  • key IT infrastructure items were at their performance limit increasing the potential for system failure
  • there were scheduled back-ups that were not successfully completed to an appropriate standard increasing the risk and cost of having to reconstruct lost work resulting from a system failure
  • a number of redundant servers were identified that had not been decommissioned to save on support and licensing costs
  • due to poor password policies the business was vulnerable to data breaches
  • core computers and infrastructure were dated and thus providing a lower performance level than required to meet core business objectives around on time project delivery
  • the business had limited mobility caused by aging technology that would not cope with providing current services and workflows via the Cloud
  • there was no future plan in place to update aging technology
  • it was confirmed that the current provider’s costs was not in balance to the services being provided

After discussions of the findings of the Network Discovery Audit Pivotal Group was appointed as their Technology Partner. A collaborative IT Strategy Plan was completed covering short and long term requirements:

  • Short Term
    • Redundant servers were decommissioned
    • New servers were deployed to replace any aging servers to ensure system performance to agree standards
    • Internet capability was upgraded to meet the agreed service delivery levels
    • Help Desk support was revised to allow direct contact by users to alleviate bottlenecks and reduce resolution time
    • The Managed Print Services contract was reconfigured to include the Managed IT Services agreement resulting into a single plan and invoice
    • These initiative resulted in a 50% reduction vs total previous monthly costs with no capital outlay for all hardware provided
  • Long Term
    • Phase 1 – upgrade of staff resources and key infrastructure
    • Phase 2 – development of key business process improvements utilizing technology to improve the business’s mobility, efficiency and security
    • Implementing a regular technology meeting to review current system performance and proactive identification of issues, action plans and review strategic plan implementation

 

So whether you need to simply refresh obsolete Print or IT hardware, require some technology guidance or remove significant IT related costs (or need anything in between) Pivotal Group can help you leverage the Digital Disruption wave and allow you to focus on more important things such as growing your business.

The Pivotal Group

The Pivotal Group has over 40 years experience in servicing the technology needs of businesses in the Newcastle, Central Coast, Hunter, New England and Port Macquarie regions of NSW.  Our expertise covers Managed Print Services, Business Process Design, IT Technology supply and support, Collaborative Conferencing and Digital POS Systems.

 

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