Has rapid digitalisation become a high enough priority for UK industry?Posted 7 Dec 2023
Thoughts from Digital Catapult’s 10 year anniversary discussions
2023 marks a decade of work to grow the UK’s economy and technology ecosystem. Two panel discussions during our 10th anniversary event reflected on Digital Catapult’s impact and examined the most pressing future challenges for the creative and manufacturing industries.
Geraldina Iraheta, Chief Commercial Officer at Digital Catapult, was joined by Kristin Baker, vice president of industrial and process automation at Schneider Electric, Dr Iain Percy OBE, Olympic champion and CEO of Artemis Technologies, and Buffy Price, interim CEO and co-founder of CarbonRE, to discuss “Has rapid digitalisation become a high enough priority for UK industry?”.
UK industry is adopting technology faster, but needs to leverage data better
After a tough few years for industry, and manufacturers specifically, digitalisation can help build the business case for decarbonisation, support training and development. There’s now also a faster return on investment. Various initiatives around industry 4.0 have been transformative but they are not leveraging data to its best advantage or in a consistent manner.
Barriers to adoption include net zero struggles, a reluctance to share data and poor change management
Many traditional industries are faced with a barrage of change – from net zero targets which can introduce much more complexity, to the use of alternative fuels – the while industrial process is now more unpredictable and harder to manage. There are also lots of digital solutions which industry struggles to prioritise. Digital transformation and change management go hand in hand.
More sharing of goals, projects and platforms is key to improving adoption
Collaborations happen when people know each other, when they’ve worked on common projects and had a joint result to feel proud of. If there were common platforms, there would be more learnings, more innovation and more room for collaboration.
Most companies haven’t yet moved beyond the bottom line
Does ROI take priority over innovation? Our panellists had plenty of thoughts on this subject. It seems that currently investment focuses on financial returns, and if the solution happens to be green, that’s a bonus.
But attitudes can change with the right help
Support from partners and investors that understand return on investment might take longer adds a lot of value.