Making the 4.0 Digital Transformation Through Application Modernization and Strategic Asset Management

The challenge may be great, but for many organizations, the 4.0 digital transformation proves necessary to modernize their applications and extend the lifespan of their equipment and facilities. Companies have every interest in protecting their assets, but they must also ensure their health and evolution through a change management project that is structured, rigorous and tailored to their needs. Ultimately, the adoption and implementation of such a strategy will benefit the company’s productivity. It will have a measurable impact on the company’s sustainability, and its initial investment will pay for itself.

The Business Case: A Decisive Step in the Success of an Application Modernization Project

The business case is the perfect opportunity to define the organization’s business plan and vision. More specifically, the business case takes the form of a document whose objective is to justify an investment, in time or money, in a new project. It essentially answers the questions “Who? Why? How Much? “and helps to produce an estimate of the return on investment in addition to measuring the reported benefits and projected costs. This exercise plays a fundamental role in forecasting organizational and resource requirements, risks, rationales, and strategy, and in drafting a project deployment plan. Once the business case has been completed, the organization will have a clear and precise picture of the measures to be taken to set its 4.0 transformation in motion.

Change Management: A Question of Maturity

It goes without saying that any major transformation impacts the corporate culture. To ensure the success of an application modernization project, it is important to measure the impact it will have on assets and mobilize the organization (management and operations) to move all players towards the same common goal.

Since aligning the modernization project with the business plan involves a change in culture, it is crucial to first identify the company’s stage of maturity and then plan its evolution in iterative phases. There are four (4) levels of maturity in which companies can find themselves:

  • Unstable: the company is in reactive mode, it is in crisis management.
  • Stable: the company faces occasional emergencies but has more control over its evolution.
  • Under control: the company sets up a plan to change standards in order to go a step further and exploit the potential of new avenues.
  • Optimised: the company as a whole is committed to reliability engineering and bringing its vision to life.

The key to the success of an application modernization project lies in launching it according to the company’s level of maturity while avoiding certain pitfalls, such as skipping steps to speed up the process or introducing tools and solutions at an inopportune moment.

The Game Plan: A Prerequisite for Maximizing the Potential for Success

The game plan describes how and in what sequence the application modernization and asset management project should proceed while maximizing the project’s potential for success. In order to ensure ownership of the game plan by all players, participatory workshops can be organized. These enable managers to ensure that they have the right people with the right level of experience at the head of the project. The game plan is also used to target benefits and efforts and bring them together to determine the right starting point for the project.

The game plan can take the form of a strategy deployed over a period of 3 to 5 years for large sites or a 100-day tactic for smaller sites. The implementation of milestones is crucial for the evolution of the project, as it identifies the bottlenecks hindering the rationalisation of the project.