As the Head of Chemical Industry at Siemens (GB & I), Ian Elsby brought some incredibly valuable conversation. Josh and Ian sat down and discussed all things digital transformation, including how to get the environment right for digital change and why some businesses might be reluctant to make the leap.
Prior to his nine years of experience working at Siemens, Ian has a varied background providing him with a wealth of knowledge concerning the future of engineering, manufacturing and the chemical industry. His role at Siemens involves providing support to the chemical industry with thought leadership, driving digital solutions into the field with a view to influencing their digitalisation process.
As both Ian and Josh acknowledge in the episode, traditional industries are much slower to adopt digital change as a result of legacy systems, skills gaps and skewed perceptions of what it means to go through a digital transformation.
Ian gave us his insights into how what it means to Siemens to digitalise, explaining the process is two-fold:
Data Evolution — Traditional industries have been acquiring data but not necessarily making the best use of it. Businesses need to put value and insight around data to enable customers to make decisions about how to improve their processes.
Tech Revolution — Revolutionising the technology we use is key to transforming output. New products are emerging at a fast rate and can be used by industry to derive progress in the future.
Ian and Josh also talked through the impact these changes can have on any organisation, particularly how the people will be affected. Whilst a common assumption remains that digitalisation means replacing workers with robots, Ian suggests that the result is quite the opposite.
‘The perception that digitalisation and automation will take away people’s jobs is very common. Robotics takes away the repetitive tasks, giving individuals the opportunity for redeployment onto higher-value tasks.’
He also expresses how crucial it is that the right leadership team is put in place to deliver such changes with a positive outlook, something we also encourage at J B Cole as a business providing people-first technology:
‘Digital transformation cannot happen without strong leadership, there’s got to be knowledge and skills at the leadership level to then drive the change throughout the business.’
For more interesting thoughts from Ian on digital transformation, check out our latest episode now.
Thanks for reading and we’ll see you again soon for the arrival of our next episode where we’ll be interviewing another thought leader innovating in their industry.