Dec 17, 2020

Using ‘lighthouse’ projects to accelerate DX

Michael Chalmers
3 min
Using ‘lighthouse’ projects to accelerate digital transformation
Michael Chalmers on how organisations can use lighthouse projects foster the confidence to innovate in 2021...

Innovation is desperately needed in 2021. While many companies have risen to the challenges of this year, adopting public cloud and implementing work-from-home technologies, it’s clear that they have a long way to go yet. “77 per cent of organisations are in the cloud” says Michael Chalmers, MD EMEA at transformation consultancy Contino. “But only 13 per cent have a fully-fledged public cloud program, according to Contino’s new research. Many business leaders have told us they are stuck in the proof-of-concept or planning stages for their cloud programmes.”

“Yet the time for data-sharing, collaborative working and silo destruction is right now, as companies face unprecedented disruption. The technological hesitancy we’re seeing from organisations is worrying as we head into 2021 and a new working world, in which only the most flexible, adaptable companies will thrive.”

Chalmers thinks digital transformation is as much about the attitude of teams as it is about the technology available to them. “Digital transformation seems like a Herculean task for many organisations. From keeping up with disruptive start-ups and ever-shifting customer expectations, confronting fierce global competitors, and navigating a pandemic while dealing with critical skills shortages – the challenges are big.”

But in his experience, it’s confidence that really opens the door to making the right changes: “While working with enterprises across the world, we’ve seen how teams are searching for statistical, bona fide proof. Change is always going to feel uncomfortable, but when a necessary transformation – for instance, the shift to a serverless platform to cope with rapidly scaling customer demand – can be proven on a small scale, business leaders and their teams immediately have the sparkling proof of concept they need to take confident next steps and scale it up.”

“This is the essence of a lighthouse project,” explains Chalmers. “At a time when companies must innovate or risk becoming irrelevant as the pandemic subsides, these small projects provide a vital beacon, showing the right direction for innovation. They provide the strongest of starts for getting innovative solutions scaled across the business at lightning fast speeds.”

“For instance, our work with NAB, one of Australia’s biggest banks, began with a lighthouse project to demonstrate the benefits of the public cloud”, he says. “Its success lit the way, providing a strong mandate for moving the existing cloud program forward with huge momentum. We ended up migrating 30 apps to the public cloud in 50 days.”

Lighthouse projects provide the impetus for a fast and efficient digital transformation, but the sign of a truly great project is sustainability. “Business leaders also want to see that their teams can handle the technological requirements of these transformations,” adds Chalmers. “Outsourced teams responsible for kickstarting the small-scale demonstration must share their knowledge and skills with businesses, to ensure they are self-sufficient going forward. Upskilling is a vital part of the innovation that we hope to see blossoming in 2021.” 

Economic and social disruption have always been an opportunity for innovation – from the world wars, to the financial crash of 2008, which saw companies like Netflix rise from the ashes with innovative ideas to boot. But for organisations coping with the fallout of Covid, this revival doesn’t need to feel like an insurmountable task. “Many companies have what it takes for effective innovation in 2021: they’re in the cloud, and they recognise the need to better their offerings to customers thanks to Covid’s illumination of insufficient processes. Now, all they need is to fan the flame of an initial spark of innovation. Once it begins to burn and is allowed to spread, the entire enterprise will benefit from its warmth.”

Michael Chalmers is MD EMEA at Contino

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Jul 27, 2021

Vodafone report: 5G could add £6.3bn to UK manufacturing by

edge computing
2 min
manufacturing 5G Vodafone
A new report from Vodafone suggests that 5G could add as much as £6.3bn to UK manufacturing by 2030

A new report from Vodafone suggests that 5G could add as much as £6.3bn to UK manufacturing by 2030.

The report – Powering Up Manufacturing, Levelling Up Britain – employed economic analysis from WPI Economics to scope 5G’s impact on the manufacturing sector nationally.

Boost for 5G adoption

Vodafone’s paper calls on government to set ambitious targets for 5G adoption in manufacturing over the coming decade, including support for industry to invest in private 5G networks and 5G testing and innovation centres with a view to harnessing the benefits of IoT and edge computing in manufacturing.

Key areas of the report

  • Wirelessly connected factories with bespoke 5G mobile private networks (MPNs) can support the sharing of large quantities of data from thousands of devices simultaneously in real time, enabling better and faster decision making, facilitating machine learning and allowing processes to be adapted to maximise productivity.
  • 5G allows for predictive maintenance. This means monitoring hundreds of variables, forecasting when and where repairs will be needed and avoiding expensive unplanned downtime.
  • 5G-supported Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technology can be used to visualise and plan designs in detail prior to the construction of physical prototypes. This will help workers to maintain and repair failed machinery and enable workers to be trained with less direct use of expensive physical machinery. 5G-supported AR and VR technology can also connect workers on a factory floor with engineers and designers located elsewhere, enabling them to access technical expertise without costly and time-consuming site visits.
manufacturing 5G Vodafone

Beginning the 5G journey

Anne Sheehan, Business Director, Vodafone said: “We are only beginning the 5G journey, but through our work with Ford, we know it offers huge potential for the manufacturing sector and beyond.

“To realise this potential, we need to all get behind it, from Government and Ofcom creating the right policy and regulatory environment, through to businesses embracing the power of innovation, and, of course, us as network operators creating this network of the future.”

Minister for Digital Infrastructure Matt Warman said: “5G can change the way Britain builds and we’ve sparked a wave of innovation in UK manufacturing through our £200m 5G trials scheme.

“We’ve seen driverless vehicles at Nissan’s Sunderland plant, VR at BAM Nutall building sites in Scotland and Vodafone boosting laser-welding robots in Essex.

“The benefits of 5G for improving productivity, efficiency and safety in our manufacturing sector and beyond are clear, and Vodafone’s report is a ringing endorsement of how this revolutionary technology can help us build back better from the pandemic.”

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