GE’s Digital Industrial Evolution Index shows there is a long way to go for IIoT benefits

How big a difference is there between what is possible with the Industrial Internet and what is being done now; and what changes need to take place in order for organisations to close the gap?

These are the questions General Electric (GE) has attempted to answer in its first Digital Industrial Evolution Index, published this week. The index aims to track the real progress of digital transformation, and gives a total score of 63.0 out of 100.

It’s a meaningless number out of context, of course, so let’s give it some. The research analyses five industries – aviation, manufacturing, power and energy, transportation and utilities – across five areas, including outlook and potential, workforce and company readiness.

Manufacturing came out on top with an overall index of 66.1, and the highest outlook (81.3) and workforce readiness (69.6) scores. The average score for outlook across all five industries was 78.3, with workforce readiness at 63.4 and company readiness at 55.2.

In other words, companies are not as ready as they need to be for changes ahead. For the manufacturing sector, automating processes was seen as the biggest benefit, cited by 84% of survey respondents. The results show multiple benefits; improving profitability was cited by 80% of respondents, while higher quality services, driving growth, increasing productivity and increasing operating efficiency were all separately cited by 78%. There were similar results across the board, except for utilities, whose most popular – improving existing business processes – was cited by 66% of those polled.

When it came to barriers, investment costs (42% average across all industries) were the leading barrier to digital transformation, ahead of system security (32%) and data privacy (32%). To enable a changing ecosystem, two thirds of all respondents believe data analysts will need to be integrated into all departments and units, while 55% say their companies are responsible for ensuring the workforce is ready for the Industrial Internet.

“The Industrial Internet is already having a profound impact on industrial companies of all sizes,” said Bill Ruh, CEO of GE Digital. “We know this because we are seeing real benefits with our customers and across GE.

“At the same time, a gap is emerging between outlook for the IIoT and actions,” added Ruh. “We are working to close that gap by partnering with customers to accelerate change and guide companies of all sizes along their digital journeys.”

You can read the full report here (pdf).

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