INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH
INTERVIEW WITH MR. SUMIT DUTTAGUPTA,
Group CIO and Head Information Systems,
Haldia Petrochemicals Limited.
The term digital transformation has different connotations for different enterprises. What is your view of digital transformation? Do you believe that the term ‘digital’ itself has evolved in the past few years, and if so how?
The COVID-19 pandemic has completely disrupted the business scenario and established a new normal in conducting our business. A new normal business model is getting evolved and in some business scenarios it is getting in shape. The business-technology landscape across the world is also changing with more emphasis on Cloud and mobile based technology. To stay relevant in today’s changing business scenarios and stay functional and productive, businesses must navigate the operational and financial challenges, while rapidly addressing the needs of their customers, suppliers, and people. The role of Digital Transformation and Digitalization across an enterprise value scenario is key to success.
How have enterprises leveraged digital for business performance?
In the current situation, enterprise technology leaders will have to display strong leadership abilities and commitment to drive the digital journey with positive business outcomes. A technology leader should exhibit leadership attributes such as resiliency, pro-activeness, teamwork and lead the business from the front in a more collaborative way. An enterprise technology decision maker will also have to set up forward looking IT resiliency team with Digital Dashboards across functions, ensure there is a seamless information exchange across stakeholders and in essence make all stakeholders feel confident to adapt more of the digital solution in day to day life including work from home scenario. This also calls for a strong cyber security framework, be proactive about phishing scams, and above all leverage data in a secured way to emerge as ‘Data Centric’ organization.
What are some good practices to build an agile and effective digital strategy?
Digitalization as a whole has helped and is helping organizations to tide over the present business disruption due to COVID 19. The way we run and do our business from brick & mortar framework is getting challenged. The Digital framework whereby the companies right from Sales to Production and handling logistics is getting impacted with the emergence of Digital Marketing and CRM, industry 4.0 initiatives in manufacturing and GPS based tracking are some of the key examples. The Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in a lot of business function is driving contactless process and thereby increasing the operational efficiencies of the business. The predictive technology is proving to be a game changer in the way to see and run the business. One of the key benefits in the manufacturing industry is the prediction of early events leading to less downtime of critical equipments and thus improving productivity and yield. Technology has also enabled remote monitoring of the plants and has also pushed collaboration among stakeholders to a different level ensuring seamless operations with improved reliability and operational efficiency. Technology has also enabled new business model like Financial or HR Shared services across group companies and large organizations. The Digital chain of seamless information flow across the organization right from PLANT to BOARDROOM is an important milestone achieved.
There are several examples of lots of digital transformation initiatives failing. Is there any ‘rule book’ or equivalent that when followed increases the chances of success?
The Digital Transformation initiatives have to be business driven and should be led by top management with a commitment that change has to be imbibed by people across the board both internal and external.
The value Creation should be across 3 pillars through Digital:
- Core – Digitalize the Core – Apply existing use cases and digitalize business processes.
- Expand Value Chain – Expand business into adjacent industries (e.g., creation of marketplaces)
- Step Out – Identify future growth businesses/services through start-up, CVC etc.
Adopting the triple transformation philosophy for digital innovation to lead to sustainable performance
- Business Transformation – Focus on where the real impact comes from mainly applied to “new operational excellence” eg “Product margin improvement” – Don’t start with vendors or IT solutions: identify business priorities with a customer back logic.
- Organization Transformation – Develop a new way of working aligned to digital (Rapid, flexible agile way of working) – Build digitally capable organization (new roles, skills upgrades & awareness)
- Technology Transformation – Focussing on cool & fancy apps and solutions is a shortcut to failed digital innovation – In order to achieve sustainable performance via digital technology, it must be combined with business/organization transformation.
Could you please detail a few key digital initiatives that you led at Haldia petrochemicals and what kind of business impact these have delivered?
Our vision for Digital Transformation is to be a trusted business partner who is agile, innovative and shift business decisions from reactive to proactive, to predictive, and ideally to automated prescriptive.
The basic premise of having real time visibility across the enterprise with information flow from sensor to the board room is driving the Digital Platform execution in HPL
- What … is the current status of my business?
- When … something is wrong am I deviating from the plan?
- Where… are my production and operational challenges?
- Why… is there a challenge and what is the root cause analysis, troubleshooting, etc?
- How… can we reduce the impact and solve the problem, prevent problems from occurring?
The Approach is being implemented in Two waves running in series or parallel:
First wave is to find the inherent gaps in the form of manual processes still running or gaps in information capture of existing systems and automating the same to improve the Safety, Reliability and Operational efficiency of the plant.
Some of the initiatives to be initiated in parallel as we start our digital information platform execution:
- Seamless capture of process data in Historian without any data loss and enhanced data integrity and reliability.
- Introduction of smart sensors in selected production assets to do a POC (Proof of Concept) for IOT and Edge Computing.
- Deployment of Alarm Management System to provide Analytical support for Alarm Performance and Rationalization
- To ensure safe production, automated Operator’s Log Book to capture electronically operator’s log and instructions and enable Digital Monitoring of Key KPI’s.
- To improve safety & reliability, automated the work permit process through an integrated solution approach of (e-Permit + Risk & Barrier Management + Mobile Isolation Management) through Global best in class product.
- To improve Operator’s Driven Reliability through Mobile automation of Operator’s Field rounds, Maintenance LLF rounds and Safety Audit Round
- To reduce operational risk and improve safety implement an integrated solution of Incident Management + Root Cause Analysis + Management of change.
- Building a sound cybersecurity compliant OPC interface between OT and IT layer specific data transfer through Process Historian
- Building solutions for Scenario Planning, Sales & Operations Planning with the trade-off between customer response times, production efficiency and inventory with accurate demand forecasts and make delivery promises with confidence.
- Ensure efficient and timely delivery – through efficient management of inventory levels which will require optimization of the supply chain as a whole including your global distribution network.
- Business Transformation through SAP Cloud Solution deployment line SAP ARIBA, SAP SF to automate and provide transparency in Procurement and Human Resource processes
- Implemented Shared Service Framework in Finance to optimize the F&A operations
Second wave is to start in parallel with first for implementing Performance Analytics by deploying Performance Management Solution (PMS) across the enterprise cutting across all functions:
- Deploy a best in class PMS solution to build the Enterprise wide repository of KPI Management and visualization by deploying Role Based Dashboards, Asset Based Information Model and Automated Reports (Control Room to Board) with a Common UI/UX across all functions
- Deploy Data Lake and Analytics solution as an integrated bolt in solution to PMS architecture.
- Work towards deploying or building Predictive Solution for Asset and Process by detecting Early events.
- Start interfacing workshops to identify automation process for support functions which can integrate Planning to Production value chain with seamless data interchange along with other support functions of trading, marketing, purchase and finance.
- Predictive use case identification across all value chains and work out a structured plan to implement the same in the digital platform.
- Establish the Prescriptive Analytics framework within analytics framework tightly integrated with PMS Solution.