Manufacturer's Digital Transformation projects held back by poor collaboration and skills deficit

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The skills gap and lack of collaboration between IT and organisations' lines of business are the main factors hindering digital transformation in the manufacturing industry. This is according to a new study by open-source pioneer Alfresco Software, provider of content management and process automation, and Forbes Insights.

The report "The Great Rethink: How Digital Leaders Are Building Tomorrow's Organizations" revealed that 40% of manufacturing senior decision makers see the skills gap as the biggest challenge to moving their business forward in the digital economy. In addition, a third (33%) indicate that the lack of collaboration between IT and their lines of business present a stumbling block to digitisation. If manufacturers are to realise the full value and impact of digital transformation, a new approach is required.

John Newton, CTO and Founder at Alfresco Software said, "While the skills gap in manufacturing is more severe compared to other industries, with two thirds of UK manufacturers concerned about the lack of availability of skilled people, it is not insurmountable. Rather, manufacturers should look at how digital transformation initiatives can deliver real impact across the value chain, including employees, partners and suppliers, enabling better collaboration and knowledge sharing. Looking ahead at how they can innovate with new business model approaches and leveraging the latest technology."

Industry 4.0 is the mantra for manufacturing today, automating data and processes and adopting technologies to support this, with which digital transformation comes in hand-in-hand. In fact, the majority (91%) of respondents acknowledge that digital transformation may require fundamental changes to their business model. While successful initiatives are driven from the top, with CIOs owning and driving the digital transformation strategy, according to 71 percent of manufacturers, more than any other industry surveyed.

In today's global digital economy, manufacturers are also keenly aware that they have be more agile, with 44% aiming to simplify or modernise their IT infrastructure and applications to achieve growth. In fact, eight out of ten (84%) value agility over cost savings that digital transformation initiatives bring and three quarters (78%) expect to launch new products and services faster as a result.

"The digital economy favours those who consistently demonstrate agility and do things differently. The flexible, digitised manufacturer will invest in technologies, including open source platforms, to create value across the extended enterprise and in the process, deliver on real business of innovation, revenue growth and customer satisfaction," concluded Newton.

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