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Digitalization among key future trends in lubricants industry. Are we ready?

At the opening of the Annual Congress of the European Lubricants Industry (UEIL) yesterday in Bologna, Italy, Christine Fuchs, head of global research and development at Fuchs Petrolub SE, identified digitalization as one of four major trends in the global lubricants industry. Fuchs Petrolub has a global footprint, with 57 affiliates in all continents with a total turnover of EUR2.3 billion (USD2.7 billion) last year.

However, a recent survey of Information Technology (IT) and Operations decision makers by GE in the United States highlighted an emerging gap between executive outlook for digital transformation and initiatives companies have put in place.

The survey of Information Technology (IT) and Operations decision makers showed that while companies see the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) as presenting significant opportunities for future growth and competitiveness, the vast majority are not taking the actions required to benefit from those opportunities.

The research, commissioned by GE Digital, was conducted between September 20, 2017 and October 16, 2017 and included a survey of 250 IT and Operations decision makers in the U.S. across five industries (manufacturing, utilities, power/energy and transportation and aviation/aerospace), as well as in-depth interviews with C-level executives (CEOs, CIOs, CDOs and COOs) in each of those five industries.

โ€œThe Industrial Internet is already having a profound impact on industrial companies of all sizes. We know this because we are seeing real benefits with our customers and across GE,โ€ said Bill Ruh, CEO, GE Digital. โ€œAt the same time, a gap is emerging between outlook for the IIoT and actions. We are working to close that gap by partnering with customers to accelerate change and guide companies of all sizes along their digital journeys.โ€

According to the study, optimism among industry executives for the potential of the Industrial Internet is striking. Eighty percent believe the IIoT will or could be transformational to their companies and industries. Even more consider digital industrial transformation to be important to their competitiveness. At the same time, only 8% of those executives say digital transformation is ingrained in their businesses, and 10% do not have a digital transformation plan in place.

Based on the research study, GE created the GE Digital Industrial Evolution Index to track the real progress of digital transformation โ€“ from outlook on the IIoT to readiness to transform. The inaugural Index reflects a total score of 63 on a scale of 100 and indicates that while outlook for the Industrial Internet is very strong, scoring 78.3 (out of 100), company readiness significantly lags, scoring 55.2 (out of 100).

This disconnect โ€“ between outlook and company readiness โ€“ presents both a challenge and opportunity for companies seeking to benefit from the IIoT, GE said. The industrial world is complex and creates a unique set of technology challenges. IIoT requires multiple technologies โ€“ connectivity, control systems, cloud computing, data ingestion and management, analytics and machine learning, security, data governance โ€“ across a variety of different users and scenarios.

GE Digital is applying its expertise and experience to make the IIoT more accessible, actionable and impactful for companies of all sizes โ€“ providing a blueprint they can adapt to get more out of their industrial assets, measure return on investment (ROI) and improve business returns.