UK manufacturers must take note of the focus on innovation following Sturgeon’s announcement

UK manufacturers must take note of the focus on innovation following Sturgeon’s announcement

Following the news that Nicola Sturgeon has committed to a centre of excellence for manufacturing in Scotland, manufacturers in the UK as a whole should take note of the focus on technology and innovation to increase growth and narrow the current skills gap.

Partho Bhattacharya, MD and President of Invenio, has commented on the importance of addressing new technologies to get ahead in manufacturing:

“With recent data from the Office for National Statistics having shown that UK industrial output suffered its sharpest monthly drop in three years, manufacturers need to constantly evolve operations to achieve growth. Nicola Sturgeon’s commitment to launching a manufacturing centre of excellence in Scotland is a great way to drive innovation and address the skills gap currently affecting the sector.

“In an increasingly volatile climate, manufacturing companies who do not utilise the advice and technology available to modernise operations will quickly fall behind. It is therefore reassuring to see that the Scottish Government is implementing a strategy for the manufacturing sector which focuses on working with companies to assess the benefits of new technologies, and encourage their take-up.

“Whilst this initiative is focussed on Scotland, manufacturers across the UK should always seek to achieve constant innovation, whether that’s driven internally or through partnering with third party experts. Whilst it’s not possible for centres of excellence to be launched everywhere in the UK, with the right knowledge and advice, expert partners can help manufacturers to utilise technology to drive efficiency and growth.”

To read the full article, please visit: http://www.manufacturingglobal.com/peopleskills/677/UK-manufacturers-must-take-note-of-the-focus-on-innovation-following-Sturgeons-announcement

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How technology can help manufacturers during a skills crisis

According to data released by the Automotive Council and SMMT today, the success of the UK manufacturing industry is being threatened by a lack of skills. Partho Bhattacharya, MD and President of Invenio, comments on how technology and innovation can help manufacturers maintain productivity and growth during a skills crisis:

“The data released today by the Automotive Council and SMMT demonstrates that the current success of the UK car manufacturing industry is hinging on a serious lack of skills. While upskilling the workforce and ensuring the right education is key and needs to be addressed quickly, this is not going to help manufacturers who are struggling right now. To maintain productivity and growth during a crisis, businesses need to look for alternatives and lean on third-party experts for guidance. With the right know-how concerning technology and innovation, manufacturers can help minimise the impact of these kinds of pressures.

“Implementing the right technology to drive efficiency within manufacturing organisations regardless of the skills challenges experienced is essential. By putting the right technology in place to manage R&D spend, improve visibility and enhance customer service, manufacturers can better equip themselves against resource or skills shortages. Intelligent use of data and analytics is also integral to future-proofing businesses against unexpected changes in industry. By tackling these issues head-on and ensuring technology plays an important role in driving operational efficiency, car manufacturers will be able to meet demand and remain competitive as it continues on its journey to upskill the future workforce.”

Five Reasons IT Projects Fail. Article by Partho Bhattacharya

Research suggests that large IT projects are at far greater risk of failure than smaller ones. McKinsey revealed that 17% of IT projects budgeted at $15 million or higher go so badly as to threaten the company’s existence, and more than 40% of them fail.

However, regardless of business size IT projects are failing everyday – some are big budget and high profile and make the headlines, others receive less attention, but can be equally damaging to those concerned. But why and what can you do to prevent failure?

parthoPartho Bhattacharya, MD & President, Invenio Business Solutions discusses the top five reasons why IT projects fail.

1. Devil is not in the detail…

The most important factor in success of a project (or failure) is top management commitment in the project (or lack of…). It’s not the operatives but the top management who need to have steadfast focus in seeing a project is successful.

Intel’s CIO, Kim Stevenson, recently commented, “There are no IT projects, only business projects”. Whilst we may become engrained in the day-to-day intricacy of delivering IT that works, we should never lose sight of the bigger picture and the impact of successful IT projects on the business as a whole.

In the digital, hyper-connected age, IT underpins all that we do within an organisation and therefore has the power to transform business processes from the ground up. This means you need buy in at all stages from a variety of stakeholders. Map who these individuals are and ensure that they are a part of the process from the beginning and that their needs and job function have been considered. IT has the power to transform businesses but only if the employees are part of the journey.

2. Project management, skills and experience

It’s no secret that smaller projects are easier to manage and control, but how can this be replicated into larger organisations to ensure the number of failing projects is reduced?

Having the right project manager and supporting PMO team in place is crucial. Too many managers and there’s likely to be conflicts and contradicting priorities, too little and resources will be stretched.

Ensuring project managers have the right skill sets for the role is also crucial. Great project managers will know how to bring together the right team of skilled individuals, and will be able to motivate and inspire even when the pressure is on. The same is true about the team members. The right skills in the right composition is key to project success. At Invenio, we are a team of dedicated SAP consultants so we can provide our customers with the expertise and insights they often don’t have internally – something they find invaluable.

3. Inaccurate timings

Timelines need to be realistic. We’re all familiar with the IT project that was required yesterday, so by setting realistic time scales at the outset – including buffers for testing phases – then projects will be more successful.

It’s better to get it right first time even if it does take slightly longer. Rushed projects can cause hassle down the line so it’s about planning and future proofing your investment to ensure results and success is for the long term.

4. Data & Interfacing

Often ignored at the start of the project is data that the new system needs to use. Often data from old systems is incomplete or inconsistent and this needs to be tackled from day one. Data cleansing is time consuming, tedious and sometimes just not compatible with the system. Too many good projects fail because of useless data that are input and ultimately make the system unusable. If you use the wrong fuel in a world class car, it will inevitably fail to start.

Touch points between systems are another trap often ignored. Interfaces need to tried and tested from both sides thoroughly. A faulty interface can often be the death trap for a good implementation.

5. Keep it real

During the planning and roll out of an IT project there are often unrealistic expectations around what will be delivered and when, by whom and for what reason. Along the journey too, there can be confusing or changing requirements.

Throughout the process, expectations need to be set and reassessed every step of the way to ensure there are no surprises. Total transparency between the partner and the customer is absolutely essential. Through building close relationships with suppliers they can become partners on this journey to ensure full visibility from day one. This will also allow a value added service to be provided.

Choosing a supplier that allows for flexible contracts will enable greater ability to adapt and change along the way, it makes the process easier and ensures projects are delivered as expected achieving the goals set out at the beginning.

Too many IT projects are failing unnecessarily, so businesses need to choose a partner that can best support the needs and requirements of the business. A partner who can ‘hold their hand’ through the early stages, minimise implementation drama, provide expertise and go above and beyond to make the project a success.

We can help

If you would like to comment or know more about anything mentioned in this article you can call our media contact Silviya Savova today on +44 (0)330 440 1800, or complete our online enquiry form for further information.

Top 3 IT Challenges to Delivering a Successful Big Data Solution

In a previous post we spoke about the anticipated growth in Big Data and Analytics over the next 5 years, according to research from the IDC. Continued on from this, here are the Top 3 IT Challenges that the IDC considers could hinder the success of a move Big Data and Analytics if not sufficiently addressed:

1. Lack of Sufficiently Skilled IT Staff and Cost of Technology
IT Directors today need to show a good return on investment from new technologies and so must have a very clear idea of what the business can achieve with Big Data. In addition, employing and maintaining the right skills in a highly competitive market also needs to be factored into the cost of embarking on a Big Data project and so, again, IT Executives must have a clear idea of these costs to assess the return (and indeed the viability) of Big Data.

2. Managing Data Quality
The information you get out of any system is only as good as the information you put in. Data quality problems usually arise because no one person is responsible for the complete “data picture”. Without a central custodian ensuring that all data, across all systems is correct, consistent and up to date, the quality of data can vary significantly from one system to another. Of course, this isn’t a problem that’s new to Big Data – but nevertheless it is an important point to consider when assessing the viability of a Big Data project.

3. Data Integration
Another age-old problem that IT functions will be very familiar with is that most organisational data is highly fragmented. This creates challenges at several levels when embarking on a data integration project of any nature: syntactic (how do we define a common format for our data?), semantic (what are the agreed definitions?) and political (who ‘owns’ the data?).

While the above factors do indeed pose a challenge to CIO’s, they are not insurmountable. Indeed, the benefits that Big Data offers will, for most organisations, considerably outweigh these challenges.

It is often quoted that some 90% of the data that exists today has been created in the last 6 years. This data explosion, combined with the rising sophistication of analytical tools and the speed offered by Big Data technologies, means companies should be addressing these challenges sooner rather than later to ensure they can maintain competitive advantage.

Next week we will be looking at the top ten verticals signing up for big data and analytics. Sign up to receive this next post straight to your inbox.