Which Industries Are the Most Digital, and Why?

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Harvard Business Review recently wrote about Which Industries Are the Most Digital (and Why)?, drawing on research performed by McKinsey:

Recent research from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) looked at the state of digitization in sectors across the U.S. economy and found a large and growing gap between sectors, and between companies within those sectors. The most digital companies see outsized growth in productivity and profit margins. But what are the key attributes of a digital leader? And how can companies benchmark themselves against competitors? We looked at 27 indicators that fall into three broad categories: digital assets, digital usage, and digital workers. Our research shows that the latter two categories make the crucial difference.

Digital assets across the entire economy doubled over the past 15 years, as firms invested not just in IT but in digitizing their physical assets. Digital usage in the form of transactions, customer and supplier interactions, and internal business processes, grew almost fivefold — and over the entire period, the leading sectors maintained an enormous lead in usage over everyone else. But the biggest differentiator of all comes from having a digitally empowered workforce. Over the past two decades, the leading sectors’ performance on various digital labor metrics — such as the share of tasks involving digital tools and the number of new digital occupations — rose eightfold, while the rest of the economy barely ran in place.

The resulting Industry Digitization Index shows that there are huge gaps between industries:

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Not surprisingly, large traditional industrial sectors such as oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and mining are only partially digitized, and a large opportunity remains to digitize remaining huge swaths of these businesses.

Construction stands out as industry that is amongst the least digitized — second only to agriculture and hunting.

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Is it any surprise then that labor productivity in the construction industry has remained flat for the past two decades, whereas productivity in manufacturing has nearly doubled?

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Here is the Catch:

What is often missing in research and reports such as these, is that companies in traditional sectors of the economy face significant barriers to digitizing work:

For example, in industries such as oil and gas, mining and construction:

  1. Employees work on highly remote sites, often with no internet connectivity (or intermittent connectivity)
  2. They need to constantly move around to manage complex physical assets and equipment that are dispersed across these large sites — using complex engineered procedures
  3. They are using extensive safety equipment and hazard-proof workwear — they can’t just whip out their smartphone whenever they wish.
  4. A lot of sites are at high risk of accidental ignition of flammable gasses and liquids, and therefore only allow intrinsically safe computing devices — like specialized ruggedized Windows tablets.

Therefore, in these industries, while the opportunities for increasing productivity through digitization are huge, so are the practical challenges that need to be surmounted.

Fortunately, JourneyApps has specifically focused on solving this problem for industrial companies — we have designed a technology platform and service purpose-built for industrial companies to build custom Connected Worker apps.

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JourneyApps solves many of these practical problems that industrial companies face:

  1. We offer the most powerful offline & degraded connectivity data sync capabilities, even when there is no network on a remote site.
  2. We have built-in support for asset tracking technologies (RFID, NFC and sensor & measurement integration)
  3. All of our platform-built apps are natively cross-platform, which means apps can run on all Windows devices without any issues.
  4. Our user interface capabilities and user experience are specifically designed for industrial workers in the field.
  5. And much more

Our customers use our platform to create custom Connected Worker apps for the highly demanding but critical business processes that they need to execute in the field, such as Job Reporting, Field Ticketing, Incident Reporting, Equipment Inspections, Inventory Tracking, Timesheets, Equipment Management, Site Material Management, Safety Checks, Plant Walkdowns, Repair Reports, and many more.

Contact us today to learn how JourneyApps can help you overcome the barriers in turning your disconnected workers into Connected Workers


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