Roel de Backer is ICT Group’s Director of Industry and Infra. He is particularly proud of ICT Group’s (re)election as Best Digital Transformer of the Year in the Software, Development & Platforms/Enablers-Overall category. What does digital transformation mean for ICT Group and its customers?
“The fact that market developments are moving faster than ever before may be an understatement, but it is true. Between the first industrial revolution (18th century), the second technological revolution (19th century) and the third digital revolution (20th century), there were about 100 years each time. The fourth revolution came much faster (early 21st century) and the fifth is already on the way: the move towards fully automated processes that make their own intelligent decisions based on data they collect themselves.
What matters most to our customers is what this means for their business and for the world in which they operate. Our role is to support them in achieving this in the best possible way with the aim of improving business continuity and operational excellence. This election shows very clearly that we have a leading edge in terms of technology, but also that we know and understand our customers’ business. We have in-depth knowledge of everything that happens on the work floor, which industrial processes are needed, and how the various types of equipment need to be controlled.”
"This election shows very clearly that we have a leading edge in terms of technology, but also that we know and understand our customers’ business."
Roel de Backer, Director Industry and Infra
Breeding ground for digital transformation
“Digital transformation plays a huge role in this domain, but I want to stress that it’s not an end in itself. In fact, we are talking about industrial lifecycle management. What’s important is the insights with which we can optimise processes in the short term as well as in the long term, improve product quality and achieve cost efficiency.
Not only do we now have the right data, our data scientists and business analysts can also translate the data into relevant insights. For instance in order to reduce energy consumption or to reduce waste streams. Not all (large) companies are ready for this yet, sometimes the investment climate is still somewhat conservative, but you do see that they are giving it plenty of thought. I do expect this process to accelerate.
We want to play a pioneering role in this domain and think along with our customers. The best practices we are already developing are the breeding ground for the digital transformation in the next five years.
“The fact that market developments are moving faster than ever before may be an understatement, but it is true.”
The bridge between the customer domain and technology
“Compare it to the electric car. Ten years ago, Tesla was the only player, the pioneer, but now you see the big car brands coming back strongly, reducing Tesla’s leading edge. Ten years ago, we were also ‘dreaming’ of an autonomous factory. Now it is becoming reality, and there’s a rapid increase in the uptake of MES for industrial automation and WMS for warehouses.
What’s more, the pressure on efficiency is increasing enormously, partly due to the tight labour market as well as the demand for sustainable products. And this is the reason why it’s important that we know the customer domains in sectors such as industry and infra so well. To be successful, we need to be at the heart of our customers’ operational processes, and that’s exactly where we are. It goes without saying that cyber security also plays a big role. The security of OT assets is complex and far-reaching because just about every sensor is connected to the internet, thus making it a potential gateway for cyber-attacks. Our cyber security department prides itself on its experience-based knowhow in this domain, whereas a lot of IT parties lack this knowledge.”
The award is proof of successful co-development
“Digital transformation, 4.0, 5.0, or whatever you want to call it, it is a rapidly emerging development and we are directly involved in its realisation. Customers have continuously growing demands, projects are becoming more and more complex, and dependencies and vulnerabilities are increasing. At the same time, the technological possibilities are enormous and we have an infinite amount of data at our disposal. Our Industrial data expert groups work closely with customers and partners.
Co-development is crucial because we need to learn from each other and work together. This is the reason why I see the selection as Best Digital Transformer of the Year as being a joint success for everyone within ICT Group as well as our clients and partners. We will continue to innovate, invest in knowledge and develop new initiatives. This is how we create a better, smarter and more sustainable world every day.