Tackling the digital transformation challenge in 2020 demands new capabilities

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February 11, 2020
Sean Doherty

digital transformation Partnerships Private Networks Centre of Excellence

We wrote last year about the ongoing complexities of the digital transformation challenge, and it's still true that this kind of fundamental change is difficult.

Digital transformation projects typically have many separate but interdependent strands, they represent a significant financial investment, and they often require cultural change. A company undergoing a digital transformation often needs to change the way it thinks about itself, its customers and its market, and that transformation has to be led by the senior leadership team.

If all the elements are in place, transformation projects can achieve those elusive benefits, but the past year has shown just how challenging it is to succeed. Gartner predicts that large, traditional enterprises are especially at risk, and can find that digital transformation initiatives take twice as long and cost twice as much as anticipated.

Private networks as a key enabler for digital transformation

But it's important to recognise that the toolset that can help facilitate digital transformation, even for those larger traditional enterprises, continues to improve. CKH IOD’s Centre of Excellence for Private Networks brings together the industry's most experienced engineers and solution designers to help enterprises gain more control, speed and visibility across their private LTE networks.

Enterprises are realising that Wi-Fi doesn't provide the capacity or control they need in order to introduce more network-centred, mission-critical services both now and in the future, including advanced automation, VR and robotics. Private LTE allows enterprises to create private, fit-for-purpose cellular networks on-site at their own premises, to support essential applications and services on dedicated network infrastructure.

In sectors like ports, airports and factories, a private network is a key enabler for digital transformation. In order for autonomous and remote-control vehicles, drones and robots to really take off, they need significant, secure and fast connectivity. A private network provides this, plus it's completely isolated and for the sole use of the enterprise.

And with the advent of 5G spectrum availability in a number of countries, the use cases are endless.

Providing carrier-level resources direct to the enterprise

One reason we're so excited about the new CKH IOD Centre of Excellence for Private Networks is that it provides a host of engineering and design capabilities and expertise direct to our enterprise customers, for the very first time.

Typically these resources — including the industry's most experienced radio engineers and solution designers — are reserved for the design, deployment and management of our own public mobile networks. The Centre of Excellence is where we'll work together with our enterprise customers to understand their needs and design a solution tailored to meet their throughput, latency and coverage requirements exactly.

Inside the Centre, we also have a team ready to test the specific use case end to end. Our customer's private network is supported by a dedicated Network Operations Centre: our engineers there know the customer's design and have access both to the core the customer uses and to all the radio base stations at their site.

The road to transformation begins with the right relationships

When enterprises have in place that key foundational resource of a high-speed, high-reliability private network, a number of transformational changes can take place.

For instance, Shell uses unmanned aerial surveillance drones for checking high points on rigs and robots, and for patrolling unmanned refineries, all controlled over cellular networks. The new Mercedes factory in Germany enables a move from a rigid to a fluid production line process, enabling flexibility throughout the build process. And these are just a handful of deployed innovations that are possible when the right building-blocks are in place.

The exact requirements for different companies will vary. Most enterprises will need a combination of communication products and services (such as private networks and SD WAN, or even a private network delivered to multiple sites over SD WAN), and that's where CKH IOD's experience across industry helps other companies get the right solutions.

We've written both here and previously about the need to overcome cultural and organisation challenges in order to get digital transformation right. A partnership approach is key, and that's also true for private networks: trust and collaboration are as important to digital transformation success as the network that the project rests on.

Learn more about CKH IOD’s Centre of Excellence for Private Networks.