APM Digitization versus Digitalization

By Peter Reynolds

Industry Trends

While asset-owners consider the impact of Asset Performance Management (APM) technologies, ARC is aware of the confusion many in industry have about the distinction between the terms digitization versus digitalization.

To clarify, “digitization of APM” involves creating digital versions of previously analog data, such as by creating digital work orders to replace paper-based maintenance work orders.  Replacing analog technology with digital technology, such as the transition from analog field instrumentation and control systems to digital instrumentation and control systems, would be another example.   Digitization focuses on technology and infrastructure and typically impacts a relatively small number of stakeholders within a company.

Digitalization, on the other hand, involves making use of digital data and technologies to improve a business or work process and much more complex to accomplish. For example, utilizing data from a digital work order to improve maintenance work processes and execution, or using digital twins to improve asset information and/or engineering processes. In other words, digitalization utilizes digital technologies and data to improve the way people work, collaborate, and get things done within a plant or across a company. 

More common today is the usage of the phrase “digital transformation” or DT for short. DT involves both digitization and digitalization: digitization makes it easier to capture, organize, and manage a wide variety of data; digitalization makes it possible to gain more value from all those data.  It focuses on multi-process disruptive change and how to implement these changes throughout an organization. It engages the entire company and its people, rather than just processes and data.   Usually executed with C-level support, digital transformation will involve a multitude of stakeholders and requires a well-thought-out plan to address the people element, organizational change, change leadership, and educational aspects.

ARC Advisory Group has designed a questionnaire to better understand how today’s industry leaders’ approach to APM digitalization and to compare the effectiveness of the different approaches. We invite you to participate by completing this survey, which will take 5-10 minutes. In return, we will share the results in the coming weeks. Survey Link



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