Digital transformation is the key to smarter ways of doing business. It’s about speed, agility and efficiency driving better customer experiences. And all the while maximizing value creation across asset and operational lifecycles to improve profitability and return on capital.

So there is this tremendous new force in industry - digital technology – that extends to cloud-based technology, the industrial Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, augmented- and virtual reality, and cybersecurity. All of these buzzwords applied to the industrial era are accelerating the digital transformation journey.

Advances in technology mean that assets are communicating more data than ever, and industrial organizations are striving for a big-picture view of their operations and KPIs (key performance indicators). These five digital drivers not only provide context for operators, but mean they can better understand the health of their assets to extend their life while reducing capital expenditure and optimizing operating expenditure.

The industrial sector is perhaps one of the last sectors to use technology at scale. Consider the billions spent on capital and operational expense in manufacturing. And consider the areas where technology can reduce that spend and drive a better outcome. Consider where technology can drive lower costs and energy consumption, while also reducing pollution and creating a higher quality product with better flexibility profits.

Technology is definitely disrupting the industrial world. Some call it the next industrial revolution, the digital agenda for manufacturing, the elusive digital twin, or perhaps an IT and OT convergence. Digital transformation is more important now, because we are at an inflection point where we can deliver the cost reducing trends of cloud, big data and analytics combined with industrial benefits.

The ability to capitalize on the data emanating from production assets is essential to achieving consistent asset availability and production quality.

Industry 4.0 is really about disruptive technologies coming together to deliver solutions that are fast, deliver value, are adaptable and can be integrated within existing systems. And they help reduce dependencies on vendors.

The fourth industrial revolution is filling today’s shop floor with smart devices that provide plant-level engineers critical metrics directly from the assets. Imagine a device that sends data from pumps in a process manufacturing plant to display metrics with warnings when (or even before) parameters exceed critical limits. P

Plant level engineers love such devices that make life easier for them – but are justifiably wary of sharing access to data generated from those devices. But, today, we have truly secure ways to use control data in a really smart connected operations environment.

So what’s the bottom-line? Today’s technologies promise disruption throughout the industrial value chain, while better data collection and sophisticated analytics can drive profitability.

Craig Hayman is the CEO of Aveva.