Understanding the Digital Transformation | AIChE

You are here

Understanding the Digital Transformation


Organizations in the chemical process industries are using digital tools and data-driven technologies to radically improve performance metrics. Determining the best areas to deploy these technologies is a challenge.

Oil refineries and other facilities in the chemical process industries (CPI) are up against some major challenges. They must balance safety, quality, profit, environmental compliance, and asset reliability. They contend with ever-changing regulations, fluctuating distribution patterns, global competition, and staff turnover. Any solution that is implemented to meet these challenges must inherently ensure flexibility to capture favorable market conditions and maintain a safe work environment while remaining in regulatory compliance. For an organization to thrive, it must apply the right knowledge across organizational and geographic boundaries while simultaneously working to reduce costs. These companies must adapt to survive. Fortunately, digital transformation is making a positive impact for those facilities faced with these demanding challenges.

Digital transformation refers to the leveraging of industrial internet of things (IIoT) technologies, software, services, and expertise to expand digital intelligence throughout a workforce, as well as augment workflows and processes to create new efficiencies and competencies that effect cultural and behavioral change within a company. When new technologies are used to fundamentally change operational procedures or establish new strategic initiatives across the entire organization — that’s when a digital transformation takes place.

Digital transformation is sparked by rethinking and optimizing processes and by empowering personnel with the knowledge and tools to do their jobs more effectively.

Although benefits can be realized from new technologies, analytics, and subsequent behavior changes, it should be noted that digital transformation alone is not the solution to every challenge. Before understanding how to move forward with a digital transformation initiative, it is important to understand why an organization must move forward and how a new technology or more data can provide answers to operational challenges while netting a favorable return on investment (ROI).

This article discusses how to identify areas in your facility or organization that may be ripe for digital transformation. It also explains how to lead digitalization projects from the top down. The article concludes with a look at several relevant examples of successful digital transformation projects.

Would you like to access the complete CEP Article?

No problem. You just have to complete the following steps.

You have completed 0 of 2 steps.

  1. Log in

    You must be logged in to view this content. Log in now.

  2. AIChE Membership

    You must be an AIChE member to view this article. Join now.

Copyright Permissions 

Would you like to reuse content from CEP Magazine? It’s easy to request permission to reuse content. Simply click here to connect instantly to licensing services, where you can choose from a list of options regarding how you would like to reuse the desired content and complete the transaction.

Automatic layout