Inspectioneering Journal

A Four-Step Approach to Achieving Digital Transformation

By Ben Lawrence, Head of Business Development at Gecko Robotics, Inc., and Alison McGee, Head of Marketing at Gecko Robotics, Inc. This article appears in the November/December 2023 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.


Digital transformation continues to gain traction across numerous business sectors. In 2022, companies invested nearly $2 trillion in digital transformation technologies. By 2026, it is expected to reach $3.4 trillion [1,2]. While digital transformation has been embraced for certain industrial segments – like rotating equipment – fixed equipment has not seen quite the same amount of progress.

Why are so many companies investing in digital technologies? When implemented correctly, they should result in a myriad of benefits, including safety, uptime, and throughput, differentiating companies with effective strategies from their peers. The payoff from digital transformation can be significant, but the success rate is shockingly low. It’s estimated that 70-95% of digital transformation projects fail, despite the technologies being utilized [3]. Guaranteeing success requires more than adopting the latest and greatest technologies. Instead, companies need to become aligned around shared goals and an understanding of how the quality and utilization of data impact the strategy.

In oil and gas, digital transformation can drive efficiencies along the entire value chain, from personnel scheduling to process optimization to resource allocation. This article will focus on technologies that optimize refinery inspection and maintenance operations, outlining a four-step process for implementing a successful digital transformation strategy.

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is the process of implementing digital technologies to modernize, evolve, and improve non-digital processes. These technologies include the development and utilization of digital twins, robotics, automation, the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), cloud computing, and artificial intelligence (AI). When leveraged successfully, the right combination of technologies will accelerate and improve operations in many aspects. Conversely, initiating these complex processes without a strategy for gathering, analyzing, and utilizing the highest quality data can result in failure.

Implementing digital transformation is challenging, and the industrial sectors have seen varying degrees of success. In oil and gas, barriers to successful adoption include disparate data systems and low-quality or incomplete data inputs, especially in relation to digitizing inspection and maintenance processes. The methodologies commonly used to inspect and maintain critical infrastructure are resource-intensive, unreliable, dangerous, and manual.

With large industrial equipment, asset failures can cause devastating consequences for workers, communities, and the environment. Facilities must mitigate risks with accurate evaluation and maintenance plans. The antiquated methods used to evaluate asset health leave significant opportunities for improvement through digital transformation. Facilities need to optimize operations with efficient and informative digital processes, eliminating guesswork and driving effective decision-making.

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Posted by Christos Christoglou on February 2, 2024
While I really appreciate Gecko robotics and have... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

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