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Are the Process Plant Industries Ready for Digitalisation?


New research from AVEVA and Vanson Bourne benchmarks the state of digitalisation in the process plant industries.

Are the Process Plant Industries Ready for Digitalisation?

In late 2017, I had the pleasure of keynoting the AVEVA World Summit. This event gathered executives from across a range of process plant industries, all eager to learn what it means to get digitalisation right. The most compelling content—and conversations—revolved around the real-world stories of how specific industry players are tackling their own digital challenges and seizing their own digital opportunities.

So I was interested to learn that AVEVA was already conducting a study to benchmark the state of digital among process plant companies, and honoured when they asked me to reflect on the findings and offer my analysis and conclusions in a series of reports based on the data. The first of those reports—“Digitalisation in the Process Plant Industries”—is available today and it’s packed with information and insights to help you understand how your industry is adopting digital and what it means for your own organisation.

Figure 1: Is your organisation currently investing in any of the
following technologies as part of its plant digitalisation strategy?

For “Digitalisation in the Process Plant Industries,” AVEVA partnered with Vanson Bourne, an independent technology market research agent, to survey 400 senior executives working around the world in the Chemicals & Petrochemicals, Mining & Minerals, Pharmaceuticals, Power Generation, and Pulp & Paper sectors. Their goals were to deliver landmark findings about the current state of plant digital maturity, highlight the opportunities and challenges inherent in process plant digitalisation, and gauge the implementation of and investments in the technologies required for plant digitalisation.

As I note in my foreword to the report, the findings are clear and compelling:

Digitalisation is a top priority for process plant companies and getting it right brings outsized opportunities for profitability and growth. This said, realising these benefits requires organisations to make digital a core strategic area of focus, overcome significant issues related to digital talent and technology infrastructure, invest in intelligent information management and tap into the right outside partners for guidance and support.

Whether you are a digital strategist, technology leader, c-level executive or line manager in your organisation, this report will help you understand where your peers stand on digitalisation and gauge how your own company stacks up against industry averages.


Key findings from the report include:

45% feel increased competition is influencing plant digitalisation and 88% fear that they will be left behind by competitors if they fail to adopt plant digitalisation. Strategic digitalisation helps you defend yourself against disruption at the hands of traditional competitors, new entrants and shifts in demand.

Digitalisation can boost production capacity by 26% and cut operating costs by 24%. Digitalisation is a key driver of productivity and efficiency for organisations looking to get the most of new and existing assets.

41% currently invest in intelligent information management and 51% plan to invest in the future. If data is the lifeblood of any successful digital business (and it is), your ability to gather, manage, analyse and access information is the key to turning raw data into actionable intelligence.

54% believe plant digitalisation is a rapidly growing focus of attention across the industry and 30% say it is here and happening now. Digital is very much in play right now, and the decisions you make and actions you take in the coming year will determine the future of your business.

92% believe that digital must be built directly into the core of the business. Process plant leaders recognise that digital is a core strategic driver of the entire business and not just a matter of technology.

88% say digitalisation will increase revenues for their organisation. Digital does more than streamline and speed up the things you do today; it opens the door to new opportunities for growth.


These findings are just the beginning. For the complete set of insights about digitalisation in the plant industries,

download the full report today.

“Digitalisation in the Process Plant Industries” is one in a series of reports derived from AVEVA’s research. Visit for additional papers including drilldown reports for the Power, Chemicals and Mining sectors. 


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Greg Verdino is an independent expert in digital transformation who helps enterprises thrive in the face of disruption. For more than 25 years Greg has worked at the forefront of change, advising 50 of the Fortune 500 and holding senior positions at a half-dozen technology startups. He is a speaker, author and go-to expert for a wide variety of media outlets including Bloomberg Business, CNBC, eMarketer, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.
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