By Dr. John Markus Lervik, CEO & Founder, Cognite
I imagine that somebody has once written a similar article, perhaps back in the 1970s, trying to convince readers that computers are the future and that they will transform the way of work for every single person. It’s hard to believe that we once doubted it. But, over time, our doubts dissipated as software advanced and hardware grew cheaper, until we reached the point where we are today, when everyone goes around with more processing power on their phones than in the computers that sent the first men to the moon.
It was a journey that draws parallels to the role of data in industrial companies today. Once locked into silos, industrial data is now being liberated and finding its way into everyone’s hands across asset-intensive industries. One could say that the industry is finally about to have its ‘iPhone moment’ - industry’s ultimate springboard into digital transformation.
We are experiencing the advent of Industrial DataOps
DataOps (data operations) is a term that describes a relatively new way of managing industrial data enterprise-to-enterprise, connecting it from the source to the data consumer in a way that enables the organization to make use of it, innovate with it, and create value from it.
Many pioneering industrial companies now understand the power of data and are orchestrating the use of it across their organizations by bringing Industrial DataOps to their ranks. The ideal Industrial DataOps scenario is when all end-users have instant access to contextualized data; they understand its value; and they know how to use it to improve a project, run a process more efficiently, and even achieve greater sustainability.
Every industry worker is a data consumer
For those evaluating its introduction in their organization, it’s important to note that Industrial DataOps is as much a discipline as it is a culture. To truly bring the data mindset into all corners of an industrial operation, there must be a general willingness on the part of the employees to learn, collaborate, and continually explore ways to engage with and use the data.
In an Industrial DataOps-driven company, the domain experts, the data scientists and analysts, freed from their silos, support the entire organization. They effectively become the expert ambassadors who strive for a more data-centric internal culture. Employees are the data consumers, all of whom possess some level of knowledge and ability to apply insights to achieve their goals.
The success of Industrial DataOps depends on the people behind it
To succeed with Industrial DataOps, the organization should be aligned with the changes at play, and employees should be prepared to learn how to work with and extract value from industrial data. Employees will be more motivated to change if the data can be trusted and applicable for their everyday tasks. This requires the data process to be automated and for the data to be contextualized, creating a single source of truth for the organization – rather than multiple data sources that simply don’t connect.
Data has become a powerful new tool for the industrial masses. And the Industrial DataOps discipline is emerging as the way forward for companies that aim to extract greater value from the plethora of data emerging from every corner of their operations. Those who get it right from the start will have the competitive advantage – able to operationalize and scale greater value than they ever thought possible.
John Markus Lervik is the founder and CEO of Cognite AS. Lervik has a Ph.D from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, where he was awarded the Esso academic award for his PhD work.