With the wide variety of technology tools available today, NDT service companies have plenty of opportunities to improve and grow. From streamlining current operations to capitalize on new business, expanding service offerings and exploring new verticals, digitalization strategies like (SaaS) software-as-a-service, are on radar. The benefits of digitalization are so promising, in fact, the IDC estimates that 40 percent of tech spending is earmarked for digital transformation, with enterprises spending more than $2 trillion in 2019.
Digital transformation, especially for NDT service companies, can improve operational efficiency, bring faster and help to meet changing customer expectations.
It is important to remember that digital transformation is a process, not something that is finite or measurable with a number. Indeed, when referring to digital transformation via technology, no matter the industry, there is an important distinction that needs to be made. Namely, the difference between digitization and digitalization.
Put in layman’s terms, you digitize paper and forms; you digitalize a company and its ways of providing value to customers. Here’s how Gartner more precisely explains:
- Digitization: the process of changing from analog to digital form, also known as digital enablement. Digitization takes an analog process and changes it to a digital form without any different-in-kind changes to the process itself.
- Digitalization: the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business.
Digitization is the easy part. Taking an NDT inspection form and converting it into an interactive PDF file is perhaps worthwhile but remains a small part of a much larger whole.
Digitalization that truly transforms a business is the ultimate goal and therefore presents the greatest challenge. This sentiment is echoed in the fast-moving NDE 4.0 operating practice, which embraces enabling new technologies and uncovering new ways of providing value to customers.
NDT service businesses are by nature laser-focused on delivering world-class tests and inspection reports. To do it more profitably and improve competitive advantage, they are considering digital strategies and technology tools like artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT) cyber physical systems, machine learning, remote monitoring, and advanced mobile tools.
However, without a digital platform in place to tie it all together, these technologies remain siloed data sources that require manual manipulation to integrate and analyze. This is where cloud-based software in a SaaS (software-as-a-service) model can provide tangible benefits and even serve as your NDT organization’s digital platform.
Due to the technical nature of NDT inspections and the range of potential data to be analyzed, many NDT service providers are overwhelmed by disparate systems, a lack of integration, and multiple systems of record. A digital software platform designed for NDT businesses can alleviate these issues and provide better data and better data analytics.
As NDT business leaders are faced with the challenge of delivering flawless NDT / NDE inspections and then reporting to customers in formats they can understand and act on. In order to make processes easier and remove paper forms, many NDT businesses are turning to digitizing their paper forms.
Although this is a quick fix that will lead to modest efficiencies, as explained above, simply digitizing data should not be the end game.
Being able to use the data and present it to customers is what really matters, and this is where SaaS software can help NDT businesses truly embrace digitalization, rather than just digitization. From providing competitive advantage to making NDT services safer, the benefits are unmatched for using SaaS as a digital platform.
Learn more about Floodlight Software, a SaaS digital platform for NDT service businesses.