The COVID-19 pandemic created some unique operational challenges and opportunities. Demand for many products plummeted and then accelerated past previous levels. Companies were forced to send workers home and then struggled to staff back up. At the same time supply chains developed numerous chokepoints, some internally created and some externally imposed.
The crisis forced rapid changes in operations – what would normally have emerged over a decade, took place in a matter of months – that accelerated the move to more remote operations, the development of more distributed decision-making processes, and a shift to data-driven operations.
New sensor technologies, wireless connectivity options, the rise of artificial intelligence, and the maturation of cloud platforms have all combined to open the possibility of much better visibility and predictability of operational performance.
They have also broken down the technology barriers to data sharing and collaboration around that data. The bigger challenge remains the organizational changes necessary to take advantage of these innovations.
As the world gets greater control over the pandemic, organizations will need to decide whether to hang on to the traditional way they have run operations or to embrace more data-driven, collaborative, and responsive models.
IDC’s Future of Operations top 10 predictions
Prediction 1: By 2023, only 25% of G2000 companies will have moved beyond using their digital engineering organization for the enforcement of IT policies in operations, resulting in limited ability to extract more value and insights from their operational data.
Prediction 2: By 2023, 40% of G2000 companies develop all-new processes as remote operations first, compared with the very limited number of remote operations processes in 2020.
Prediction 3: As compared to 2% in 2021, by 2024, 35% of G2000 companies will use their Digital Engineering capabilities to sell remote operations, data, and other services to peers, partners, and customers.
Prediction 4: Compared to less than 5% today, by 2027, 40% of consumer value chains will share real-time capacity information based on increased consumption and demand transparency.
Prediction 5: 60% of G2000 companies will use sustainability KPIs and data as primary operational control parameters by 2026, compared to less than 20% in 2021.
Prediction 6: By 2026, 40% of G2000 companies will have used AI, data governance, and a transformed organization to develop a resilient and distributed operational decision-making framework that drives 25% faster change execution.
Prediction 7: By 2025, 30% of brand owners/managers will bring operations back in house or closer to demand to exercise greater operational control, improve supply transparency, and reduce operational risk.
Prediction 8: By 2024, the use of data and analytics will have enabled a 3% reduction in global CO2 emissions by the industrial and commercial sectors (a net reduction of over 400 million metric tons of CO2).
Prediction 9: From 2021 to 2027, the number of new physical assets and processes that are modelled as digital twins will increase from 5% to 60% resulting in operational performance optimization.
Prediction 10: Compared to less than 10% in 2021, by 2025, 60% of companies will use some form of remote expert to support operational staff with AI and knowledge management.