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Transport sector dallying in implementing intelligent strategies

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Frederic Giron, VP research director at Forrester.
Frederic Giron, VP research director at Forrester.

Lack of adequate skills and capabilities, and insufficient organisational structure are among the key challenges facing companies in the transportation sector, in their pursuit of implementing intelligent transportation strategies.

This was the word from Frederic Giron, VP research director of research firm Forrester, giving a presentation titled: “Digital Transformation Enables Comprehensive Transformation”, at the recent virtual 2021 Huawei Industrial Digital Transformation Conference.

Huawei commissioned Forrester Consulting to survey 188 decision-makers of digital transformation in the railway, urban rail, highway, logistics and shipping industries, to understand the challenges and needs they encountered in their digital transformation journeys.

He pointed out that last year proved to be challenging for the transportation sector, particularly for aviation, as the pandemic almost brought the industry to its knees. Yet, as a whole, the sector proved its resilience in keeping the critical global world of commerce rolling by turning to various ICT services and solutions.

Outlining the key findings of the survey, Giron pointed out that chief challenges facing the sector include organisational structure and culture, unrealistic business expectations, integration of emerging technologies, and inadequate skills and capabilities.

“The problem is that 73% of organisations in this survey believe their existing organisational structure can harvest a comprehensive digital transformation and another 65% of them believe they lack a compelling vision for digital transformation.

“Digital transformation requires a unified digital vision, as well as an effective organisational structure and culture to execute on this vision. These are the building blocks they must start developing first before they try and scale their efforts,” he explained.

In terms of unrealistic business expectations, he noted business leaders often want to see the results of digital transformation efforts in a very short time frame. “Unfortunately, this is highly unlikely, because in most cases firms will have to experiment their way to digital success, because there are very few best practices that exist for benchmark, if at all.”

Regarding skills and data visualisation, Giron noted there are still many change management projects being done around data and insights within these organisations, with most still failing to adequately apply data insights to improve efficiency and safety, and provide better customer experience.

“Without this, organisations will remain stuck in their transformation journey.”

Respondents also expressed concerns regarding emerging technologies, security issues presented by technology, and the performance and maturity of emerging technologies, as well as compliance issues related to migrating to the cloud, specifically the public cloud.

He highlighted the importance of implementing digital transformation initiatives across all dimensions of business architecture, all modes of transportation used within the company and across every phase of the transformation lifecycle.

“The future of transportation is about breaking down barriers between different modes of transportation. For instance, in B2C scenarios, this means providing passengers with a better door-to-door experience, while in B2B scenarios it’s about providing cargo with a lower efficient and predictable end-to-end transportation service.

“Realising this vision will require a few things – including a new digital transportation infrastructure that is fully connected across different modes of infrastructure and one that breaks down these silos.”


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