Digital Transformation for Engineers

The term “digital transformation” moved long ago from buzzword to established industry trend, and its meaning is influenced by situation and context. This article describes it as “the process of using digital technologies to create new — or modify existing — business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements”. 

While this applies across many industries, it’s especially relevant in engineering. Considering the number of engineering disciplines, not to mention their associated technologies, digital transformation is not just a competitive advantage for companies, it’s an existential necessity. 

Unfortunately, over 70% of digital transformation initiatives fail.

At the organizational level, the Harvard Business Review identifies four interrelated components required for a successful digital transformation (technology, data, process, and organizational change capability) and emphasizes the necessity of having a deep bench of talent in each area.

More than anything else, digital transformation requires talent. (emphasis added) Indeed, assembling the right team of technology, data, and process people who can work together — with a strong leader who can bring about change — may be the single most important step that a company contemplating digital transformation can take.”

Helping engineering organizations develop that deep bench of talent is a primary focus of OSPE’s Ontario Engineering Academy. We’ve teamed up with the University of Waterloo’s professional education program WatSPEED to bring our members an innovative Digital Transformation for Engineers certificate program, launching Wednesday, February 23. 

Peter Carr, PhD. is a University of Waterloo Continuing Lecturer and the program’s creator. For digital transformation to succeed, he cites the need for companies to combine the technological change they want to see with the human and organizational change required to support it. As he states in this video, the Digital Transformation program aims to help engineers “become people who can make their own organizations’ transformations more successful”. 

Participants who successfully complete the final project of this exclusive program will create an actionable digital transformation plan specific to context and strategy of their own organization. In addition, they’ll receive individual coaching and consulting on their plan’s implementation.

In a recent OSPE podcast on Workforce of the Future, Mary Wells, P.Eng., Dean of Waterloo’s Faculty of Engineering discussed the importance of digital technology in all facets of engineering. Her comments regarding the need for balance between scientific theory and practical application is at the crux of WatSPEED’s Digital Transformation program.

Wells was joined by Sanjiv Gill, Associate VP of Innovation at WatSPEED. The conversation was insightful and included observations like the following:  

  • A World Economic Forum study indicates that 54% of employees would need to be “reskilled or upskilled” by 2022.
  • “The shelf-life of knowledge keeps shrinking”, particularly when it comes to technology. The resulting increase in skills gaps highlights the urgency of continuing professional development. Gill points to lifelong learning as the solute on to closing that gap.

It’s a timely, relevant discussion and you can to Episode 15 of the series here.

Limited seats are available for the Digital Transformation for Engineers program and registration is open now. Early-bird pricing available until January 31. Learn more and register here.

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