We often hear that we live in a data-driven society. Platforms like Google and Facebook collect our information, and retailers like Amazon and Walmart know our shopping habits and preferences. Some consider it an invasion of privacy, while others see it as a convenience. Regardless of an individual’s position on the issue, data is king when it comes to business. It helps businesses gather intel into your operations, financials, and yes, your customers’ wants, needs and habits.
Data powers business today. This is what the digital transformation is all about. Applied Technologies is the first stop to help make the transfer and analysis of data possible.
We recently sat down with Krista Salvatore, VP and General Manager at Applied Technologies, to discuss the firm’s 30 years of experience with the digital transformation. Krista explains what it means, provides insight into how your business can benefit, and outlines the role that Applied Technologies plays in all facets of the digital transformation, including network setup, connectivity, data centers, security and more.
What is the Digital Transformation?
This is a hot topic in IT right now, but quite frankly, the digital transformation is nothing new. At Applied Technologies, we’ve been involved in various iterations of the digital transformation for more than 30 years. At its core, the digital transformation is about shifting data and doing something with it in order to provide a solution to a business challenge, or to enable a business goal to be achieved. Applied specializes on the front end of this process, setting up the framework, hardware storage, and networking for the transfer of data to take place – taking the data out of machines and devices and routing it to where it needs to go. Applications are then laid on top of the data, allowing for analysis, identification of patterns, and gathering intel to make good decisions that drive better business results. This typically means improvement in productivity, profits, performance, safety, or any other KPI important to the business.
How did Applied Technologies get its start in the Digital Transformation
We began 30 years ago in the automation space, which is very geared towards operational technology, or OT. The other half of the company was about networking, connecting devices and people together. Since then, we’ve added partnerships with companies like Cisco, Microsoft, NetApp Rockwell, and many others to offer a holistic digital transformation solution, bridging the gap in the information technology and operational technology space. Our technology partnerships allow us to apply unique solutions geared to each business spec and set of goals. We may be installing similar hardware and software in a number of companies, but it’s configured differently for each vertical market we serve and each set of business objectives they’ve set out to reach.
How is the Digital Transformation different today than it was 30 years ago?
Today, the transferring and routing of data is much more sophisticated and complex. We’re connecting more devices – and types of devices – than ever before. Wireless devices, especially in a manufacturing environment, are becoming a bigger piece of the overall network. The speed at which data must travel, as well as how quickly users need to access that data, continues to increase. And of course, security of the overall system is an ongoing concern for every business.
Tell us more about the role security plays.
There are several pillars to consider in any discussion about security. You have the network and the individual devices to safeguard, as well as the physical security of the system and facility. But a big factor today is social engineering, a situation in which someone portrays him or herself as part of the organization in order to gain access or trust. Sometimes, this can take months. Other times, it’s an email that looks legitimate enough for a team member to click and expose the entire network. The great news is there are network security tools we leverage here at Applied Technologies to help our clients avoid these situations.
What industries do you see leveraging their data and systems well?
Every industry from retail and commercial to manufacturing and gaming is working to identify the best ways to leverage their data to help the organization reach their goals. Right now, the concept of “smart manufacturing” is very big. This allows manufacturing and industrial facilities to share real-time data from the shop floor to create better efficiencies and drive profitability. Commercial facilities are transferring data on a variety of issues to help better maintain, stock and improve productivity. The gaming and retail space uses location data and facial recognition technology to track their customer’s habits, wants and needs to provide the right offer at the right time to either keep them on-premises longer, and keep them coming back for more.
Applied Technologies has played a key role in helping to develop the strategy for the infrastructure needs to propel these initiatives, as well as installing and maintaining the systems to make this all possible. This can include the design and installation of data centers, implementation and oversight of managed services, security and uptime monitoring, and putting all of the hardware and software in place to facilitate the secure, efficient transfer of information.
Our experience in top floor and shop floor integration goes back to our origin. Applied Technologies is a French Gerleman technology company. Together, we can provide manufacturers a complete Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solution. Our team can not only answer the technical questions but can assist with reviewing the financial and operational benefits of IIoT.
Where and how does this process typically begin?
In some cases, a client will call upon Applied Technologies to help them solve a specific business problem through technology. Perhaps they realize they’re losing money on a certain product line, or are having challenges with customer retention. We partner to work through the situation with them, identify the key metrics to monitor, and build a holistic technology solution with the hardware and software needed to move the needle on those metrics.
In other cases, the client has identified their business objectives and reach out to the Applied Technologies team to implement the technology needed to support the initiatives.
Whether the customer has a clear path in mind or they don’t know where to start, we walk through that process with them hand-in-hand to build the solution they need to make their business run more smoothly while increasing profits.
In closing, we ask you to consider what your data could be doing for you, and how you could be leveraging it to grow revenue and profits. It’s OK if you don’t know where to start, but know that you have access to a wealth of information that could be driving your business into the future. The team at Applied Technologies is here to help you make sense of it, and build the technology infrastructure you need for better business results. Please reach out to the team at [email protected] or 636.274.8000 with any questions you may have.