The Chemical Formula for Innovation: Technology Trends in the Chemical Industry
The world is witnessing a rise in the popularity of innovative and powerful materials, ushered in by the technology trends in the chemicals industry. But to be central players in this story, today’s incumbent players in the chemicals industry will need some vital prerequisites, which include restructuring of their product portfolios, rewriting business models to generate higher returns on their investment in innovation and successful exploitation of digital technologies.
After the 1980s, though, the pipeline of new products has largely dried up. However, in the next 30 years, companies in the chemical industry will focus on growth through global expansion. In fact, chemical producers were one of the first industrial companies that extensively leveraged digital technology trends by using digital controllers and sensors to optimize production and control plant operations. However, in recent times, the chemicals sector has slowed its pace of digital innovation while other sectors, such as retail, banking, and telecommunications, have taken the lead, embracing digital innovation in customer engagement and operations. But the good news is that now some chemical executives are innovating again to find new value through digital technology trends. Here are top four technology trends that are fostering innovation and change in the chemical industry:
Supercomputing eliminates the separation of transactions and analytics. This technology enables processes that can run in minutes, bringing real-time business that changes how people work and how business is optimized. Changes to businesses can now be made in one-tenth of the time, providing chemical firms with superior business agility. Transactions can be run on any device through the use of applications for business users, data can be mined at any level of granularity, and simulations and predictive analytics can be used to develop the perfect decision. The total cost of ownership can be decreased, enabling simplification and reducing failure. Companies in the chemical industry can now shift their IT spending to innovation and value creation.
Technology trends such as hyper-connectivity will make an impact on four main elements: people, business, communities, and sensors. Players in the chemical industry are experiencing new market opportunities with more people being connected to the internet and a rise in the connection between business and suppliers through digitization. New communities are being leveraged to enhance customer engagement, drive personalized experiences, and align efforts across the value chain to maximize value potential.
The chemicals industry’s migration to cloud computing may take time for companies but beginning the journey early can deliver some substantial financial benefits. Executives are still grappling with its risks, possibilities, and the cost of writing off current IT investments. However, for several companies, the transition to a hybrid cloud environment is already underway. Those that move early to embrace this future will position themselves to be tomorrow’s high-performance businesses.
With the risk of corporate spying and digital theft, there is a stronger need for chemical companies to set and execute digital strategies. Companies in the chemical industry must now stay compliant with data privacy and regulations, and value chain interactions must be secured. Access to digital information should be restricted to authorized users and there should be central authentication, regardless of device. Partnering with trusted suppliers is key; establishing trust is important as more non-core processes are outsourced. Companies should build relationships with few partners who meet highest security standards to ensure a simpler architecture.