What is digital transformation?

By Steve Hartman

What makes someone successful at their job?

It’s access to the right set of tools. Whether you’re designing sub 5nm chips for AI processing in data centers, working with high-compute/low-power edge computing for a smart factory, or customizing agricultural equipment subject to local regulations, you want to have the right tools that get these sophisticated jobs done.

Now, more than ever, companies in all industries face a future of tougher competitors that are constantly developing new products, features or services, and shrinking the cycle of innovation. On top of that, customers demand smart, connected and secure products that are personalized to meet their needs.

Meanwhile, the explosion of complexity of product development, manufacturing processes, data capture and analysis and even supply chains is seemingly disrupting every organization, everywhere. Everything from autonomous vehicles and smart watches to data sensors and AIrobots on the factory floor are being connected via semiconductors and embedded systems and integrated into evermore complex mechanical structures.

There is no way around this increasing complexity. It’s crucial now more than ever to use cross-domain engineering tools and cloud capabilities to ensure the success and speed of development and implementation of your products and manufacturing.

In spite of the disruptive technology, companies are still trying to build tomorrow’s products in yesterday’s environment because business leaders are hesitant to digitally transform. Perhaps that’s due to many digitalization projects that have failed because the companies implementing them only looked at the technology without empowering their people or adapting their processes, or vice versa.

Future-focused companies are making greater investments in their organization’s cultural change through development and training. They’re implementing digitalization strategies, taking advantage of the flexibility through software-as-a-service solutions and fully utilizing data.

Siemens is proactive in digital transformation areas from chip to datacenter, smart factory to smart city, and facilitating ecosystem collaboration. We use it to maximize our own factories’ capabilities and helping our partners succeed in realizing a digital future.

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation is about embracing complexity through technological and digital initiatives. It involves integrating and using digital technologies for all areas of a business. This fundamentally changes how businesses operate and innovate to quickly deliver value to customers. It encourages organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment often and learn by failing fast. 

There are three initiatives that have proven to be effective in digital transformation:

  • A comprehensive digital twin, which creates closed-loop connections between the virtual and physical worlds across the value chain of product, production and performance.
  • Personalized and adaptable solutions so that each project within each company can adapt to changing business conditions or their customers’ requirements.
  • A flexible open ecosystem that fosters real-time collaboration amongst internal teams as well as external vendors, suppliers, customers and more.

A true Digital Enterprise can access the unlimited power of data by gaining valuable insights to make fast and confident decisions. Thus, digitalization creates best-in-class products through efficient production. Even with finite resources, the data created in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are infinite allowing for greater opportunities for data to be collected, understood, and used.

Every industry or business, regardless of size, would benefit from digital transformation whether the technology is used for building tomorrow’s sustainable vehicle or revolutionizing a sport.

Surf Loch has fewer than 10 employees but by embracing digital transformation they are revolutionizing the surfing industry.

Watch this video and discover how the advanced software and services in the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio allowed Surf Loch engineers to design, simulate and optimize their surf wave technology and thereby disrupt an entire industry.​

Surf Loch utilizes the Siemens’ Digital Enterprise and Xcelerator portfolio to design and optimize their surf wave technology.

Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation recently partnered with Siemens Digital Industries Software to adopt digital transformation technology such as NX and Teamcenter for their next-generation data management and design environment.

Selecting NX software and the Teamcenter portfolio from Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio for our core design and data management platforms will introduce a new working environment for our teams that will pave the way for a leap forward in future car development. This is the beginning of a huge transformation and an important point of change for Hyundai Motor Company.

Albert Bierman, Head of R&D Division, Hyundai Motor Company

Read the full press release: Siemens Partners with Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation for Digital Mobility Transformation

Digitalization increases adaptability. Whether it was a small business-like Surf Loch with fewer than ten employees or a large enterprise like Hyundai with more than 100,000 employees, digital transformation ensures they have the ability to adapt on a dime, use digital twin technology to increase design speed and more productive collaboration opportunities with their internal teams and external partners.

Creating a true Digital Enterprise

There is balance between security and openness when it comes to digital transformation. It’s a legitimate concern considering the level of IP and number of internal teams and external suppliers and vendors involved in creating complex products.

To protect all the continuous multidirectional data flows, it’s important to incorporate a multi-layered security concept at every step — something Siemens and our Xcelerator portfolio is designed with. At the same time, we’ve ensured a seamless flow of data between stakeholders to achieve collaboration like never before.

More flexible production, greater productivity, and the development of new business models are all possible when companies embrace digital transformation and implement the best-in-class tools to achieve their goals.

Cloud services, including software-as-a-service, are ways companies are finding greater flexibility, adaptability and scalability to achieve better and more effective product design. Siemens’ own Xcelerator as a Service (XaaS) provides unprecedented access to the Xcelerator portfolio anytime, from anywhere and from any device.

There truly is no industry or company that wouldn’t benefit from digital transformation. Take glass blowers whose occupation is similar to those of centuries ago. While the art may not have changed, the access to digital tools has allowed modern glassblowers to adapt with the technology that makes their business more cost-effective, flexible and personalized to meet the needs of their customers. Check out Mobile Glassblowing Studios and see how they used the digital tools of today to transform their industry for tomorrow. Learn more about turning product and process complexity into your competitive advantage with Xcelerator.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at