Are petrochemical industries ready for digitalisation?

Chemical industries around the world are finally embracing digitalisation with senior executives facing the challenges and obstacles that come along. Research finding in 2016 concluded that digital transformation and agenda is critical for almost any industry to survive in the long run and this is only possible if one realises the benefits of the change.

The catalyst

Petrochemical companies in the UAE and around the world in recent years experienced gradual surge in changing customer needs, competition, ever evolving regulatory environment and cost dynamics; all weighing heavily altogether. Many chemical industries are thus focused on revising their operational and business models following the transformational trends.

With digitalisation now pervading industries and sectors across the globe, the change is crucial to compete on equal grounds. From simple to complex corporate processes and customer relationship management, digital solutions are a key to achieve smart business objectives, going beyond just improving the corporate core.

Digitalisation is thus considered the catalyst to unlocking business-wide innovation, welcoming an effective and interactive roadmap that includes;

  • Constant monitoring of the development associated to business innovation and adapting to the exponential technologies.
  • Enable collaboration on internal and external scale among cross-organisational functions.
  • Close and careful understanding of value generation with the digital platform

Chemical entities, while taking the turn have recognised the potential of digitalisation as a fuel to ongoing innovation and value generation. It’s clear and pretty much expected that such transformation would unleash full strength of shareholders value in terms of revenue growth, asset efficiency, operation margin, safety and sustainability.

The approach

Approaches, experiments and advancement following digital technologies are underway among the global as well as petrochemical companies in the UAE. Still, many industries are unsure of the benefits of this digital revolution and moving cautiously to leverage absolute digital makeover. With this, it’s important highlighting basic challenges faced by chemical enterprises that restricts them from completely achieving the digital excellence. These are;

  • Existing digital practices are often dispelled
  • The digital agenda and management responsible to supervise the entire procedure seems absent
  • Uncertain about the critical role of cyber security, talent management and strategic alliances
  • Swift business operations, sales and marketing with digitalisation in shortest time which chemical companies are uncertain about

Still, there’re many go-getters that realised the importance of digital initiative to fuel innovation but, majority is focused on data aspect. Senior management of petrochemical organisations are open to proactively drive the digital culture which helps in preserving the element of innovation.

Five enablers to digitalisation

During the research, digital enablers especially associated to chemical enterprises are outlined below;

  1. Development of transformation process with robust digital enterprise strategy and clear guidelines.
  2. Facilitate corporate-wide scalability with digital technology and assurance of a sustainable strategy to empower workforce in the chemical facility while maintaining eco-friendliness.
  3. A structured approach and clear path to risk identification and solution against complex and dynamic ecosystems.
  4. Execution of agile operating models to engage latest and prioritised resources for appropriate management of digital activities.
  5. Embedding incessant innovation within a culture that encourages fresh idea and learning.


Indeed, digitalisation looms large and crucial for industries to survive in the long run while competing on equal grounds.

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