11 January 2024

How is digital innovation underpinning OCI’s growth?

In this Q&A, Manish our Global IT Director for Infrastructure & Operations spoke to us about how digital innovation is underpinning OCI’s growth and sustainability strategy.

Digital innovation is underpinning OCI’s growth and sustainability strategy.
Can you explain the importance of IT to a business like OCI?

In today’s business landscape, IT is no longer just a support function; it’s a fundamental part of an organization’s DNA. It goes beyond traditional tasks like fixing laptops or providing mobile phones. IT now plays a crucial role in enabling and enhancing business operations, driving innovation, and ensuring efficiency. If you think about it, IT has become the fourth utility for businesses, alongside essentials like water and electricity.

How does IT innovation, particularly the use of new technologies like AI and data analytics, set companies like OCI apart from their competitors?

IT innovation, especially in areas like AI, data analytics, and automation, gives companies a significant competitive advantage. By harnessing the power of these technologies, businesses can automate repetitive tasks, streamline operations, and make data-driven decisions. For instance, we’ve implemented robotic process automation (RPA) at OCI to automate tasks like invoice processing, improving efficiency.

What’s more, by standardizing and digitizing processes, businesses can scale more easily, adapt to changes, and make informed decisions globally. This is particularly crucial for a company like OCI, which operates globally and requires consistency in IT services and data management across various locations.

Can you give any examples of how we’ve put that spirit of digital innovation into practice?

One exciting project we’re working on is the concept of “plant in a box.”. When we build physical plants, we’re simultaneously creating a ‘digital twin’ of it, a digital copy that includes the entire infrastructure, application stack, and network setup. Digital twins allow us to use technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to simulate scenarios and test changes before implementing them in the physical plant. For example, we can model how adjusting the speed of a turbine fan impacts operations without making real-world changes.

We recently had a team in the US laser scan one of our plants and created a VR model using Oculus Rift devices. This allows us to provide immersive plant tours, which are incredibly beneficial in various ways. One significant use case is for recruitment fairs. Instead of the traditional booth with brochures and banners, we can invite potential talent to explore our plant without ever having to set foot in it. It’s a fantastic way to excite and engage prospective employees and showcase our operations.

How is OCI leveraging digital twinning and VR for design and project management?

These technologies are transformative in project management. The digital twins can be accessed remotely. Engineers and stakeholders, whether they’re in the same office or across the globe, can put on VR headsets and walk through the project as if they were physically present. They can inspect components, identify potential issues, and make informed decisions—all without the need for extensive travel. It ensures that what we’re building aligns perfectly with our vision, reducing rework and time delays.

What does OCI’s sustainability strategy mean to you, and how does your role contribute to it?

OCI’s sustainability strategy represents a commitment to making a positive impact on the environment and society while advancing as a global organization. In my role, I contribute to this in several ways including:

  • Cloud adoption: We’re moving our services to the cloud, which allows for on-demand resource allocation. This reduces energy consumption and waste associated with maintaining physical data centers.
  • Supplier engagement: We work with suppliers who prioritize sustainability. By choosing eco-friendly products and services, we contribute to a greener supply chain.
  • Reduced printing: We encourage digital practices like scanning to email rather than printing. This minimizes paper waste and energy consumption associated with printing.
  • Technology efficiency: We focus on optimizing IT resources and energy-efficient technologies. This includes monitoring and managing power usage in data centers.
  • Sustainability education: We educate employees about sustainable practices and encourage them to adopt eco-friendly behaviors both in and out of the workplace.
And finally, what has been your biggest achievement since joining OCI?

Bringing the global team together and starting to think about things on a global level. We have teams from different areas of the business and all over the world, we work across different cultures, time zones, and backgrounds and we have really come together into one team. That’s what I’m proudest of, working with Alex Rammal, Group IT Director at OCI and the other IT leaders to develop a team culture and develop a roadmap for where we want to be, what else we want to achieve. As a company, OCI feels like it has a lot of momentum behind it, and that’s true of IT too, things have stepped up and I’m looking forward to seeing how we continue to grow and evolve in the coming years.

To find out more about how you can have an impact in a career at OCI, visit our careers site here.

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