The Missing “Turn to Practice” in the Digital Transformation of Industry
This paper reports on a “Industry 4.0” project supported by the government through the French public investment bank. This project was launched by a major industrial actor in the gas domain and aims at equipping its factories with digital technologies, and at connecting all these factories through a centralized supervision center, named Operational and Optimization Remote Center (OORC). Based on our observation in production sites and the OORC, we present the new organization of work that takes place in this context, and the digital artifact that was introduced to support it. We analyze its use and identify some failures related to the gap between its features and the existing documentation practice in the factories. We then claim that industry has to “turn to practice” to accomplish its digital transformation. This paper contributes to what we foresee as a research agenda for CSCW researchers wishing to contribute to the fourth industrial revolution and the related digital transformation of work in industrial settings.