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Digital Transformation in an Industry 4.0 World

Industrial revolutions tend to be followed by opportunity. The advent of digital technologies has comprehensively transformed industries, corporations and customers, presenting plentiful opportunities to restructure every characteristic of business. We call this revolution Industry 4.0. Big Data and Analytics, Autonomous Robots, Augmented Reality, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Cloud, Cyber Security, Horizontal and Vertical System Integration and Simulation, are widely considered to be the fundamental catalysts of this digital transformation. However, an important question in this Industry 4.0 world is whether we are using technology as an enabler and not the end goal? In some industries it is the end goal, but for most new companies it serves as an enabler that helps avoid starting from scratch and levels the playing field.

Transformation Trends:

1. Conscious and Curated Customer Ecosystems

Consumers are more connected than ever via social networks, customer interactions and data analytics. Business trends are definitively digital and consumer-informed. It is equally efficient to create customized products as companies can link the efficiencies of mass customization while creating and supplying a personalized product/service to consumers.

2. Digitally Upskilled Workforces:

Beyond connected consumers are empowered and increasingly upskilled workforces. With developments in ERP, CRM and Customer Experience Mapping, employees can view the entire supply chain and make informed decisions about products, marketing approaches and assembly lines.

3. Augmented Manufacturing Cycles:

Digital technologies have made on-the-go alterations to mass production a reality. Initially, technology like AR, VR and Cloud Analytics were accessible only to established organizations. Today, industries and creators of any scale can access and operate the same to maximize efficiency.

4. Enhanced Production:

IoT and ML capabilities, combined with continuous feedback will scale productivity by optimizing product alterations. Via live demonstrations and engagement, unique products can hit the assembly line with reduced time-to-market and capital investment.

Among the top cited challenges are:

1. Absence of united administration which complicates cross-unit organization.

2.Data-ownership concerns when choosing third-party vendors for hosting and operationalising company data.

3. Reduced confidence to begin a radical digitalization plan.

4. Shortage of internal talent to aid creation and sharing of Industry 4.0 strategies.

5. Problems with merging information across multiple channels to sanction connectedness.

6. Lack of information about technologies, vendors and IT outsourcing partners that could help execute the core initiative.

Industry 4.0 Trailblazers:

Industry leaders better identify dimensions—and subsequent trials—that the Fourth Industrial Revolution carries. Yet, among these challenges, a subsection of leaders is forging a path forward, comprising:

1. Socially Conscious Leads:

They believe societal initiatives strongly contribute to profitability, and such initiatives are fundamental to their business models. They are effective decision makers and innovators who develop socially or environmentally conscious products and services.

2. Data Pioneers:

They have strong decision-making processes using statistical, data -driven insights. Additionally, they are likely to invest in pioneering technologies, be ethically conscious about new technology, and upskill employees with relevant Industry 4.0 competencies.

3. Industry Prime Movers:

They are executives who both capitalize on new skills to shake-up marketplaces and competition, and create technology assets that have met and surpassed their envisioned outcomes. Their organisations are fully equipped to thrive in this Industry 4.0 world.

4. Contextual Knowledge Innovators:

These leaders possess unique contextual knowledge and deep expertise of their company’s work culture, products/services and customer base. Accordingly, they develop and grow their workforces and embrace their responsibilities to train their employees for the long-term growth prospects.

The Future

Experts believe corporations adopting Industry 4.0 trends will continue to thrive financially. A Wikibon study suggests businesses’ expenditure on Industry 4.0 will be around $500 billion by 2020, but this digital technology will create a value of nearly $1.28 trillion. Another study by Oxford Economics proposes that this technology applies to industries that account for the 62% of the G20 Countries’ GDP. The G20 Summit is an annual economic forum of 19 countries and the EU that together represent most of the world’s economy. Hence, there is a notable, seismic change in the industrial sector over the next decade as Industry 4.0 adoption grows.Technology cannot be allowed to overthrow human imagination. It must create financial success for corporations, but also meaningful collaborations by aiding humanity’s progress and boosting innovation. Contrary to an often-voiced opinion, it won’t decisively replace people. Rather, technology is simply an enabler for companies’ continued success, especially in the B2B sector. The end goal is to merge human values with Industry 4.0 and ensure they are conserved in this increasingly digital world.

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