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The fourth Industrial Revolution is here -- are you 4IR ready?

The change is seismic. The impact, drastic. The potential is limitless. The fourth Industrial Revolution doesn’t have to be your enemy. We’re witnessing a shift where unforeseen technological innovation and advances are driving customer expectations. These demands often pose challenges to industries, companies and leaders to not only deliver on their customers’ needs, but understand how these technological advancements can benefit their businesses. Moreover, they must begin to anticipate market changes driven by technological innovation.

When tackling the fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), there are four primary factors business leaders should consider:

  1. Strategy: Blending disparate emerging technologies to advance strategic goals is one of the key challenges in preparation for the 4IR. Quite simply, there is no off-the-shelf “4IR kit.”
  2. Growth: When a 4IR strategy is designed and carried out correctly, it is agile and resilient, capable of incorporating tomorrow’s new technology and business models with as little disruption or redesign as possible.
  3. Trust: Data powers the revolution. But customers’ willingness to entrust companies with sensitive information about their lives and businesses hinges on the quality of experience offered to them and knowing their data is protected.
  4. Workforce: Demand for digital talent is at an all-time high, and companies cannot wait for there to be enough graduates or trainees to fill it.

So, how do we address these considerations? Turn the revolution into your business’ evolution.

When faced with the challenges to digitize our own business and to understand the technological disruption taking place across the market, we created several solutions. From reshaping our business model to bringing the creative industry inside our four walls, there’s a series of efforts we’ve taken to adjust to the market and inspire significant change within our PwC culture. We also focused on expanding our talent with different backgrounds and recently embarked on a digital upskilling journey with 55,000+ individuals across the U.S. The key here is that it is a journey.

As companies are looking to reshape their businesses to respond to technological innovation, they must keep the following principles in mind:

  • Understand both business model innovation and product innovation. Simply put, typical product innovation will no longer be enough. Leaders will need to balance product innovation with the more radical approach: business model innovation. By focusing on business model innovation versus product innovation, the focus shifts from the organizations of today and toward the organizations of the future.
  • An increase in cross-sector activity. Deep knowledge expertise has proven critical in traditional business models, but as we look to evolve, having the flexibility to work and collaborate cross-sector is imperative.
  • Hiring isn’t the sole answer on talent. We can’t expect to solve digital disruption by only hiring digital talent. The digital fitness of all staff, new and existing, is part of the culture shift necessary to motivate and retain your workforce, while preparing them for the needs of tomorrow.

It’s a journey. One that requires a highly adaptive mindset with a fluid approach, a deep knowledge of new technologies and an even broader understanding of how all parts of businesses are impacted by this revolution. Yes, it’s difficult laying out a strategy for a future with uncertainty, but the key is to start now.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

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