In the business world, the term “Fourth Industrial Revolution” is gradually gaining traction. What began with steam and water power has evolved into advanced computerisation and technology that is ready to disrupt virtually every industry at breakneck speed.
The acceleration of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and the digitalisation of our life is possibly one of the most significant consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. Do businesses, on the other hand, fully comprehend the revolution’s potential and challenges?
What is the fourth industrial revolution?
Before we look at the opportunities that may come as a result of the 4IR, it’s important to first grasp what the 4IR is all about. It refers to how the Internet of Things (IoT) and cyber-physical systems have changed and transformed how we work, live, and interact. Connected devices will be able to visualise and interact with the production chain as more sophisticated technologies pervade the workplace, automating decision-making.
Despite the fact that it appears to be the next step in the Digital Revolution, this revolution is unique in its own right. It is disrupting every industry on a global scale and driving monumental change at unprecedented speed.
Opportunities and challenges
Before you can plan for the future, you must first understand both the opportunities and the challenges.
The possibility to maximise the quality of life and earning potential on a global scale is a massive advantage of the revolution. This entails new technologies that improve the efficiency and convenience of our already connected environment. Connected tools that increase teamwork, workplace automation and connected devices that improve corporate operations will all be seen. Disaster preparedness may also be a result of the revolution.
One of the most pressing challenges is that stakeholders’ and decision makers’ approaches are often conventional and nonlinear, preventing strategic thinking about future-shaping innovations. Furthermore, the revolution’s changes may be so rapid and severe that even the early adopters may be left behind. In other situations, the changes may set off a chain reaction, making it difficult to catch up. As a result, any company’s future strategy must be well prepared in order to minimise the damage.
Preparing for the changes
To stay ahead of the revolution, businesses must take a strategic and proactive approach to influence how technology affects our environment on a global scale.
Businesses must invest in data analysis as well as technical infrastructure that facilitates connectivity. Any company that does not embrace smart devices and automation is going to fall behind.
Leaders must also be adaptable and innovative. A professional’s most valuable tool is the ability to embrace change. A smooth transition will require a focus on training and skills that help staff adapt and think critically.
By Zuko Mdwaba, Area VP, Salesforce South Africa.