The Fourth Industrial Revolution, known as Industry 4.0, is a revolution in business. The following quote is about Industry 4.0, “45 percent of the activities individuals are paid to perform can be automated by adapting currently demonstrated technologies” quoted from McKinsey & Company and can be found here. These technologies exist and they are affordable. In addition, much of the technology is easily and quickly implemented without a heavy load on internal information technology (IT) departments. This combination of attributes paves the way for quick market acceptance.
For these technologies to function as intended, digitalization is required. Digitalization is the process of using digitized information to change business models and create value. In other words, digitalization is a digital environment (no paper) in which the information is used for analysis, innovation, value creation, operations, and office administration. It is not about replacing people.
Digital efforts must be at the forefront of customers’ and employees’ acquisition and retention experiences. The goal of each interaction is a frictionless experience regardless of how an interaction occurs. Singular interaction points are not robust enough for this scenario. Multichannel or omnichannel are.
Multichannel options offer interaction through multiple mediums (channels). For example, multichannel options are reflected in accessing offerings through multiple devices and locations.
Omnichannel options offer interaction through multichannel options plus more. These channel options allow for on-demand support and services. For example, omnichannel options are reflected in chatbots and live support by employees.
Digitalization goes beyond no paper and channels. It is everywhere; in a physical office, home office, co-working space, coffee shop, or park and can be across town, across country, or on the other side of the world. This expanse of digitalization in conjunction with the Internet of Things allows for an interconnected ecosystem of consumers, businesses, and regulators. A digital strategy is necessary to successfully maneuver through this intertwined global system.
A digital strategy is a component of an overall company strategy; and aligns with and supports the overall company strategy. Like an overall company strategy, a digital strategy is translated into components, and ultimately actionable steps. A strategy’s components are interlaced with all other components constructing an ecosystem.
Ecosystems have long been a topic of management conversation; however, companies historically have not succeeded in in creating a seamless ecosystem. The lack of historical success is rooted in technologies not being readily available and affordable. This is no longer an obstacle. The technology of Industry 4.0 is precipitating evolution of this holistic approach.
Components of a strategy and all sub strategies are vetted to translate into actionable steps. Within a digitalization strategy, there are four components.
4 digitalization strategy components
- Operating Model
- Transformation Mapping
The diagnostics process identifies the strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) from conception of digitalization continuing through its infinite life. The SWOT analysis quantifies how and to what degree, identifies root causes, and formulates actions where needed. In addition, viewing the SWOT through the lens of innovation breeds value creation.
The operating model builds the framework consisting of the details of the industry, people, technologies, and operations. Operating models in Industry 4.0 promote the optimal collaboration of people and technology focusing on value creation through empowerment and experience.
Transformation mapping identifies the touch points along your processes including critical moments of truth that will make, or break, experiences, innovations, enhancements, and friction points, among other areas. When done correctly, transformation mapping will help leaders engage with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
A digital workplace spans virtual and physical realms with the goal of enabling a seamless collaborative work environment. A truly digital workplace brings together people with devices, applications, data, mobility, and collaboration tools tailored to each employees’ responsibilities and preferences on persona-based models instead of single services.
A revolution by its very nature fundamentally changes business. Digitalization is a key component for success in this new revolution, Industry 4.0. Digitalization realizations will result from a correctly executed digital strategy.
Remain open to the new realities to realize competitive advantages. Throw out the way “it’s always been done” business. Accept these new realities to fully transform.
4 new (digital) realities
- Technological ownership
- Interdisciplinary and inter-functional teams
- Normalize change
- Experience first
Much of the technology is easily and quickly implemented without a heavy load on internal information technology (IT) departments. New technologies are designed for the leadership along the value chain to do the “heavy lifting” and not the IT departments. This naturally aligns ownership with the new “heavy lifters”.
Interdisciplinary and inter-functional teams with an end-to-end view of impact are ideal for a digitalized reality. Understanding the digital journey through internal and external users lead to success within the new reality.
Change is to exist in a continuous form in companies. Project management and re-engineering disciplines are not designed to grasp a digital ecosystem. Transformation using these techniques won’t happen one day with the flip of a switch. Instead, project management and re-engineering are incorporated into every employees’ daily job functions allowing for continuous change.
Technology has brought about an experience first expectation and as technology continues to expand so does the expectation. Like technology, this expectation isn’t limited to customers only. As customers, everyone has become accustomed to experience first. For business, this translates to experience first for customers, employees, suppliers, and other stakeholders – anyone that interacts with the company.
Each of these new realities will emerge from the digitalization transformation. A lack of evidence of these realities is indicative of not truly transforming, but instead creating digital documents and still “pushing paper” in a digital form.
A digitalization strategy is made up of four components and each component is fundamental. New digital realities emerge with a successful digitalization strategy. Lack of evidence of these new realities is indicative of not truly transforming.
Digitalization is a first step in experience first with a goal of frictionless interactions. A digital strategy is designed as a component of the overall strategy with collaboration across all other sub strategies and their components. Digitalization is a key component of success in Industry 4.0.
Chief Market Creation and Compliance Officer