We recently came across a very interesting study from Deloitte (PDF), surveying 2,000 C-level executives about their attitudes and outlook towards Industry 4.0 initiatives. The results were decidedly mixed. 70% of the respondents believe that their long-term success will require the integration of Industry 4.0 technologies into their business, but only 10% have actually implemented any long-range strategies to make it happen.
Across the board, executives said that they had no discernible long-term strategies for digital transformation. There were also a relative handful, usually well less than 20%, who said they were utilizing ad-hoc implementations in specific areas.
The reason this matters is that those few companies who do have a coherent strategy are seeing significant returns from it! Among that 10%, nearly 3 in 4 said that they’ve had success protecting their business from industrial disruption or competitors. And nearly 2 in 3 said that they’ve already been successfully developing innovative new services and products – far more than those utilizing ad-hoc methods.
So, for Industry 4.0 transformation to work, you genuinely need a long-term strategy. Here are a few areas to focus on, based on the most popular initiatives among those surveyed:
The Internet Of Things
72% of applicable respondents are focusing on the IoT, and it’s no surprise. The ability to link devices via networks has incredible potential to enhance data-gathering, troubleshooting, remote monitoring, and overall productivity. For industrial operations, this is among the most powerful tools in the Industry 4.0 toolbox.
Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
We’re just scratching the surface of how AI can improve businesses, but 68% of the long-term planners are helping to make it happen. Machine learning systems can help oversee industrial operations by monitoring hundreds of indicators at once, or by tracking and learning from customer service interactions. We’re not at the point that AI can take over any particular job, but they can do a lot of automation.
Cloud Data Infrastructure
Frankly, every business larger than a startup should be thinking about Cloud-based data structures, and 64% of the planners agree. Cloud-based systems greatly improve network reliability and recoverability, while also protecting your data from cyber-criminals. In addition, they help ensure universal access to data and documentation no matter where your workforce is.
Modern business runs on data – and 54% of the relevant respondents recognize this. The ability to gather and collate huge amounts of information is allowing true business intelligence; decision-making not based on guesswork, but on genuine real-world feedback. Analytics can do everything from improving optimizations within a factory, to spotting customer trends which point towards new product or service offerings.
FUSE Enables The Actualization Of Industry 4.0 Strategies
Two things are clear: You need a real long-term strategy to make the most of Industry 4.0 upgrades – and they need a lot of buy-in from across your organization to happen! Digital transformation works best as a top-down initiative, but it requires collaboration and cooperation from people from across your workforce, in every department.
FUSE helps make that happen. It’s a free-to-utilize platform that enables communication, sharing, collaboration, and learning across your entire ecosystem. From your execs, to your sales outlets, to your most enthusiastic social media supporters, FUSE can bring everyone together and help ensure your Industry 4.0 upgrades go as smoothly as possible.