Written by: Lateef Khan

Business Development Executive | General Manager Digital Services & Solutions | P&L Leader


We have officially entered the next industrial revolution. Yes, I mean Industry 4.0. It’s a time where everything and anything is becoming connected via the Digital Thread and leveraging all the data coming off these devices, equipment, systems and products in an effective manner to drive new business outcomes is becoming necessary to be competitive. Industry 4.0 is the transition to factory automation, data exchange in manufacturing technology and processes, which encompasses the internet of things (IoT) and the industrial internet of things (IIoT), cloud computing and artificial intelligence. It’s not just harnessing, aggregating and providing analytics on all this data to enable digitalization. This would be way too simple.


You have to understand that historically these enterprise systems had a specific intended use and being siloed in your function and delivering value in your function was the expectation. In fact there was never a strategy or plan to bring these siloed systems of processes, people and data together. In addition, the impact of automation was also never clearly understood and articulated. As such I welcome you to the clash of civilizations.


Now there are many areas where we see this clashing occurring. Below are some examples where companies are being significantly challenged.


Bringing enterprise systems of data together in a useful manner can be a bit of a nightmare when there was never proper thought given to this circumstance. The data can be unstructured, out of sync, it can have data model differences and, and ultimately of poor data quality.


Your teams and people are the most valuable aspect of one’s organization. Many of them are bright, passionate and used to working in a particular manner for long periods of time. However bringing these functions together and learning how to work together in a team approach, while transforming your processes and complementing your processes is another case of frustration and a clash of civilizations.


Most organizations still are measured and held accountable within their function and silo. This is where they get measured. An Engineering organization for example is not evaluated on how well manufacturing builds products. The advent of the digital twin and digital thread across the enterprise is forcing companies to rethink how goals and functions are measured.


We are at a time where millennials make up at least half of the workforce in contrast to baby boomers who represent a sizable amount of the other largest groups in the industry. How these generations are able to work together effectively and efficiently is yet to be seen
Companies are still not utilizing their data effectively and they have not quite figured out how to transform data into an asset. One example is to leverage field and operational data in a closed loop fashion to enable engineering to continue to improve and make better and high quality products.


So in summary, Industry 4.0 is not just about new technology and connecting data across the enterprise, it’s forcing functions and people to collaborate and work together in ways they have never done and ultimately defining the Future of Work. The companies that can figure this out will have a key competitive advantage and a secret ingredient to success in their digital transformation.


Would love to hear from your own experiences. Are you seeing similar challenges? How are you addressing them? Please share and look forward to your inputs!