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3 Ways To Prepare Your Business For The Fourth Industrial Revolution

When thinking about digital transformation, it’s easy to get swept up in thinking about the big, flashy gadgets and trends. Honestly, I understand why. Acronyms like AI (artificial intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things) are woven into dialogue in the same frequency at major, global business forums as they are in the innovation centers of Silicon Valley and events like Mobile World Congress. Not only are these trends raising the expectations employees and customers have for our businesses, but they’re seated front row center in just about every CEO’s strategic agenda. We’re in the middle of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed. (Hint: You actually don’t need to be.)

If you maintain a reactive outlook on 4IR, it’s impossible to think of a way to manage it–it’s moving too fast. According to analysis from PwC, 4IR investments totaled $646 billion from 2012-2018, and continue to rise. The lines between humans and technology are blurring within each department of our organizations at record speed. Still, one of the hardest things to keep up with are the expectations of others. Which is why the best way to approach 4IR is to simplify it so you can anticipate its benefits proactively for your business. And one of the best ways to simplify it is to remember why we’re really all in this game to begin with: Digital transformation, at its core, is about helping our businesses spark new growth, relevance and viability into the future.

Business transformation used to be a once in a generation event. Today, the capacity to change has to be institutionalized. So, what does that mean in a world in which every organization is seeking to become a digital organization? Not every business exists to invent the next steam engine, wheel, computer, smartphone or any other technological advancement that changed the world as we know it. Today, technology has the ability to make or break every organization, regardless of its reason for being. Why? Because technology is no longer defined by a gadget in your hand. It defines the experience and relationship you have with an organization, and it is a key asset to helping your business solve your stakeholders’ problems. Most importantly, it’s critical to becoming fit for growth amid the challenges and market pressures businesses are facing today.

The decisions business leaders make today need to remain laser focused on that goal–future growth. And the best ways to keep that goal in your windshield are rooted in the following:

Reinvesting. In one way or another, just about every client conversation I have these days reinforces that business leaders continue to utilize and adopt technology to save time and money. This is where many businesses stop. When dollars are saved, boxes are checked. This is a mistake.

The question really isn’t about how much time, money or hours you’re saving, but what you’re doing with the time you freed up, the money you saved or the workable hours that were scaled back. Reinvesting in upskilling and tools in partnership with the employees who hold your organization’s institutional knowledge can fuel future growth. There’s no endgame in digital transformation, which means the learning must remain constant. Make sure the investments never stop.

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