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Of all the burning issues discussed in boardrooms and think tanks, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4) takes top billing. The pace of disruptive technological advances is dizzying. From the Internet of Things (IOT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled process automation, to 3D printing and connected wearable devices, there is a storm of disruption sweeping through many business sectors.

Governments are looking for business partners to solve big problems, such as climate change, sustainable food production and clean energy. New challengers are taking on established market leaders everywhere, from the high street to banking and healthcare. As a business leader, you’re already embroiled in an increasingly disjointed and complex environment.

IR4 is changing the rules

Markets and media are more fragmented. New products and services emerge more quickly, with entire start-ups created in weekend hackathons. Meanwhile, established companies are re-structuring their budgets and teams to be more nimble.

Technology – as in the previous industrial revolutions – is once again changing the face of business. But, keeping up with the pace of innovation and digital transformation is a huge challenge. You have a vast amount of data and business intelligence at your disposal but, like most executives, you’re overloaded with such information.
With less time for critical thinking, it’s difficult to focus in this new, complex landscape. That can be dangerous. Even if your business is successful now, unless you can step back and see the big picture you could find yourself struggling to keep up with market challengers.

For many, the IR4 disruption is happening now and it’s happening fast. Already, the world’s largest taxi firm, Uber, owns no cars. And the world’s largest accommodation provider, Airbnb, owns no property. Your customers are increasingly demanding, and you need to provide greater agility in your business model.

But where do you start? Our research has identified five business growth accelerators:

  • Marketing power: knowing when and how to connect with the right customers
  • Business Intelligence: leveraging data for insight and competitive advantage
  • Future readiness: embracing modern workplace trends
  • Agility: developing the ability to change and move fast
  • Collaboration: employees spend 80% of their time on collaborative projects but need support to do this efficiently.

Revolutions are, by definition, dynamic and disruptive. This Fourth Industrial Revolution offers boundless opportunities for organizations that can innovate and embrace change. However, to do that, they need to adopt continuous learning.

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