Companies have a lot to gain from the rise of digitalization, especially those who are able to introduce agile and innovative ways of working.
The age of Business 4.0 has arrived. That much was made clear at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Summit Europe 2017.
The rapid integration of the physical, digital and biological worlds is impacting all industries and sectors. This provides significant opportunities to those companies who are ready to take advantage.
Here are my five key takeaways from TCS Summit Europe 2017 to help you make the most of these opportunities:
1 – Abundance is the new normal
In the past, technology has been used as a means of driving efficiencies, of making the most of scarce resources.
Business 4.0 turns this notion on its head.
As our CEO, Rajesh Gopinathan, noted in his opening address, Business 4.0 harnesses abundance.
Today, we have an abundance of data, algorithms and robots that use machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to carry out an abundance of tasks.
And the number of opportunities will grow infinitely as more advanced digital technologies come to the fore.
2 – Disrupt yourself
The word ‘disruption’ has negative connotations, but in today’s digital world it is something that companies should be striving for.
If organizations don’t disrupt themselves, then others will enter the fray to disrupt the status quo and take away market share from sleepy incumbents.
You only have to look at how fintech firms have revolutionized the banking sector to see how external disruptors can easily move ahead of existing players.
You need to disrupt yourself if you want to stay ahead.
3 – Show the benefits of change, without shouting about it
Business 4.0 is revolutionary, and can be a culture shock to many companies.
We heard at TCS Summit Europe 2017 that buy-in from the company as a whole is crucial if transformation projects are to get off the ground.
Workers must be won over and the best way of doing this is through demonstrating how greater digitalization will benefit individual employees, as well as the wider organization.
But rather than constantly talking about Business 4.0, the best way to deliver change is to stay silent until you can clearly demonstrate the operational excellence that it delivers.
4 – Execute, don’t wait
Nothing kills innovation faster than a failure to bring ideas to market.
In the summit’s discussion of superaccelerators – companies that are able to sustain long-term organic growth – it was made clear that part of these businesses’ success was their ability to bring ideas to market quickly.
They do this by aiming for excellence in a small number of areas, rather than being average in many.
This laser-like focus, combined with the latest digital technology, allows superaccelerators to develop and execute new ideas faster than their competitors.
As Dame Kelly Holmes advised at the summit: set a deadline to execute, then do it.
5 – Nurture the CEO-CIO relationship
The opportunities offered by Business 4.0 can only be harnessed if the person in charge of IT, be they the Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Chief Technology Officer (CTO), has an open line of communication with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
It’s a relationship that really does matter. The CIO needs to coach the CEO and their leadership team on the potential of the IT function – about the art of the possible.
Equally, it’s vital that the CEO fully commits to a digital vision if a company is to properly embrace Business 4.0.
Shankar Narayanan is the head of Tata Consultancy Services UK and Ireland.