Industry 4.0 – It’s never been more important but what unanswered questions still remain?

Three6 | 5 April 2020


Industry 4.0

It’s the era where humans and machines are working so closely together that the lines are becoming blurred. This is causing a change in not only what we do and our responsibilities but the way we do it. The technology, however, is agnostic; it doesn’t matter what you use what matters is your approach and how you change the way you work.

Whilst we are hearing this in our social channels, what we are seeing time and time again is when an organisation starts their transformation journey, they focus on the technology implementation and the customer experience. Both of which are needed of course and when done well will return benefits. But they are missing a critical element for success, their employee experience.

Employee Experience

An international bank approached us recently to support their transformation strategy, except their strategy, however, wasn’t a strategy but a list of technology that would change their end to end approach. Okay, but what else? How do you engage your people? What do they need to know now? How do they work with the tech? How do you keep up with the changes so that you can continuously be leading rather than lagging and how can you sustain the agility needed in today’s fast-moving world? 

None of these questions were asked, let alone answered in their strategy and all of which are heavily embedded in the future of work. 

With strategies like this, that vital element that’s often missing is the people you need, the capabilities you require and the understanding that we can’t learn the way we used to. To lead your organisation through transformation, successfully and sustainably, you need to be able to continually adapt and move with the environment you’re in and this means working with agility. You need to fundamentally change the nature of how you think and run your organisation.

The organisations that are attempting this are looking at large scale agile implementations, establishing innovation hubs, new operating models and structures and many of which are short-lived due to lack of results being seen. As described in a recent AFR article “Banks can’t do tech transformations” only 25% of investors are confident that the tech transformation strategies will be successful, with digital transformations failing to deliver. 

So where’s the gap? Why aren’t we landing these transformations successfully or sustainably? How do we move into the future of work? 

Well, first we need to answer the following:

  • Why are new ways of working important and how do they support the required transformation?
  • What is the return on investment for new ways of working?
  • How can organisations best extract the value?
  • How does this deliver on an improved employee? 

And let’s not discount that implementation is really hard. Even if you have the perfect model many organisations have tried and failed to deliver that value.

  • So how can your implementation approach best extract that value? 

It goes without saying but researching, learning and experimenting with different approaches is needed to find the winning formula and we think we’ve got it pretty well figured out, but tomorrow brings yet another set of challenges within a totally new environment.