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Industry 4.0: Are you ready? 

While our exclusive survey finds executives optimistic about the potential impact of Industry 4.0, few are confident they are ready to lead its implementation.

The industrialization of the world began in the late 18th century with the advent of steam power and the invention of the power loom, radically changing how goods were manufactured. A century later, electricity and assembly lines made mass production possible. In the 1970s, the third industrial revolution began when advances in computing-powered automation enabled us to program machines and networks.

Today, a fourth industrial revolution is transforming economies, jobs, and even society itself. Under the broad title Industry 4.0, many physical and digital technologies are combining through analytics, artificial intelligence, cognitive technologies, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to create digital enterprises that are both interconnected and capable of more informed decision-making. Digital enterprises can communicate, analyze, and use data to drive intelligent action in the physical world. In short, this revolution is embedding smart, connected technology not only within organizations, but also our daily lives. 

So how prepared are organizations and leaders to embrace this revolution?

Not very. We surveyed 1,600 C-level executives across 19 countries to explore a core question: How ready are the leaders of businesses and government agencies to harness the full potential of Industry 4.0 to benefit their clients, their people, their organization, their communities, and society more broadly? Here are highlights of our key findings, described in the report The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here—are you ready?

  • Just 14 percent of respondents are highly confident their organizations are ready to fully harness the changes associated with Industry 4.0
  • Only a quarter of CXOs surveyed are highly confident they have the right workforce composition and skill sets needed for the future, despite 84 percent saying they are doing everything they can to create a workforce for Industry 4.0
  • CXOs overwhelmingly (87 percent) believe Industry 4.0 will lead to more equality and stability, and three-quarters say business will have much more influence than governments and other entities in shaping this future
  • Yet less than a quarter of those surveyed believe their own organizations hold much influence over critical factors such as education, sustainability, and social mobility

Our research found that while CXOs see new business or delivery models as the biggest threat to their organizations, they are largely using Industry 4.0 technologies as a tool to make existing operations more efficient and cost-effective. That leaves untapped tremendous opportunities to pursue innovative business models that may not only drive value for direct and indirect stakeholders, but better protect them from disruption.

Industry 4.0: Are you ready?
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