Editorial: Sprinting toward the future Deloitte Review, issue 22

As Industry 4.0 gains traction and speed, how the world works and lives is being redefined, reengineered, and reinvented. The short-term reality: Businesses must prepare.

Punit Renjen, Deloitte Global CEO

Imagine it: Self-driving cars preventing thousands of accidents a year. Wristwatches monitoring vital signs to warn of impending heart attacks. Factories running at optimal capacity, with every process monitored and adjusted in real time. With the emergence of big data, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, and more, this is the world being ushered in by the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0)—and it’s manifesting at breakneck speed.

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I thought the advances that helped accelerate my career during the last industrial revolution were astounding (think email, the internet, and mobile devices). Yet the complexity, speed, and scope of Industry 4.0 are unprecedented. Technology is being introduced not merely to enhance production and efficiency or solve operational issues, but to create entirely new markets. Individuals and small businesses are now primary innovators of advancements that disrupt markets—and they are merging the physical and digital worlds from community-based creative labs, coffee shops, and college classrooms. Today’s disrupted are yesterday’s disruptors. And as Industry 4.0 gains traction and speed, how the world works and lives is being redefined, reengineered, and reinvented. The line between the digital and physical is blurring. 

In this context, disruption is certain. But so is opportunity. This is the nature of change, and although no one yet knows what the long-term implications of the fourth industrial revolution will be, the short-term reality is simple: Businesses must prepare. And they should be prepared to act—quickly! That can start with being open to new ideas despite the potential discomfort of ambiguity, being proactive in seeking informed insights, being ready for the unexpected, and developing and employing multidimensional thinking. Organizations are competing in the equivalent of a marathon run at sprint speed on treacherous terrain. Uncertain? Urgent? Absolutely.

With that in mind, we have revamped the way we curate and publish insights generated by our more than 264,000 people. As part of this effort, our award-winning Deloitte University Press has become Deloitte Insights, delivering timely, globally relevant, experience-based insights to help organizations like yours navigate their toughest challenges—including Industry 4.0. 

Deloitte Review will continue to be published biannually by Deloitte Insights. In this issue, you will get a taste for the depth and breadth of our thinking by reading about how ready—or not—CXOs are for Industry 4.0 by previewing findings of a global survey we’re unveiling at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting this month. Among other articles, you’ll go inside Formula One team McLaren to see how advanced manufacturing techniques are deployed, learn why the chief marketing officer role may be due for redefinition, and find out how chief executives cope with disruption.

I hope you enjoy reading this magazine as much as our Deloitte leaders enjoyed writing it. And when you’re done? Buckle up. The future is here and it’s going to be an exciting ride.