Industry 4.0: At the intersection of readiness and responsibility
Deloitte Global’s annual survey on business’s preparedness for a connected era
Business’s journey to balance profit and purpose is accelerating. A sharper focus on strategy and broader adoption of transformational technologies that benefit both business and society will help organizations get there faster.
Some have long argued that corporations should strive for profits above all else, that making money for shareholders is a company’s sole reason for being. But as the transformation to Industry 4.0 continues, more business leaders are starting to see a bigger picture and a larger responsibility.
Building on the last generation’s corporate social responsibility movement, a new form of capitalism seems to be emerging, one that considers a broader group of stakeholders and measures societal impact alongside financial performance. In August 2019, the CEOs of nearly 200 multinational corporations signed a statement issued by the Business Roundtable, publicly pledging to lead their companies for the benefit of customers, employees, suppliers, and communities in addition to shareholders.
In working to keep up with the pace of technological change, business leaders are also beginning to appreciate the need to nurture a culture of lifelong learning, equipping their workforces with the skills necessary to succeed in the future. And thanks in part to pressure from customers and employees, executives are expressing deep concern about climate change and resource scarcity, topics that were on few C-suite agendas just a couple of years ago.
In Deloitte Global’s third annual survey of more than 2,000 C-suite executives across 19 countries, we examined the intersection of readiness and responsibility to see how leaders are balancing this transition to Industry 4.0—capitalizing on advanced technologies to help propel their businesses forward while acting in a more socially responsible way, particularly in the area of environmental stewardship.
As companies face these new realities, leaders are seeking the right approach to four key areas critical to Industry 4.0: strategy, societal impact, talent, and technology. We found that some companies, particularly those with a comprehensive Industry 4.0 strategy, are performing well while others lag behind. This year’s report highlights some major trends and insights.