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Use Innovation To Foolproof Your Businesses

Every business need to ask themselves — Is our organisation ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

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The Fourth Industrial Revolution, a concept introduced at the World Economic Forum in Davos by Klaus Schwab in 2016, describes a fundamental shift in the business and social landscape — a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.

Steam power drove innovation in the first industrial revolution. It was followed by the age of science and mass production, and then the digital revolution. We’re now at the beginning of the next phase of technological expansion and social change — the fourth industrial revolution.

We’ve got new innovations pushing us forward in the form of the cloud, social, mobile, IoT, and AI. Pair those with higher computing power and big data. The fourth industrial revolution has created a smarter, more connected world. And it continues to be built around us right now.

The truth is this revolution is so profound, we can’t predict all the challenges and risks that may come. How do we prepare our current workforces? How will the means needed to consistently innovate align with the organisational imperative to compete at lightning speed?

With technology you can begin to connect the dots; the dots are information. For instance, healthcare, like banking, has deep-seated foundations centered around the creation of a hospital, with all other healthcare elements wrapped around it. Data and emerging tech are disrupting that concept with new innovations like virtual doctor visits, connected medical devices, and the ability to interact with physicians in different ways.

Why does your business need to be prepared? Adopting and integrating the digital and physical technologies that exist today improves your operations and productivity and sets the foundation for future innovation and growth.

Companies that don’t start building the technical infrastructure and data analysis capabilities that are the lifeblood of the fourth industrial revolution won’t make it through. Also, Customers are increasingly at the centre of what’s known as the digital economy. To be successful, businesses need to shift from a transactional model, focused solely on selling products, to a relationship model.

For businesses, the test is truly about self-learning and improvement through digital literacy and practical tips. Being future-compatible also means changing your mindset from a threat mentality to a growth mentality. Otherwise, no matter how sophisticated the technology adoption, businesses won’t be able to truly absorb it because they haven’t prepared their people.

Another major influencer for businesses is how companies use the data that billions of people are sharing online every day. All of this data is like food for artificial intelligence. AI is driving innovation across growing numbers of products and services, and the more data you have, the better the predictions get.

Machine learning algorithms can analyze these billions of transactions and variables to make businesses smarter. For instance, in retail they can highlight consumer sentiments toward a brand or predict which customers are mostly likely to purchase a particular product. In manufacturing, they can optimize supply chain operations and predict the failure of machine parts. In travel they can plan vacations with the acumen of a human assistant. In healthcare, they can assist doctors in identifying different types of cancer cells and spotting intracranial abnormalities in real time.

And so here we are, all of us together, poised at the beginning of the fourth industrial revolution.  Every business need to ask themselves — Is our organisation ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Magazine 28 April 2018 innovation

Nitin Singhal

The author is Regional Vice President, Salesforce India

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