Technology. Information. Disruption. The world is moving faster than ever before at unprecedented scale.
Businesses today are operating in the next industrial revolution, and the rules have changed. This is Industry 4.0. It is imposing new demands on the enterprise—and creating new opportunities.
The Five Industrial Revolutions
Industry 0.0 spans most of human history. It was a difficult time. To quote Thomas Hobbes, life was “nasty, brutish and short.”
Things changed in Industry 1.0. The first industrial revolution introduced steam and water power. It brought us mechanization and the means by which we could start to improve quality of life for everyone.
Production and standards of living advanced again in Industry 2.0 thanks to Edison and the invention of electricity.
Industry 3.0 was another crucial tipping point. The third industrial revolution generated great wealth with the introduction of technologies like nuclear power, the integrated circuit, computers and satellites. It gave rise to electronics, telecommunications and automation. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) technology was king in this era of process advantage.
The technologies of Industry 3.0 have become so foundational to the modern world that it is difficult to remember (or imagine, if you are a Gen Zer) life without them. They made it possible to communicate instantly with people on the other side of the world. They replaced tangible money with bits and bytes. They changed the means of production yet again, this time with widespread automation. Computing now runs everything—governments, utilities, economies, business processes, you name it.
But of course, technological advancement did not stop at Industry 3.0. In fact, it sped up.
We have now demonstrably entered Industry 4.0. And it is different. Industry 4.0 is an age of extremes. Extreme connectivity. Extreme volumes of data generated and transmitted in real time. Extreme speed of innovation. Planetary scale. Five billion connected consumers. One trillion devices. Nanotechnology, graphene and quantum computing. It is down to the atom. And while oil, coal and gas were the resources of past revolutions, today’s resource is information. It is sitting in rich data lakes just waiting to be tapped.
Industry 4.0 is transforming everything, in every industry. The lines between the physical and digital are disappearing. Things are possible today that would have seemed like magic only 20 years ago. The rate of change is incredible, and it is only going to get faster. It’s amazing to think that we have been alive for two of the industrial revolutions when there have only been four in the entirety of human history. Will we witness the fifth industrial revolution in our lifetimes, too?
To survive Industry 4.0, organizations need a new agenda. Enterprises are facing strong headwinds such as information overload, the proliferation of cybersecurity threats, changing customer expectations and global regulatory shifts. Process advantage—the darling of Industry 3.0—is not enough.
We must all unlock the full potential of our information and transform into Information Companies.
I am excited to announce the launch of my new whitepaper, called “The Information Advantage.” It is a comprehensive exploration of why companies need the Information Advantage now more than ever, and most importantly, how they can get it.
This is also the focus of this LinkedIn series. Over the course of this series, I plan to include these topics:
- The Information Opportunity
- What Is the Information Advantage?
- EIM Provides the Information Advantage
- The Information Advantage Value Path
- Obstacles to Attaining the Information Advantage
- Technology for Information Advantage—EIM Platforms
- Technology for Information Advantage—EIM Accelerants
- We Are All Information Companies
- Technology for the Good
Stay tuned for my next article, where I will discuss the new technologies of the Information Age and the significant opportunities they present.
How has Industry 4.0 changed the business landscape in your industry? How do you see it changing in a year from now? Five years from now?
By Mark Barrenechea