The Fourth Technological Revolution: Why that Matters to Businesses

Lawrence TillsonAugust 29, 2019

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is the digital revolution. It started in the middle of the last century, and has been typified by technology permeating physical, digital, and biological realms. The speed at which technology is evolving is unprecedented, and it has impacted essentially every industry in every country. The technological leap forward presents significant amount of opportunities, like the potential rise of global income levels and quality of life. The opportunities are ten-fold for consumers, who now have entry to the digital world. In this new world, consumers have access to new products, services that weren’t even dreamt of a few decades ago. Potentially, the rise of technology will make costs drop, more effective supply chains, and will open new markets driving the economic growth of the future.

What all this means for businesses is that the speed of innovation and the dramatic disruption are difficult to plan for, and the CEOs are constantly taken by surprise at the unpredictability. Other than the difficult surrounding making a fool-proof strategy, the supply side of the industry is seeing technology that is changing existing value chains. Global digital platforms for research, development, marketing, sales, and distribution can replace the established systems by improving on quality, speed, and/or price. On the flipside, the changes on the demand side are, an increase in transparency, consumer engagement, and new consumer behaviours; which could force companies to adapt their products or services to fit the new bill. New technological platforms are combining supply and demand, disrupting the structures already present in the industry. Those new platforms are also rapidly transforming into new services, in a variety of different industries.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing business in four key aspects; customer expectations, product enhancement, cooperative innovation, and organizational forms. Customers are currently being shifted towards the limelight, and the companies are aiming to improving how they serve their clientele. Physical products and services can have digital facets to increase their value. Data-based services, analytics, and customer experiences requires new forms of cooperation to continue to build considering the high amount of disruption and innovation taking place. Organizational forms will have to be completely reconsidered and reformed in the light of the new business models and the new platforms. The digital shift of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is driving companies to re-examine the way they do business, and the only way forward is to challenge the old-fashioned ways of business, and to persistently and ruthlessly innovate.

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