Navigating The Industry 4.0 Maze With Digital Reinvention

Biswajit Mohapatra, Global Integrated Delivery Leader, CIO Advisory & Cloud Migration Factory, IBMIBM is the world's biggest technology company it manufactures and markets computer hardware, middleware and software, and provides hosting, consulting, and cloud-based services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology.

A Historical Perspective
The invention of steam engine ushered in a sea change in human lives. It was the first-time when machines did the physical heavy lifting, bringing the first industrial revolution. Then came assembly line mass production and computers, bringing-in the second and third industrial revolution. The fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0, is now upon us. To succeed in Industry 4.0, organizations need to reinvent themselves digitally, otherwise they will be pushed towards land of irrelevance.

The Revolution: Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 brings-in radical change in manufacturing processes and supply chain networks. It aims at accelerating innovation in productivity, quality and supply chain efficiency. Industry 4.0 is about enabling deeper competitive differentiation in an orchestrated digital ecosystem. It is fueled by advancement of digital technologies and is being propelled by several changes happening around us.

Change in Business Paradigm
Organizations are looking for ways to raise the conversation with client from point selling upwards to end-to-end digital experience. Mapping the journey and rebuilding businesses around experience is transforming the engagement model.

Digital Reality Altering the Rules of Growth
Digital technologies have brought-in unprecedented disruption and have also created a whole new paradigm of opportunities. The increasing maturity of Internet of Things, Cognitive Analytics, Cyber Physical Systems, Robotics Process Automation, Blockchain, Quantum computing, Additive manufacturing and Cloud Computing are pushing organizations to reshape business models and rediscover value chain.

Convergence of Business Paradigm Change & Digital Reinvention ­ Industry 4.0
Change in Business Paradigm coupled with Digital Re-invention has brought-down the revolution, which we are calling Industry 4.0. When the potential loss due to a small downtime can be humongous and the cost of product defects can eat-up a significant chunk of annual revenue, digitally reinventing your organization for Industry 4.0 has the potential to offer competitive differentiation.

Adopting Industry 4.0 with Digital Reinvention
Digitally reinventing your business for Industry 4.0 leverages various technological levers as described in below image.
Rediscovering Enterprises with Intelligent IoT
Industrial intelligent IoT with smart sensors & devices enables real-time predictive intelligence. Cognitive Analytics coupled with Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning enables deeper understanding of data creating actionable insights. Augmenting business processes with cognitive services, automating processes for intelligent conversation and innovating processes for full life cycle deeper insights is driving Industry 4.0 adoption.

Conversational AI technologies have initiated a new turn in human-computer interaction through humanization and it's helping financial firms reimagine how they work from the ground up

Digital Twin Realizing the Cyber Physical Systems
Cyber Physical Systems are next-generation systems with integrated physical, computation-al and communication capabilities designed to self-diagnose and make decisions based on their current state. Advent of Cyber Physical Systems ensures hardware and software components are reliable, configurable, scalable and secure with standardized abstractions and design principles based on model-driven architecture.

Robotic Process Automation: Changing the Future of Work
With Industry 4.0, organizations can work towards a zero-touch self-service environment through accelerated business process automation. Increased RPA can enable new ways of process improvement helping organizations to eliminate waste, optimize productivity and localize supply chain in a cost-effective manner.

Blockchain Driving Digital Accountability & Security
IoT devices send data to blockchain ledgers for inclusion in shared transactions. Distributed replication enables business partners to access & supply trusted & secured data without centralized management and control. The shift from linear, sequential business operations to interconnected distributed shared ledger will lay the foundation for Industry 4.0 smart factory and digital supply network.

Quantum Computing for Industrial Autonomy
Though Quantum Computing is still in early days, it's gaining momentum to revolutionize industrial IoT. Quantum cryptography is going to be the silver bullet for secure end-to-end communications in an autonomous ecosystem. Quantum computational-assisted design can create end-less opportunities for logistics planning, production process optimization and sustainable mobility solutions.

Influence of Additive Manufacturing
Additive manufacturing delivers environmentally conscious Industry 4.0 capabilities closer to customer, reduces the waste and allows manufactures to print when and where items are needed so that shipping cost & time to market is reduced.

Cloud is the New Democracy
Cloud Computing is the foundation for digital revolution. Cloud is enabling organizations to move quickly from innovative idea to product without big upfront investment. It is allowing businesses to scale-up & down quickly. APIs and Microservices are providing integration capabilities in a hybrid cloud environment.

Overcoming the Challenges of Industry 4.0
With new wave of revolution, Industry 4.0 is posing a new set of challenges. A major concern is security in a hyper-connected world. Cyber physical communications are difficult to achieve and require high degree of reliability and stability. Identifying and correcting misconfigurations is difficult at times coupled with scarcity of skilled professionals to implement these systems. How-ever, these challenges can transpire into huge benefits if managed correctly.

Industry 4.0 can empower organizations to pursue new business models. Organizations need to get started with an envision engagement, get immersed in innovation, create pilots to deliver the experience, leverage technology value drivers and keep iterating incrementally. Successful businesses of the future must digitally reinvent themselves. The early adopters win in this game. They can gain edge over competition by being able to deliver outstanding products better, faster and cheaper. Embracing Digital Reinvention will be the key to take your business to the next level in Industry 4.0.