Innovation has always been about moving forward—and we have come a long way from the first set of computing machines and industrial plants. Now, we are moving to a place where innovation itself is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. Now, we are automating the manual labor along with automating thinking itself. This has been made possible because of breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). These innovations have revolutionized our way of problem-solving, consequently surpassing the current operations. The current age. This has led to a whole new avenue where we are on the brink of a total operational revolution.
Thanks to the recent innovations in AI and ML, industrial revolution 4.0 is just around the corner. However, not every business manager believes so. Most of them are at a crossroads with a hard choice—betting on the future or going continuing with old standards. Let’s discuss the three most significant challenges managers will face in the post-digital era.
The cultural shift
The traditional company culture is based on automation and repetitiveness. And that is where a lot of disruption is happening. Evolving it into a creativity-driven culture has become the new differentiator for success. Just setting up ops and pumping in money isn’t guaranteed to get you returns. The market has become way too competitive, demanding that you get innovative.
The problem is that while the first industrial revolution replaced workers’ jobs with machines, the fourth will replace their brains with software. What this will mean for the company is that its positive performance will depend solely on the creativity of its workforce.
Artificial intelligence is gradually replacing man in all repetitive tasks and in the analysis of objective elements. We already see this in customer service, reporting, and medical diagnoses.
Business model transformation
COVID-19 has pushed companies around the world to digitize. However, we are witnessing two recurring errors of interpretation—the first is to use technology with the sole intent to survive the current crisis. The second is to use it with the same methods and criteria used for traditional processes. In both of these scenarios, investing in new technology seldom gives an enterprise the return it should. In some cases, it even hinders their growth—or stunt it completely. It is just about the way of leveraging digitization for a competitive edge as it is about digitization itself.
Innovation is not a mere technological evolution. Managers of the post-digital era will have to create new business models that will allow companies to generate more value with technology. New technologies like AI and ML have immense potential—but only if they are used for innovation rather than just task automation.
The future will be characterized by the convergence of multiple technologies. And this technological convergence needs to correspond to a new customer vision. Managers will have to create models that go beyond products and services to embrace the entirety of the customer’s needs. To embrace the customers for who they are and to be with them through every step of their journey. That is the future of customer experience.
The most important thing to understand is that the needs of consumers will no longer be satisfied only by practical aspects, such as futures or purchasing experience, but also by moral and ethical issues. The customer of the post-digital era will have a strong need to know that the companies they rely on are pursuing a cause that will make a concrete contribution to building a better world.
The post-digital era is upon us, and although the coronavirus has accelerated its advent, it will take some time before crossing this horizon. However, we must prepare immediately, because time passes quickly, and as we have learned this year, sometimes it accelerates suddenly. I hope the above-mentioned imperatives serve you well and set your priorities straight.