We have entered a time of unprecedented exponential change driven by technology; the profound impacts are felt across all dimensions of the global economy. The industrial markets are not immune to these changes. In fact, in many ways the industrials are at the epicenter of some of the greatest change (e.g. Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, digitization, big data / machine learning, Products as a Service).
For many industrial leaders, this represents a significant new challenge. For years, the corporate agenda was dominated by globalization and the operating priorities of outsourcing, enterprise system deployments and lean operating practices. Now we find ourselves at a time where effective technology adoption has become the new imperative. Technology pervades our products, our processes, and the workflows of our people.
Yet corporate leadership is often ill-equipped to guide an organization through this uncharted territory. Setting a technology-centric agenda from the top can be difficult as technical fluency and multidisciplinary perspectives may be lacking or scattered throughout an organization ... difficult for leadership to harness.
Simple application of consumer-grade technology to an industrial product is not sufficient. Outsourcing technology innovation is not sustainable. New skills and processes along with a new vision may be needed to energize an organization to achieve technological differentiation. Internal investments must be carefully balanced with partnerships and acquisitions to drive meaningful long term success.
Thriving in a world of exponential change will not be easy but the alternative to action is disruption.