Everyone is speaking about it. Everyone knows that something is happening. In fact according to Gartner’s 2016 CEO Survey, half of CEO’s expect their industries to be substantially transformed by digital.

Over the past few years, month we’ve seen significant technology evolution which is still going on. IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Drones, 3D Printing, Robotics etc. the list goes on and on. So it is clear that technology is at the center of the digital industrial revolution. Or is it really?

Is Technology advancement truly driving the changes? Does a company has to be fully digitized in order to be successful in the next decade? Will we interact more and more with digitized services instead of a human being? Will the human be replaced in every places by a digital service or a robot? If you read the World Economic report “The Future of Jobs” you’d might be tempted to believe this if you are not applying wisdom to the facts.

There is no industrial revolution driven by technology – the industrial revolution is driven by human needs and expectations, enabled by technology

A lot is indicating that the industrial revolution is all driven by these new amazing technologies. At least if you absorb all informations flying arround without putting additional context. You could believe that if you are not digitizing everything you’d be gone by tomorrow. This is all wrong. Don’t start by asking questions where you should digitize your services. Don’t take a technology lens on the changes currently happening. Put your customers and employees at the center, understand their new expecations, their new way of living and working. Understand the new culture driven by Gen Y and Z.
Identify then what is the CORE of your offering supporting these needs and expectations and only then apply the technology lens on it. Not doing so will also put you very quickly out of market as you would completely produce beside the market, customer expecations.

Don’t ask yourself which of your services should be “digitized” – Ask yourself what are your customers and employees new expectations which could be enabled by technology!

Let me give you a very simple example. Assume you are a physician. If you put technology lens on, you’d find very quick and easy ways to leverage technologies and be perceived as innovative. You could easily create net new services which are scalable over the web and thus bringing a whole new experience. But if you put your customer at the center, it might be that the core value you provide to them is trust (vs. innovative digital services). Thus your approach with technology might in this case rather be to leverage technologies to give you more time to be and discussing with patients and building on the trust expectations. Two completely different approach with same technology potentials which would lead into complete different usage route.

Don’t get me wrong. Technologies, digital capabilities are great and the potential is amazing. But the industrial revolution is far more than just new technologies. The 4th industrial revolution is driven by a new culture, a set of new expectations from customers, employees. Technology is an enabler not the cause.

In order to build the company of the future, you will need to put your customers and their needs/expectations at the center and build surrouding organizational and leadership capabilities. Read more about those in the MINT/CASH article here.