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Tech Disruption: Top 10 Steps to Achieve Industry 4.0 Goals Industry 4.0 and AI is not about data scientists coming up with solutions. It needs support from top down. With automation, job roles change and people need to reconcile with business transformation

By Ram Narasimhan

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Having the technology and data alone is not enough to succeed. Businesses need a well thought out strategy that clearly defines the objectives for Industry 4.0. Here are ten things that everyone should be thinking about.

1. Have a clear objective

It is important to start with clear objectives for your Industry 4.0 data strategy. Evaluate exactly how mature you are at the start and what it will take to close the gap. Work backwards from where you want to be. Technology can be expensive so by prioritizing the measures that bring the most value to your business, budgets can be correctly aligned.

2. Senior executive support

Industry 4.0, data and AI is not about a team of Data Scientists coming up with solutions. It needs support from the top down. As soon as a business begins to automate processes, job roles changes and people need to find a way of accepting the transforming business culture. A top-down approach helps to remove any potential blockers

3. Experimentation

Industry 4.0 relies on having massive amounts of data. On day one, you might be starting with a blank canvas. For example, how do you know the optimal temperature for production if the sensor has only just been installed and not created data yet? Small experiments will start gathering data and learn over time. You might start with a narrow scope and widen that with experience.

4. Be pragmatic

If standards and infrastructure don't exist yet you are not going to be able to set those up overnight. Be pragmatic in your approach and aim for the "low hanging fruit" before starting to climb Everest.

5. Analyse the gaps

The chances are that you need a lot of support to achieve your objective. The right technology is difficult to develop, and the right skills can be hard to find. It is important to fully review the market, finding the right people to work with. Include strategies for how you will develop your own employees to fit the new infrastructure.

6. Data expertise

Industry 4.0 depends on data and analyzing it in creative ways to spot opportunities or potential efficiencies. Businesses need to learn how to get the most out of the mass data coming from their devices and use it to make decisions. Again, starting small with proof of concept ideas is key and using the data to support any claims you have.

7. Let's get digital

The whole business will need to adapt to a digital culture. You may have people who have worked in a factory for a long time and feel more comfortable working with pen and paper. This simply won't be feasible in an Industry 4.0 environment and you will need to find ways that help them develop.

8. Change is incremental

Industry 4.0 is not a business project that has an end date. There must be a continuous cycle of improvement as new data and opportunities are discovered. If anything, companies should strive to keep getting faster and making best use of new technology to stay ahead of the game.

9. Collaboration is king

Working with third parties can be a useful exercise, especially in smaller businesses who do not have access to large volumes of data. Sharing of knowledge can be beneficial for all parties where they do not have conflicting interests. The success of Industry 4.0 relies on working with other digital leaders.

10. Data, Data, Data

We've spoken about data a lot in relation to Industry 4.0 but it is almost impossible to stress just how important having adequate capabilities for data collection and storage is to success. Using algorithms to process data and spot outliers is imperative whilst also providing traceability of processes that are a cornerstone of Industry 4.0. Some have said that data is now a more valuable asset than oil and Industry 4.0 certainly has the potential to realize this.

Industry 4.0 is here and if businesses are going to remain competitive, they need to invest else risk falling quickly behind. AI, IoT and data are starting to truly power the future and those making best use of new technology and information are already seeing improved efficiency, productivity and cost reduction. The AI revolution is in full swing.

Ram Narasimhan

Global Executive Director -- AI and Bigdata, Xebia


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