Are business leaders ready to harness the full potential of Industry Revolution 4.0 to benefit their clients, people, organizations, communities and society more broadly? That’s the core question explored in a recent Deloitte global survey that polled 1,600 C-level executives across 19 countries, coupled with select interviews, included 130 respondents from India.
What ultimately emerged was a picture of the opportunities and challenges these global leaders saw in creating new value in a changing world—a picture that conveys both hope and ambiguity.
In its annual ‘Readiness Report’ released on the first day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Switzerland, Deloitte said global leaders are facing the pressures of preparing their businesses and workforces for this new era, with the Fourth Industrial Revolution re-shaping how the world lives and works.
What is heartening to note, though, is that Indian businesses are taking a proactive approach to train their workforces for the future and have the most clearly defined decision-making process of all executives. Businesses in India are making better progress than their international peers in dealing with challenges of the fourth industrial revolution on key aspects of society, strategy, technology and talent.
The report, titled ‘Leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Faces of progress’, found that Indian executives also demonstrate the ability to generate profit from purpose and they are most concerned about the ethical use of Industry 4.0 technologies. This is because of their focused approach to upskilling their employees, linking customer satisfaction to societal impact and profits and above all, the ethical use of Industry 4.0 technologies.
Over 3,000 global leaders, including more than 100 from India, are attending the five-day WEF Summit where the main theme is ‘Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution’.
Globally, organisational roadblocks appear to be limiting the development of effective Industry 4.0 strategies and many leaders continue to shy away from bold technology investments that drive innovation and disruption. However, in two critical areas – societal impact and talent development – CXO attitudes have changed dramatically from 2017, indicating leaders are becoming more realistic about what it takes to succeed in Industry 4.0.
“Poor decision making processes are holding back many companies globally, but this seems less significant in India. The recognition that customer satisfaction many times leads to social impact initiatives is higher in India than in the rest of the world is an interesting data point brought out by the survey,” said Kumar Kandaswami, Partner, Deloitte India.
As many as 58% of Indian leaders said their organization has a clearly defined decision-making process. 65% Indian respondents said they have permission from their leadership to fail and learn in the context of innovation (the global percentage stood at 69). Further, Indian executives are more concerned about the ethical usage of Industry 4.0 technologies (India 55%, global 30%) and are taking action.
More than four in ten Indian executives also indicated their organizations are investing in new technologies to disrupt the market, compared to 33% globally.
While Indian executives are less confident about knowing which skill sets their workforce will need in the future (India 53%, global 63%), they are working to be more prepared, Deloitte said.