Future tech and AI: It’s buzzword crazy!

Posted on 5 Nov 2018 by The Manufacturer

In a fast-changing world, talent experts Boyden provide insight into focusing on what is important for the sector’s future.

It’s buzzword crazy in the industrial world – AI, IoT, cloud, quantum computing, big data, Industry 4.0…to name just a few.

Underpinning this whirlwind of innovation there are industry associations, conferences, thought leaders and consultants, all driving content, ideas and speakers to the fore to support organisations and their leaders understand what it all means and what they should be doing.

Artificial Intelligence Industry 4.0 4IR Automation Robotics - Stock Image

It’s all too easy to fall deep into a quagmire of advice, opinion, prediction and prophecy, and end up focusing on a single topic; for example, AI.

The key is to ensure two points are clear:

  • AI is certainly one part of our current digital lives and is not just a technology of the future. From how we order on Amazon with its predictive offers to engine manufacturers identifying future stress points early in an engine’s cycle, it is, or should be, a part of all leading companies’ evolving business model – today.
  • Convergence of all the different aspects of technology and data is the core of any discussion. AI is just one part of the full spectrum of interconnecting and interdependent elements of Industry 4.0, or of the ‘ambient internet’ predicted to drive our business activity.

What does this mean for business leaders?

Successful leaders surround themselves with talent that has a strong understanding of, and clear vision for, the way converged technology can create increased value for the business, and embrace the fact that they are on the digital journey.

They understand that converged technology is in the here and now, not something way off down the road.

‘Business as usual’ is over

Technological change and digital evolution is operating at a furious pace, and this speed means ‘business as usual’ no longer exists. This leads to unpredictability, which means it can be challenging to know exactly what the effect of continuous change will be on the bottom line or on productivity.

In turn, shareholders will not completely understand how the company will evolve and this creates uncertainty, which can affect stock markets and lead to conservative reactions.

This article first appeared in the November issue of The Manufacturer magazine. To subscribe, please click here.

The truth is, unless leaders create a business culture that celebrates and thrives on opportunity and uncertainty, and step up and engage technologists and disruptive thinkers to create the new ‘HOW’, then they will be left behind.

The modern digital leader needs to be the board’s strategic driver of the business, working in close collaboration with the CEO. Talent from different industries and geographies is needed to drive and maintain business momentum. At the same time, assessment, training, coaching and development of the workforce through the inevitable change in skillsets is vital.

As for the worry about AI eliminating jobs…in the short to medium term jobs will be aplenty, they will simply be different.

Where next?

Boyden support companies with culture assessment and development, executive search and interim management. We assist organisations through evolving needs and readiness for change.

Please do contact us to discuss any aspect of this article and to receive the results of Boyden’s Senior Executive Survey, exploring the impact of technology and AI transformation on the consumer manufacturing sector.

Uncovering global challenges and areas of opportunity, the Survey reveals the skills necessary for success and the path forward for executives and companies to compete in an era of rapid technology and AI innovation.

Your next step: Read more about Boyden’s work at www.boyden.com

Claire Lauder, Partner, UK Boyden Interim Management.

Claire Lauder  Partner, UK

Boyden Interim Management

Francesca d’Arcangeli, Managing Partner, UK, Boyden Executive Search

Francesca d’Arcangeli  Managing Partner, UK

Boyden Executive Search