CEO Blog

The Impact on Business

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is servicing new market needs while simultaneously disturbing existing products and services. New business models and value chains are emerging, and in some cases, supply and demand cycles are being slammed together to become one.

In almost all cases, new entrants have an advantage over incumbents. New entrants have vast access to capital, have no legacy infrastructure to transition into the future, innovate at the speed of thought and without political or organizational boundaries, and investors are more interested in grabbing subscribers and market share than generating profits in the early years of the 4IR.

Even more important than all of this is the ability to conceptualize in the 4IR, perhaps because the new inventors are borne of an age with a maniacal focus on the customer experience, transparency of their services, and a reinvention of how products and services are conceived, designed, delivered, marketed, sold, and supported.

Business leaders need to transform their thinking along fundamental lines to break synchronous orbit and achieve exponential thinking. How do we deliver solutions that are more customer-centric, faster, at greater scale, and are disruptive and thus provide higher barriers to entry?

In the 4IR, I see a new business codex:

  • It is more important to be fast than perfect
  • We need less data and more insight
  • Conduct less planning, and encourage more experimentation (and at scale)
  • Be customer-led, versus merely customer aware
  • Talent, in many cases, is more important than capital
  • The skills of critical thinking and creativity are more important than interpersonal and organizational skills
  • Innovation is real time, iterative, and not a linear waterfall
  • Experiment at hyper-scale
  • It is one world; build one company
  • Do for machines what we did for humans

There is a new latticework for the 4IR.

As the 4IR continues to disrupt, new business models will emerge. This is the topic of my next blog in the series.

To read more, download The Golden Age of Innovation.

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I’d love to hear your thoughts. To provide feedback, or if you would like to see additional topics covered in future publications, please add your comment below.

Mark Barrenechea

Mark J. Barrenechea is OpenText's Vice Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer. A prominent thought leader, he has extensive experience in information technology and his vision is to enable the digital world to help transform organizations.

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