Technology and speed: The fourth industrial revolution

Technology and speed: The fourth industrial revolution

The fourth industrial revolution ushers in the era of the Internet of Things, machine learning, cognitive computing and artificial intelligence.


The fourth industrial revolution ushers in the era of the Internet of Things, machine learning, cognitive computing and artificial intelligence. The speed of change will be, quite literally, inhuman, as the advance of D&A and cognitive and machine learning drive forward change more quickly than humans alone could ever achieve. At the same time, CEOs are in learning mode themselves about what the new technologies mean for their business. While the majority (63 percent) of CEOs believe they use D&A effectively, only 30 percent of them think they are a D&A leader in their industry. Interestingly, 42 percent of CEOs who expect to see growth greater than 10 percent in the next 3 years see their organization as a leader in D&A, compared to 26 percent of CEOs who expect growth at 10 percent or less.

top uses of D&A chart

“With so many strategic decisions now riding on the output of D&A, significant questions are starting to emerge about trust in the data, the analytics and the controls. As more businesses use algorithms to augment decision-making, there must be a heightened focus on trust, and it should be an integral property of D&A.” said Christian Rast, Global Head of Data & Analytics, KPMG International. CEOs believe there is room for improvement in trusting the effectiveness (61 percent), security (60 percent) and accuracy (59 percent) of their D&A activities.

The cognitive future

Twenty percent of CEOs indicated that cognitive is one of the top three areas they are devoting significant investment/resources to in the next 3 years. And nearly nine in ten (85 percent) are concerned with having to consider the integration of basic automated business processes with artificial intelligence and cognitive processes.

We are just entering the fourth industrial revolution, and the speed of change is exponential. But are we ready for it?

“It’s in our nature to get fearful of what has never happened before,” says Cliff Justice, Innovation and Enterprise Solutions Partner, KPMG in the US. What we are living through today is on the scale of the industrial revolution. The only difference is that then we automated muscle power and today we are automating brain power.

But any system is only as good as the data it is being fed. Are you satisfied with the quality of data we have today?

Data quality is a fundamental issue and challenge for every company. Companies that are on standardized enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems can compile data more easily, while companies that are very fragmented may have issues. We also need to change our understanding of what constitutes data. It is no longer only a tabular structure of rows and columns that are machine readable. Eighty percent of data resides in emails, social media conversations or images – the so-called dark data. Cognitive systems can access and interpret this unstructured data, which allows for making more data-based decisions, derived from a much bigger pool of data.

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