Industry 4.0 – what does it mean for your business?

March 5, 2020

Barry Maxey, client technology director at Armstrong Watson, reflects on how the emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution – Industry 4.0 – is changing market demands

n the past few years, a Fourth Industrial Revolution has emerged, known as Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 takes the emphasis on digital technology from recent decades to a whole new level, with the help of interconnectivity through the Internet of Things (IoT) and access to real-time data. It offers a more comprehensive and automated approach to business, connecting the physical with the digital, and allowing for increased levels of collaboration between departments, partners, vendors, products and people.

Industry 4.0 empowers business owners to better control and understand every aspect of their operations, and allows them to leverage instant data to boost productivity, improve processes and drive growth.

The technology world is growing and learning at a rapid pace, making life for growing businesses easier every day, as they are saving time and money by doing things like running reports and stocktaking automatically. This gives your business more time to acquire new business or provide excellent service to your existing customers, instead of manually doing every single task.

One aspect that is influencing the rate of digital transformational change is changing market demands.

The business technology that collectively makes up Industry 4.0 has revolutionised the way companies operate, by enabling small businesses to level the playing field with larger organisations. Small businesses use an array of tech, such as mobile devices, to develop competitive advantages in the economic marketplace, and meet the growing market demands placed on them by the modern customer.

The customer of today is much more expectant than before, and now assumes that they will be able to contact a business at any time, on any device, wherever they are. It is also the expectation that the level of quality communication and their experience with your brand will be the same across all of these devices. Having a different experience across devices can lead to a bad experience for a customer, who expects a certain level of service that they have had previously, over the phone, online or in person.

This is where the idea of ‘omni-channel communication’ comes from, having the ability as a business to connect and communicate with your customers and prospects whenever, wherever and however they need to.

To fully adopt an omni-channel approach, a business must be able to deliver the same, highquality experience across every single customer touchpoint. Messaging must be consistent across all channels, including on the phone, through social media accounts, on the website, on any mobile apps and many more.

Today’s customers are fickle and impatient. If their needs aren’t met or even understood quickly, there’s no instant gratification, and in the overpopulated market we all now operate in, it is easy for them to find someone else.

Understanding customer communication habits using the technology developed during the wave of Industry 4.0 can help you track your customer interactions and turn them into intelligent insights so that you can make the most of your customer relationships.

In short, when embracing digital transformation, SMEs need to safeguard their brand experience across all of these different channels. When done successfully, an omni-channel approach can lead to an increase in customer retention, add value to your brand and make your business stand out in the crowd.

Armstrong Watson
For help and advice to assist with technological change within your business, please contact Barry on 0808 144 5575 or email barry.maxey@armstrongwatson.co.uk
www.armstrongwatson.co.uk

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