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We are living in a world where every other organization on the planet is striving hard to sell their products / services to potential customers by wrapping them under the glossy and glittery packaging of digital transformation. Though, it might make their lives easier to achieve those conventional sales targets at the end of the financial year but in the real world, the truth is far from reality. It is strange to see that even baby-care product manufacturers are smartly projecting themselves as advocates of digital transformation without having any idea about its actual purpose.
While businesses are struggling to conquer the Industry 4.0 wave through adoption of cutting edge technologies like IoT, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, Machine Learning, Neural Networks, AR, VR and others along with so called agile product development, there is one thing that is definitely taking a back seat in this rat race and that is THE CUSTOMER. Every business claims to be heavily focussing on customer experience and to support their tall claims they are purporting to be massively investing in such cutting edge technologies. But ironically, they are facing a hard time accepting and digesting the fact that in this race of aimlessly running towards delivering customer experience through heavy technology armoury, business mergers and acquisitions, they are still struggling with the nightmare of customer acquisition and retention.
Now, the million-dollar question: Is Industry 4.0 actually living the dream of digital transformation in delivering an outstanding customer experience?
Industry 5.0 might be the answer to this question that strongly focuses on mass customization of customer experience powered by an enterprise wide agile culture and global collaboration amongst communities. Some might consider it crazy here by thinking that Industry 4.0 is still evolving through emerging technologies, how could we even think about transitioning to Industry 5.0. All those who have this thought are right with their perspective because they have kept Technology in the pilot seat of their respective businesses. But, the ironic fact is that for businesses to survive, it would require them to offer that pilot seat to the Customer and evolve the technology around in fulfilling customer aspirations.
Industry 5.0 provides that optimum ground and environment for such emerging technologies to grow and deliver solutions capable of delivering a bespoke customer experience to the masses across the planet. Every customer has a specific comfort list and budget bracket while considering to buy a product / service and fulfilling those requirements is in actual sense delivering value to the customer and eventually one’s business.
I believe below are some of the key principles or foundation stones of Industry 5.0.
- Enterprise Agility: Agile as a term has been widely exploited by businesses as a methodology/framework/processes/technology for their individual benefits. Promoting agile as a culture in every corner of the business is what it is actually meant and not limiting it to a specific function or department. In today’s rapidly changing customer demands, its enterprise agility that helps in dealing with such rapid situations which any business can’t afford to back off.
- Mass customization: Building technological platforms capable of expanding to any size and scale in offering maximum possible product/service customization flexibility to every customer by respecting their requirements in terms of pricing and comfort.
- Cultural Collaboration: Accepting the fact that every battle can’t be won at homeland. Hence, it is crucial to think beyond commercial and political benefits by joining forces across multiple geographies and win some common grounds. Higher the collaboration would give birth to better ideas and deliver some highly refined best products / services.
- Cyber Physical Cognitive Systems: Combining the capabilities of Cognitive (Human) and Cyber Physical (artificial) intelligent systems would help in tapping optimum benefits from the machines in terms of performance and purpose.
- Transparency: In today’s rapidly connecting world, cheap business tactics of earning margins have no place for existence. Promoting transparency across the business and with customers would help acquire trusted employees and customers.
- Customer Obsession: The primary purpose of the business should be focused on resolving customer pain and not business constraints. Starting and ending everyday with customer in mind should be a priority. Engineering and re-engineering business processes and systems around customer aspirations would be the key to success. Engaging customers in every phase of the business journey would help capturing valuable insights in developing products / services meeting their desired expectations.
- People Centric: Employees are the soul of any business, first advocates and potential customers outside the company premises. Offering a fair growth environment to employees in every aspect would help in retention and overall business prosperity.
- Green Manufacturing: Adopting sustainable manufacturing practices of utilizing renewable resources, less polluting and environment friendly materials for product development would help giving back to mother nature and healthy future to human generations.
It is high time when businesses should start consider integrating cognitive sense to their cyber physical systems which by combining the capabilities of artificial and human intelligence would live the actual purpose of industrial digital transformation and deliver some promising solutions to the masses across the planet. Since, Industry 5.0 works on the fundamentals of collaboration between man and machine, hence, the threat of losing jobs to rapid automation would be eliminated to an extent and would help promoting upskilling of manpower to take up some new roles that never existed. Also, it would help businesses recover their return on investments quicker by saving overhead costs on sales, marketing and other redundant activities as they would be committed on delivering deserving value to their customers.
It is a question to the business leaders out there, are you still aspiring to run aimlessly towards technology focused business growth or face the reality and build a future proof customer centric agile organization?
“Customers Acquired might stay longer, but Customers Earned would always stay forever!”
P.S: This article was written at 2 am in the morning, hence the author’s views might appear over ambitious or unrealistic to some readers. Views are personal, thoughts are welcome!
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