Leaders like the idea of Industry 4.0 more than reality

Deloitte survey shows executives would rather avoid disruption than cause it but they are putting a new priority on employee training.

Leaders like the idea of Industry 4.0 more than reality

Deloitte survey shows executives would rather avoid disruption than cause it but they are putting a new priority on employee training.

C-suite executives are on board with the mindset of Industry 4.0 but they are still figuring out the action plan to turn goals into reality.

Industry 4.0 is the idea of connecting physical assets and advanced digital technologies—the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), robots, drones, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, cloud computing, and nanotechnology. The goal is to collect, analyze, and act on data to make data-driven decisions.

Deloitte's new report, "The Fourth Industrial Revolution: At the intersection of readiness and responsibility,"shows how quickly opinions have changed about climate change and social impact over the last few years.

Two years ago only 35% of executives listed positive impact on society in the top 5 corporate goals; now the number is almost 60%. 

Corporate leaders have shifted their thinking on climate change also, with 48% stating that climate change is a top responsibility for the current generation of leaders, and 54% said they are taking some actions to address it.

Two years ago, only 10% of executives believed their companies could influence environmental sustainability.

The disconnect between stated priorities and actual business practices show up quickly, however. Survey respondents listed "generate revenue" as the top reason to focus on societal issues (42%),  followed by pressure from external stakeholders (39%) and pressure from employees (22%).

Leaders haven't made the connection between positive social impact and Industry 4.0 tech, either. The report states that "only one in five leaders said they are prioritizing investing in advanced technologies that have a positive societal impact."

If IoT technology can reduce electricity use and water consumption, that could also boost a company's positive impact.