Crystal Ball: Business Resilience in 2030 and the Digital Dexterity Effect

Manufacturing Leadership Council Crystal Ball Series Manufacturing in 2030 Project

Digital transformation is today’s tested and proven path to business resilience. We help manufacturers digitally transform to strengthen their resilience every day. But our era is defined less by permanence than by alacrity of adaptation. Manufacturers must already evolve their approach to business resilience to remain competitive.

Granted, the need for this evolution is neither intuitive nor obvious. And in fairness, resilient manufacturing enterprises in 2030 will look much like such enterprises do today. But the means for achieving and sustaining resilience by decade’s end will be radically different. Here’s why, and how to prepare for it.

Why business resilience will be different in 2030

Resilience describes a business’s ability to adapt to change effectively and efficiently. For many reasons, data-driven manufacturers are indeed able to adapt well. That’s why businesses that aren’t already data-driven are becoming so.

But digital transformation is a continuum. And few companies believe they have done all they need to do in their transformation. Most recognize that they are in the early or intermediate stages of digital transformation. That will change.

By 2030, businesses that lead their industry will have passed beyond the stages of digital transformation. The businesses will have entered a state of digital dexterity. In that state, business resilience manifests in sharply different ways than it does today.

How business resilience will be different in 2030

Business resilience based on digital dexterity has many facets. Among them, three stand out as being potentially unexpected. First, high-level objectives will remain vital to defining initiatives aimed at strengthening business resilience. But those objectives will not be the exclusive driver. Digitally dexterous manufacturers will employ a fluid governance model. This reflects the future reality wherein company-wide resilience initiatives will emerge from diverse organizational levels, and not always from the top.

A second difference in the way business resilience will manifest lies with the workforce. Digital dexterity means making sure that the workforce has access to, and understands how to use, your business’s data and technologies. Employees will have the information they need to understand how changing their own workflows could have wide-reaching benefits. They will be able to see ways to boost resilience from their specific position. These will be ways not obvious from a top-down view.

In fact, the top-down view will itself be different, which is the third key facet we are considering. Digital dexterity will mean that all executives – not just those in IT – feel at home with technology. In the same way that an executive today can assess how well one staff member is performing, they will be able to assess how well a technology is performing. For example, is a particular AI algorithm doing what it should, and is it enabling the desired business resilience outcomes? That level of digital literacy will be a basic requirement for leaders in digitally dexterous companies.

What you can do now to prepare for the future of business resilience

We’ve called out ways of enabling business resilience in the future that will be strikingly different. Preparing for those differences will set you on the right path. A cultural awareness and acceptance of shared responsibility for business resilience takes time to develop. But it also follows naturally as your workforce evolves on the path to digital dexterity. The key here is to ensure that everyone in your organization has the opportunity to participate in the digitization of their roles. Organizational change management will be instrumental in this workforce development.

Establishing a higher baseline of digital literacy among your leadership team takes time as well, and you’ll need to begin soon. Leaders must be able to evaluate technologies for their effectiveness as intuitively as they do employees, but that is predicated on educating and training leaders with the requisite skills. Ideally, upskilling and reskilling should always remain slightly ahead of technological change.

Business resilience in 2030 will be decentralized and deeply integrated in the manufacturing enterprises’ people, processes and technologies. It will be the inevitable outcome of your organization’s digital dexterity.

To learn more, please visit NTT DATA’s manufacturing page.


About the Author
Siva Gurupackiam is Senior Vice President of Manufacturing Industry Solutions at NTT DATA.

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