i4.0: The Digital Culture


The Lifeblood

Consumers are increasingly adopting digital lifestyles.

1st, the baby-boomers led the way by integrating our lives with e-banking and electronic communications (email, text and cellular phones) while Gen X and Ys have continued the journey into blogging, vlogging, instant messaging, social media and more recently AI voice.

The evolving digital life has enhanced dynamically both the “person to person” lifestyle and exposed us for who we really are, constantly seeking convenience and experiences.

every business must change how it operates and interacts with customers every day. Long-term strategies are no longer valid or sustainable, and change is the constant.

The key determinant of a successful digital transformation is culture. Technology, infrastructure and processes will flounder without the human element integrated. The human culture is the OS. Digitalisation starts and ends with human empowerment and the Digital Culture

Digital Culture - What Is It?

"It's how we do things around here"

It is the understanding and appreciation through doing. For any focused company and team, doing the wrong things that fail lead to doing the right things with understanding that work.

The successful digital culture is the platform for any forward thinking company. Understanding the customer's need for speed, personalization of product and buying experience, leads to digital innovation through the experiences of the customer, the user, the process and consumer experience.

In Industry4.0 there should be a framework throughout every cultural aspect of the business from Sales to Entrepreneur, from Creative to Risk.

Over recent weeks we've been scouring the globe, talking and exploring the critical elements that make up the tactical approaches to the i4.0 Digital Culture and this is what we found:

The Key Elements Of The Digital Culture


Some businesses can be seen as defensive, while others go on the offense. Defensive business strategies are reactionary and involve a wait-and-see approach, observing what competitors are doing and then responding. At the same time, they're apt to look back at past successes to define their future and or maintenance strategies to keep the status quo.

Offensive business strategies involve taking proactive, often aggressive action in the market. This action can be focused directly at competitors or aimed at securing market share regardless of the existing competition.


When you put your customer at the heart of your business, you collect a huge amount of data that under deep analytics gives you a full 360 view of him/her that can be utilized to give an enhanced customer experience. As an example:

  • Using it to understand their buying behavior, interests and engagement

  • Identifying future opportunities to create, in-demand and innovative products and services

Focusing on the customer makes sound business sense, but in addition, recent research by Deloitte found that customer-centric companies were 60% more profitable compared to companies that were not.

Smart Data usage

With an i4.0 approach, extended to both the customer touch-points, through the manufacturing process and back to the supply chain, there's a huge amount of data generated and captured. This data when intelligently analyzed offers new insights into enhanced Customer, Consumer, User and Operator Experiences.

This real-time and intelligent use of data sits at the heart of the Digital Culture. Impressing upon the organization across borders and networks, the invaluable knowledge gained should be empowering to all concerned.

Fail Fast:

Too many companies operate in a culture of perceived perfection; in other words, their people operate in a culture where mistakes are unforgiveable. Quickly defense and lack of innovation sets in. Any company pushing the boundaries of innovation will make mistakes. The key is to communicate with the customer, to try, to fail, to learn and to move fast.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP):

Any i4.0 pilot or series of pilots involves MVPs rather than POCs. The MVP is enough to satisfy the customer with sufficient features to satisfy the early adopters. The final, complete set of features is only designed and developed after considering feedback from the product’s initial users.

This approach bring to market a product that's collaboratively designed with the customer and can be rapidly rolled-out, unlike a POC that remains an internally focused project and someway short of customer roll-out.

You should be doing the least amount of work possible on each iteration before you test and release.

Flat Hierarchy

Flat organisational structures miss-out the concept of middle management entirely. Instead, staff members exist directly under executives, often working in teams rather than independently. Flat organisational structures may still include ‘team leaders,’ but these leaders will generally shift on a per project basis. During times of business growth, these teams may change substantially.

Ideally, a flat organisational structure is designed to empower individual staff members. As they must take on a greater role within the business, they become personally motivated to succeed. Without middle managers, there also exists no additional layer between the decision maker level and the staff level – making it easier to communicate and adapt.

Cross-functional teams:

In establishing a suitable MVP, along with the scaleable new products and or manufacturing line processes, it's important to have courted the thoughts of all connected IT & OT teams. The team needs to be focused and as detailed before, allowed to fail and learn fast.

Over the many weeks, months and years ahead as we advance through the i4.0 journey, we will enjoy sharing deeper insights into the essential Digital Culture. 

Enabling the Expertise

Always love to hear from you and to receive your feedback. Industry4.0 is enabled through the right people in the right place at the right time, which is where we come in to help you.

Should you need some further intelligence in pulling together, visualizing and delivering, we'd love to help.

Can't wait to hear from you, Andrew

Cell: +44 (0)773-241-3732

Email: asparrow@haigand.co

DM: www.linkedin/in/Andrew-Sparrow-4IR