Businesses in India are making better progress than others in dealing with challenges of the fourth industrial revolution on key aspects of society, strategy, technology and talent, a survey said on Monday.
In its annual 'Readiness Report' released on the first day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in this Swiss ski resort town, global consultancy giant Deloitte said global leaders are facing the pressures of preparing their businesses and workforces for this new era, with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) re-shaping how the world lives and works.
However, Indian businesses are taking a proactive approach to train their workforces for the future and they have the most clearly defined decision-making process of all executives.
The Indian executives also demonstrate the ability to generate profit from purpose and they are most concerned about the ethical use of Industry 4.0 technologies, the Deloitte survey found.
The five-day WEF summit, being attended by over 3,000 global leaders including more than 100 from India, has the main theme of 'Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution'.
According to the Deloitte report titled 'Leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Faces of progress', certain geographies, especially businesses in India, have demonstrated the right aptitude for success in Industry 4.0.
This is because of their focused approach to upskilling their employees, linking customer satisfaction to societal impact and profits and above all, the ethical use of Industry 4.0 technologies, Deloitte said in its second annual 'Readiness Report'.
This year's survey of more than 2,000 C-suite executives across 19 countries included 130 respondents from India.
Many respondents acknowledged they are still in the early stages of navigating Industry 4.0.
However, businesses in India are making better progress than others in dealing with the challenges within the four major areas of impact they were measured -- society, strategy, technology, and talent.
Globally, organisational roadblocks appear to be limiting the development of effective Industry 4.0 strategies and many leaders continue to shy away from bold technology investments that drive innovation and disruption.
However, in two critical areas -- societal impact and talent development -- CXO attitudes have changed dramatically from 2017, indicating leaders are becoming more realistic about what it takes to succeed in Industry 4.0.
"Poor decision making processes are holding back many companies globally, but this seems less significant in India. The recognition that customer satisfaction many times leads to social impact initiatives is higher in India than in the rest of the world is an interesting data point brought out by the survey," said Kumar Kandaswami, Partner, Deloitte India.
Globally, 34 per cent of the respondents indicated that the societal impact is the most important factor business leaders use to gauge success, whereas customer satisfaction remains a top priority for Indian executives (29 per cent).
In India, 85 per cent said their organisations have developed a product or service to make a more positive impact on society -- the second highest of any country -- compared to 73 percent globally.
As many as 58 per cent of Indian leaders - the most of any country - said their organisation has a clearly defined decision-making process.
From India, 65 per cent said they have permission from their leadership to fail and learn in the context of innovation (global 69 per cent).
Further, Indian executives are more concerned about the ethical usage of Industry 4.0 technologies (India 55 per cent, global 30 per cent) and are taking action.
More than four in ten (41 per cent) of Indian executives also indicated their organisations are investing in new technologies to disrupt the market, compared to 33 per cent globally.
While Indian executives are less confident about knowing which skill sets their workforce will need in the future (India 53 per cent, global 63 per cent), they are working to be more prepared, Deloitte said.
Nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) say they will extensively train their current employees, compared to only 43 per cent globally, and 55 per cent say they are doing everything they can to create a workforce for Industry 4.0 versus 47 per cent of global executives.
When it comes to preparing the workforce for Industry 4.0, Indian leaders are just as challenged as their global counterparts by the mismatch between current skill sets and those needed for the future (India 55 per cent, global 55 per cent).
They foresee attracting talent as far less of a challenge (India 39 per cent, global 48 per cent) than retaining talent with the necessary skills (India 52 per cent, global 46 per cent).