Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 20 - Page 94

/ FINAL WORD ‘It’s time to look over the horizon at your digital future’ Simon Carpenter, Chief Technology Advisor at SAP Africa, says the Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to widen the digital divide and is particularly critical to Africa if it is to fully participate in the global economy. I t’s unplanned, unstoppable and inescapable. That sounds like a tsunami, right? Not quite. It’s the Fourth Industrial Revolution; a wave of exponential and converging technological progress that is washing over every facet of our world. It is demolishing our received wisdoms about how the world works and should be structured. It is leaving the less agile to be tossed aside as disrupted detritus while the bold, the prescient and the innovative create and capture new opportunities. The Digital Revolution paradigm shift In fact, simply calling this the Fourth Industrial Revolution is to do ourselves a disservice because it lures us into thinking that this is simply a faster, cheaper, smarter version of the three waves of the Industrial Revolution that have brought humanity thus far. It tempts us to think that we must just buy the next shiny piece of technology, incorporate it into our legacy organisation and processes and it’s ‘business as usual’. That progress is linear. It’s not, it’s a step change. It is better to call this the Digital Revolution. It is a radical inflection point that gives humanity an opportunity to correct many of the imbalances, injustices and inequities that have arisen because of the Industrial Revolution. And, for us in Africa, it presents an opportunity to build globally competitive economies and far more inclusive, equitable societies. However, to achieve the full potential of this Digital Revolution requires new and different thinking; a new mental architecture willing to takes risks and to experiment one’s way into the future. We must be cognisant of the fact that the pace of change is too fast and dynamic to get into paralysis by analysis and lengthy, tortuous planning cycles. New levels of collaboration and partnering between global stakeholders that we haven’t seen or experienced before will accelerate progress. New skills and competencies, that we may 94 INTELLIGENTCIO