The fourth industrial revolution ‘will be a business reality within the next 10 years’

Software giant Oracle has teamed up with the manufacturers’ organisation EEF to help get companies fit for the ‘fourth industrial revolution’, or 4IR.

4IR is apparently being driven by digitisation, big data and other rapid advances in technology.

Eight in ten manufacturers (80 per cent) say that this next industrial transformation will be a business reality within the next ten years.

The pair said in a statement: "This new industrial age is widely expected to open up new opportunities, as well as challenges, for UK manufacturing. As a result, collaboration between the technology and manufacturing sectors will gain in strategic importance, particularly in driving productivity, innovation and growth. 

"Critical to this is identifying manufacturers’ experience with and understanding of 4IR, what they want to achieve for their business and how they think digitisation and new technologies will support them."

The two organisations will hold a series of focus groups with manufacturers around the UK, provide guidance and produce a report to help business leaders better understand 4IR. 

Terry Scuoler, Chief Executive of EEF, said: “This collaboration is an important step forward in providing our sector with thought leadership and practical support and guidance ahead of the biggest industrial transformation of our time. 

“It is vital that British companies are able to fully realise the opportunities and stay at the forefront of 4IR. This will require increasing levels of collaboration between our two sectors, so I am delighted that Oracle will help us engage and inform manufacturers on this crucial theme.”

Mark Newton, VP of Applications at Oracle UK, added: “The British manufacturing industry has always kept up with the pace of innovation, but the advent of the fourth industrial revolution marks one of the biggest technology-driven shifts in modern times."

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Elsewhere, research from Harvey Nash has found that the proportion of IT leaders reporting a technology skills shortage has risen to the highest level since the last recession in 2008.

Almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of CIOs reported that a technology skills shortage was preventing them from keeping up with the pace of change, up from 59 per cent in 2015.

Rod Tonna-Barthet, CEO of Annodata, said: “It is difficult to know precisely what impact Brexit will have on the UK’s technology talent market, though there’s a good chance the skills shortage will get worse before it gets better. Businesses will need to look at their hiring practices to make sure that they are as insulated as possible and prevent this uncertainty from holding them back.

"That means focusing their internal resources where they can add the most value. This has arguably always been the case, but ongoing changes in the market have thrown this into even sharper relief."

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