Digitalization is essential, a fact not lost on CIOs
47% of CEOs are challenged at the boardroom level to make progress in digital. 56% of CEOs have already discovered increased profits through digital improvement.
The fashion and apparel industry is no exception. CIOs must ensure that— at both an individual and organizational level—the right tools and processes are in place to help shape the company’s future. For the fashion businesses to realize the opportunities of digitalization, CIOs first need to grapple with the issue of how soaring customer expectations and increasingly fragmented and disparate data sources impact the function of the internal IT organization. To meet this challenge, CIOs are invariably turning to Industry 4.0 technologies.
Fashion meets industry 4.0
The proliferation of Internet of things (IOT) has seen a surge in connected devices that can generate and share data. This includes smart devices like phones, but also extends to nodes and simple monitoring devices that will be present on machinery in the cutting room and RFID tags in store.
Brands, retailers and manufacturers are generating huge amounts of information. This ‘big data’ can be created either from customer touchpoints, or from each business’ own internal operations and processes—for example sketches, mood boards, Tech Pack, social media interactions, performance reports and more.
The platform economy : increased mobile and distributed computing has led to an uptake in cloud services, enabling businesses to store, access and utilize the vast amounts of data they generate without tying access to a single premise.
Artificial Intelligence, deep learning, automation, and other smart technologies are driving innovation. Coupled with this is the use of insights derived from big data to offer personalized shopping experiences through the likes of AI bots and image recognition.
These technologies represent the main tenets of Industry 4.0, otherwise known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. For CIOs, the challenge lies in not only introducing new systems, hardware and working methodologies within the organization, but in ensuring that the day-to-day business goals continue to be met. The strategic and considered application of new technologies - fuelled by the insights yielded from big data - will allow businesses to move towards advanced types of connected solutions. But there will be a fine balancing act for CIOs if they are to successfully embrace Industry 4.0 while satisfying management targets. Those who succeed can achieve heightened visibility over their own supply chains and unlock the agility to react to evolving consumer expectations.