The Fourth Industrial Revolution… Is your business ready?

23 March 2020 00:00 by Michael Beaumont

The Fourth Industrial Revolution… Is your business ready?

It’s no secret that technology is evolving at a rapid rate – it informs how we live, work and interact with the world, at home and in the office. And the next stage of this evolution – known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) – is set to bring even more dramatic shifts to our society, at home and at work.

What does this mean for the world of work?
Change on this scale brings both opportunities and threats. The technologies associated with the 4IR signal big changes for how we work and how businesses function. Product development and innovation, customer expectations and involvement, and the form and function of organisations all feel the impact of the level to which they are engaged with new technologies and digital capabilities. Opportunities include more available information (especially online) and faster processing while threats include loss of jobs, invasion of privacy and use of personal information.

Focus on South Africa
Beaumont’s Service, available on Lexis Library outlines the March 2019 NEDLAC report (based on research by the Institute for Futures Research, Stellenbosch University):

  • Local workplaces will be materially disrupted by the 4IR with shorter supply chains and more direct customer engagement equalling job creation and loss as roles change.
  • Retrenchments are likely to occur more often. The onus rests on employers to timeously inform employees of potential retrenchments and provide opportunities to up-skill or re-train. Promoting job security through maintaining skills and effective change management.
  • Employers must grasp the chance to guard against talent shortages, unemployment and growing inequality, and develop an empowered, innovative workforce that is multi-skilled, committed to life-long learning, and eager to engage with the opportunities afforded by the 4IR rather than battling against it.

Time to adapt to a new world of work
The 4IR has already started to have an impact on the daily management and structure of workplaces. In 2020 all corporate stakeholders are sure to find themselves negotiating new ground, including:

  • Increased concerns around employment, retrenchment and role development, necessitating business need to have the correct processes and policies in place.
  • Technological advances that will bring about new compliance concerns around the protection of personal data or the automatic (and therefore possibly discriminatory) allocation of roles and responsibilities.
  • Development of new markets as a result of technological innovation that calls for legal expertise in negotiating new IR landscapes and mitigating potential risks.
  • The need to learn new legal information without delay, work strategically and have easy access to accurate, on-point legal insights, preferably online.
  • The need to keep abreast of evolving developments at the CCMA, Arbitration Bodies and relevant Judicial Systems is ever present.

Harness the power of the digital
How best to tackle the above concerns? Start with some digital support. The ability to access relevant legal information through online platforms has altered the way in which corporates can engage with and use legal information. Not to mention saving the time and legal fees that come with working with a third party.

Lexis Library is the ideal expert resource that helps you do exactly this. The subscription model lets you tailor a package to suit your business needs. A modern, simple interface offers access to current and reliable information across an extensive range of business interests, from legal to HR to tax, including workplace performance, corporate governance and finance concerns, all through expert-driven information that is easy to access and supplemented with expert commentary.

In addition LexisNexis offers complementary services that provide regulatory alerts (Lexis Assure) and practical how-to guidance on specific points of law and their application to business (Lexis Practical Guidance).

Looking for the right solution to help your business navigate legal information in the 4IR? Visit Lexis Library.