It originates from a project in the high-tech strategy of the German government, which promotes the computerization of manufacturing. The goal of the project is the ‘networked factory’, permanently exchanging information between the machines within their micro – computers and sensors installed and interconnected to form a network, a so-called cyber-physical system – CPS. Thanks to this system, productions can become more flexible and efficient. Machines can automatically switch between the tasks, support technicians at work, predict failures or even trigger processes autonomously when changes in the production are necessary. Even if factories are geographically dispersed, they can stay interconnected. The automation technology in the Industry 4.0 environment is focused on the introduction of methods of self-optimization, self-configuration and self-diagnosis. All these changes seem to have a great potential of the new industrial revolution.
There are few difficulties. Most of all - mastering security and managing the volume of data. Therefore, if we want a successful implementation of the 4th revolution, we need revolutionary visions and strategies on the management level. Yet there are some stumbling blocks of an organizational nature on the way. In particular, the appropriate management concept. Many companies these days operate under the slogan of an 'integrated factory' already and try to connect IT system landscapes via interfaces and to supplement missing functionalities on the basis of new systems. This approach, which seems to be promising at first, occurs to be dissatisfying in the end. Delineated organizational units limit the continuous processes leading to isolated data islands. To avoid this trap, many companies often start by focusing resources on Enterprise Architecture Management to inventory their assets and map their IT architecture so they are able to identify gaps and redundancies, leading to an improved IT portfolio management.
Revolution is a fundamental change of the present order and even though it can sometimes look as if it came out of nowhere, it is never true. The revolution is like a tide which suddenly, but not spontaneously, breaks the dam. Enterprise Architecture Management can help you prepare for that. It can give you timely, in-depth information that will help you manage knowledge and data as an enterprise asset. It also allows stakeholders to make collaborative, well-informed decisions about information usage across various functions of your organization.
Instead of waiting for the 4th revolution to come, we need to start thinking about what kind of changes we would like to see and start laying the framework for it today.