UPDATED 00:57 EST / DECEMBER 06 2019

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We won’t reach enterprise 4.0 without C-level push, says SAP

It seems we’ve been chattering on about technology disrupting work for a while now. Call it enterprise 4.0 or industry 4.0. Supposedly, it’s a workplace where automation, artificial intelligence, robots, etc., have altered the way we produce goods and services. These technologies exist in some form or another today, so how come work feels the same as it did five years ago?

It’s because there are two versions of this revolution in progress, according to Glenn Gonzalez (pictured), chief technology officer of SAP Germany. “The one is to talk about it, and the other one is the execution on it,” he said. “We see a lot of companies that talk about it and stop at the execution.”

Technology can subtract monotonous, low-value tasks and shift brains to work that leads to innovative breakthroughs. But one service rep organizing email with a bot won’t transform a whole organization, Gonzalez pointed out.

Gonzalez spoke with Stu Miniman (@stu) and Lisa Martin (@LisaMartinTV), co-hosts of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, during the AWS re:Invent event in Las Vegas. They discussed the right way for companies to alter business processes with technology. (* Disclosure below.)

Autonomous drudgery and the coming brain shift

Technologies can alter work just like consumer life, according to Gonzalez. “Some people think machine learning is only fancy if it is autonomous driving. But put it into a process, and it gets autonomous,” he said.

What would work be like if all tasks ML or robotics process automation could do were actually being done for us today? The software users would become different, more valuable employees to the company, according to Gonzalez. When employees’ work is stimulating and not tedious; when they feel their ideas make a difference; when the company attracts new customers with innovation that differentiates it from competitors, then a company has transformed. This isn’t easy, Gonzalez pointed out.

Organization-wide change is drastic. Top-level executives must grasp the value it holds for the company, make it a serious initiative, and thoroughly execute it, according to Gonzalez. “It only works top-down, so if the C level is not in it, it basically will not happen. That’s something we’ve really learned within the last years,” he said. 

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the AWS re:Invent event. (* Disclosure: SAP SE sponsored this segment of theCUBE. Neither SAP nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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