Industry 4.0: 12 questions for BMC Software
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is everywhere, both in personal and working life, in domestic and business environments.
As data becomes one of the world's most valuable commodities, we asked strategic and legal experts at BMC Software what the implications of Industry 4.0 really are.
The Strategist - Christophe Bodin, Senior Vice President, Worldwide ESO Field Operations & Strategy
BRE: What would you define as the 4th Industrial Revolution? When did it begin and when will it end or pass into the ‘5th Industrial Revolution’?
CB: The Fourth Industrial Revolution encompasses so much more than just digitisation of the economy. New innovations are shaping the very fabric of society, and how humans and businesses interact with each other. It is the convergence of nanotechnology, human life research, mobile technology, self- driving cars and robotics (to name but a few things) that are creating new paradigms yet to be truly defined.
It is hard to define exactly when the Fourth Industrial Revolution began, and there will be varying accounts and definitions. However, I would suggest it started post the financial crisis in 2008 with the apparition of a renewed digital economy. Uber for example, hit the scene in 2009, opening up a whole host of new ideas and possibilities for a more flexible, app-based society. An interesting pattern to note is that each previous industrial revolution started with innovation. Take the first industrial revolution, for example, with the advent of the steam engine or the third industrial revolution with the introduction of the PC. Predicting what the Fifth Industrial Revolution will be compromised by is challenging, but we expect to see further advancements in technology, robotics and big data.
How can businesses adapt to such a rapid speed of change? What are the consequences of not making the most of data?
Constellation Research established that more than 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies in 2000 did not make it to the list in 2015, as we were transitioning between industrial revolutions. This is certainly a good indicator of what will happen to businesses who can’t adapt fast enough. Businesses can only be successful by making real changes to remain competitive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Interestingly, possessing data used to be the key to success. Today, however, almost any data is available to anyone at any time. What is integral now is how it is used and harnessed for actionable insights. In an emerging revolution, businesses can only be successful when they focus on innovation based on what they are learning real-time vs. what they learnt from past successes and failures.
How is BMC helping businesses adjust and take advantage of the 4th Industrial Revolution?
In short, BMC offers BMC Digital Enterprise Management which is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimised from mainframe to mobile, to cloud and further.
What BMC offers is a set of unique solutions enabling the ‘Digital Age Enterprise’. What you need to become that agile, innovative, entrepreneurial new enterprise, regardless of your size, is a comprehensive solution set which ensures you can deploy digital services faster and reliably while at the same time optimising your existing and new infrastructure.
What advice do you have for businesses following Safe Harbour and the new EU-US Privacy Shield?
First and foremost, take it as what it is - a very serious issue that can both enable and hinder your digital transformation. As the issue of global data exchange continues to dominate the press and legislative agenda, businesses should look to hire a data privacy officer (DPO) alongside a chief security officer (CSO) to oversee control, compliance and to most importantly, help to enable a complete digital transformation.
Do you believe businesses that harness data have a responsibility to educate their customers on how their data is being used and what it means?
I believe so. In the vast majority of the cases, businesses use data to be more relevant to their customers and to be more successful. By educating and explaining how customer or consumer data is used, businesses will ultimately develop a stronger, longer term relationships with customers for years to come.
The Legal Expert - Elodie Dowling, Corporate VP, EMEA General Counsel
BRE: What legal and compliance challenges has the so-called 4th Industrial Revolution presented to businesses (large and small)?
ED: The 4th Industrial Revolution is presenting many legal and compliance-related challenges to businesses, especially around data privacy, environmental matters and modern slavery just to name a few.
The speed at which technology is moving, together with the time it takes for legislation to be ratified, is making relying on existing legislation very challenging. By the time legislation comes into effect, it is very often out-dated.
Moreover, businesses are nowadays being exposed to a highly demanding environment, where beyond responsibility, the expectation is now to think ahead of legal requirements - which may become outdated quickly, to put in place the ‘best in class’ policies, practices and procedures to run your business.
What lessons can be learned from Safe Harbour and the new EU-US Privacy Shield? Just how much of a big legal issue is data privacy today?
There are many lessons to be learned from Safe Harbour and the new EU-US Privacy Shield.
The fundamental cultural differences related to the kind of data considered protection-worthy in each continent is one of them. In the EU it includes all personal data including sensitive data, whilst in the US it is mostly only sensitive data.
The invalidation of Safe Harbour and challenges on Privacy Shield have also shown us that only a political agreement on the matter will allow both continents to cross the bridge on this debate. This implies a change in national legislation from the US-side, getting closer to the EU approach and as a result starting to reflect some of the underlying EU values.
Considering the volume of data being exchanged between the EU and the US on a regular basis, which is the highest in the world, not having a satisfactory agreement in place is bringing a lot of uncertainty to businesses, and this is never a good thing.
This is likely to impact US businesses even more heavily than EU ones, given that in the past they were able to rely on a simple vehicle (Safe Harbour) to be compliant with data privacy law and this is no longer an available option.
In the meantime, alternative vehicles businesses can use to stay compliant are EU Model Clauses and Binding Corporate Rules. However, these rules are much more cumbersome and as a result not all companies are able to comply with them. This can easily translate into businesses being unable to pursue their business objectives with Europe unless they significantly upgrade their organisational and security measures around data handling.
How are you helping businesses to be compliant in the aftermath of Safe Harbour?
BMC is helping businesses stay compliant by deploying its Binding Corporate Rules (Controller and Processor). These allow customers to rely partially on BMC’s own compliance with data privacy to meet some of their own data obligations as a company. In addition, BMC is helping by integrating the concept of Privacy by Design in its products and service offering.
Should companies go further than legal compliance regarding educating customers to fully understand how their data is used and what this might mean?
Customers are the ones with primary obligations regarding data privacy issues and as such, they should ensure that they are aware of their legal obligations themselves. It remains for each company to decide how much they want to/need to train their employees with regards to data privacy issues.
Read the August 2016 issue of Business Review Europe magazine.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”