Industry 4.0. a cultural revolution before a technology one

Industry 4.0. a cultural revolution before a technology one

Industry 4.0. a cultural revolution before a technology one

by Antonio Ieranò

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We are used to deal with linguistic expressions consisting of a name and two wagered numbers whose second is a zero: Type 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and so on.
Referenced in ascending order, the figures would suggest an evolution, a transition to a more advanced version (or up to date one) of a given situation or a certain object. Among the first to show itself, and the best known not only among the experts there is definitely “web 2.0”. It is a fascinating phenomenon from an ideal point of view; it has created a cultural movement that changed heavily our world, and has triggered a lot of discussions about the future of our society but, from a technological point of view, is basically empty, devoid of content.

What the Web 2.0 brought as an extraordinary novelty was the change of approach on the internet, with the shift from a system in which only a limited number of content providers produced and delivered content to another mode that, on the contrary, it provided and it favored the emergence of a growing community range of users, each of which are able not only to produce but also to share – or to network – these contents.

In a sense, the Industry 4.0 is not different from the above mentioned web 2.0: more than a technological revolution – the digital age is certainly not a novelty in these last few years – we must talk about new attitude and fresh approach on how to make industry ,how to produce.
An attitude with strong links to issues mainly related to roles and processes than technology, that involves much less technical staff and much more key figures in the company as the Chief Financial Officer or the Chief Executive Officer, roles that in the enterprise ecosystem outline the strategies and take decisions, choosing one direction and not another.
Working in a company that provides the backbone for the Industry 4.0, as ICT devices and the related tools, I am firmly convinced that, for a company, it is important to have a project. Each ICT or software implementation without serious and structured ideas behind it is absolutely useless, if not harmful.

That’s why the Industry 4.0 is primarily the need or ability to define within the company, whatever vertical or size, whatever the economic impact, a new path for resources management. And this means management and integration of every resource, from energy production to ICT, and so on.

The Industry 4.0 is a great idea thanks to which all objects and all the subjects that are part of a company stop being isolated entities and become connected and not only as a matter of physical connection or communication one, but as a real matter of processes and management.

In this sense, the interconnection means that all objects and subjects – all “united-connected” – must be able to work together to deliver a result.
It is obvious that to jointly work and guarantee a result, properly working devices and tools (hardware and software) are needed, as the connectors for wiring, sensors for monitoring data, big data and data quality systems analysis, up to IT security systems.
But those elements, although important, are not decisive to get to a full result. What comes before the good functioning of those tools is the ability to integrate technology into processes and – at the same time – into the corporate culture. In other words, this means that the company will be ready to leverage the best results of what new technology can generate, that means outputs functional and strategic to the enterprise needs itself.

This is not happening at the moment, one example above all: the amount of data that the interconnected objects produce remains unused or underutilized due to poor analytical skills.

The Industry 4.0 is revolutionary in its being an element of rupture with respect to the consolidated industrial models. And this is true both for large groups, where each intervention has greater repercussions (just think of interventions to improve energy efficiency) and SMEs.

In Italy, in particular, it is important that small and medium enterprises equip themselves with the cultural tools to understand where to intervene to become or stay competitive in a global drastically changed landscape. This means knowing how to choose the solution that best suits your needs and the system that best fits with your strategic growth plans.
In the market there is no shortage of choices: legacy platforms, cloud services, guidance counselors, outsourcing… Each choice has advantages and disadvantages: the important thing is that even in a small business reality there is someone who has a broader view, a medium to long-term view.

How it will be, then, this passage Industry 4.0? Probably slow; a path made by small steps because of the cultural reasons cited above and for purely economic reasons, taking into account the considerable costs for the adaptation of production environments to the new standards.

No doubt this will be an inevitable path and the sooner we will start to think in a new way, the sooner we will recover global competitiveness as system-country.

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Industry 4.0. a cultural revolution before a technology one was originally published on The Puchi Herald Magazine

weak manager style

weak manager style

In a previous post (http://www.thepuchiherald.com/2016/03/04/management-style-common-error-to-avoid/)  I tried to put some rationale on my thoughts about management, designing some of the characteristics a manager usually have (bad ones of course).

One of the biggest “Ahas!” new and experienced managers (and the people who work for them) have experienced  is the realization that being a strong manager doesn’t mean being forceful or domineering.

It’s just the opposite — strong managers are strong enough to lead through trust, whereas weak managers have to use the force of their job titles to make people listen to them.

Most of the management style depicted (not all) were management style that needs leading thorough fear, since they does not use, require or being able to use trust as a management tool.

When we talk about fear-based management, it’s the weak managers we are referring to! You can spot a weak manager at a hundred paces or more, because weak managers are the ones who raise their voices, make threats and generally keep their teammates off-balance and worried about pleasing the manager when our customers need them to be happily focused on their work.

Strong managers lead through trust. They trust their teammates and their employees trust them. They don’t have to be right. They don’t care whether they are right or not, as long as the right answer emerges from the conversation. They don’t have to be bossy. They trust their employees to know what to do and to ask for help if they need it. But we know trust is a bi-directional thing.

Weak managers don’t trust themselves enough to lead that way! And moreover do no trust the others because they project their mindstate on other behaviours.

Here are five sure signs that your manager is a weak manager pretending to be strong.

We can feel sorry for him (really?!?) or her but you don’t have time to waste in a workplace that dims your flame. If your manager is not a mentor and an advocate for you, you deserve to work for someone who is!

Can’t Ask for Help

When a weak manager isn’t sure what to do next, he or she won’t ask the team for help. Instead, the weak manager will make up a solution on the spot and say “Just do it — I’m the manager, and I told you what I want!” A weak manager cannot ask for input from people s/he supervises. If you try to reason with your weak manager, s/he’ll get angry.

Needs a Handy Scapegoat

When a weak manager notices that something has gone wrong, he or she has one goal in mind: to find somebody to blame! A strong manager will take responsibility for anything that doesn’t work out as planned, and say “Well, what can we learn from this?” A weak manager can’t take on that responsibility. He or she must pin the blame on somebody else — maybe you!

Can’t Say “I Don’t Know”

A strong manager can say “I don’t know what the answer is” many times a day if necessary, but a weak manager is afraid to say “I don’t know.” He or she will lie or start throwing figurative spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.

Strong managers learn fast because they learn from successes and misfires, both. Weak managers are not as open to that kind of learning, because so much of their mental and emotional energy goes to deflecting blame when something goes awry.

Measures Everything

Strong managers focus on big goals. They follow the adage “The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.” Weak managers get sidetracked with small, insignificant things. That’s why a weak manager will know that you worked until nine p.m. last night averting disaster, but still call you out for walking into work five minutes late the next morning.

Weak managers rely on measurement instead of judgment when they manage people. They have a yardstick for everything. They will say “I manage by the numbers” when in fact, they aren’t managing at all.

Can’t Say “I’m Sorry”

The last sign of a weak manager is that this kind of manager cannot bring him- or herself to say “I’m sorry” when a stronger leader would. They can’t be criticized and they can’t accept feedback, however compassionate. They can’t take it in, because their ego is too fragile to acknowledge any room for growth.

Life is long, but it’s still too short to waste time working for someone who can’t be human and down-to-earth at work. Work can be a fun and creative place, or a sweat shop where you count the minutes until quitting time.

One of the biggest determining factors in your satisfaction at work is the personality of the manager you work for. Don’t you deserve to be led by a person with the courage to lead with a human voice?

People say many things about management, but one thing they seldom say is that the job is easy. If it were, we wouldn’t have chronically dismal employee engagement rates hovering nationally around the 30 percent mark. Accordingly, here are five basic skills to focus on – attributes, actually – five areas where it’s easy to stumble, but where improvements can make the difference between failure and success and are a portrait of strong managers.

Patience

Who doesn’t need more patience in a managerial role? I know I did. There are about 600,000 things – from your own boss, to deadlines, to the grinding pressure “to do more with less,” to those nettlesome customers and employees! – that can stress you out. Besides, patience has a long tail. Employees appreciate being treated with patience when things go a little off track. They’ll often remember it and reward you with better effort.

Patience means you think and evaluate things, weight them and make your dcision based on solid fact and not upon the heat of the moment.

Courage

Have the fortitude to hold your people accountable for the big stuff they need to get right. It’s easy to default to pesky micromanagement on trivial details, but what most matters as a manager is keeping the important work on track: the complex projects, the big-ticket budget items, the key strategic initiatives.

Numerous studies show managers have chronic problems with accountability. So focus your energy in the areas where it’s most needed – with the courage to hold people responsible for the results your organization requires.

There is another site of the accccountability, courage means also to protect your people when they need to, we know corporate environment is all but fair, so a manager must have the courage to erect a shield when its people is under attack.

Thoughtfulness

Have the thoughtfulness to take the modest amount of time required to praise your people when it’s deserved. Avoid the all-too-common trap of being parsimonious with praise. To what end? Well-placed praise is one of the simplest and best management investments you can make. It costs nothing and motivates effectively. Why don’t managers use it more? I never fully understood the reticence.

Praising people can goes to a “good Job” at coffe machine, to a fair setting of goals and evaluation. Not recognizing efforts will make your people just stop trying.

Fairness

Avoid the natural tendency to play favorites. Indeed, this is a perfectly natural human tendency. Some employees are just more likable, others more difficult. Good managers keep their personal emotions in check. Resist the understandable tendency toward favoritism. Fight it. Subdue it. Defeat it. You’ll be respected for it.

And try to push the same attitude in your group, if such problem arises better to deal them or, sooner or later, they will strike back harder.

Execution

Simply put, execution is everything. Business is no academic realm of abstract ideas. To the contrary. An excellent idea counts for nothing if not properly executed. As Ross Perot used to say, “The devil’s in the details.” Operations matter. Trains have to run on time. As a manager, you’ll be judged on execution. On results (hopefully). How effectively does your team get done what they need to? Were desired targets reached? Keep your eye always on the executional ball – it can make the difference between managerial success and failure.

Do not micromanage, but be ready to move away obstacle that can avoid your group to reach theyr (and your) goals. Work with your group to solve issues, not be part of the problem.

One thing I always liked about management was that it was a fundamentally practical exercise. Tangible and results-oriented. It’s by no means a simple job, but small improvements can yield big results.

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weak manager style was originally published on The Puchi Herald Magazine

Some times they come back


I wrote a few time ago about double standards in IT security that affect eastern countries’ companies as Chinese Huawei and  ZTE or Russia’s ones  when dealing with western countries.

I wrote this effect is quite evident every time you read news on cyber security threats. Guess what… I was reading some news lately and I encounter some statements that make me think (again) about it:

Let’s take the FREAK attack as an example.

FREAK attack is a security vulnerability that breaks HTTPS protection. The troubles today owe to ‘export grade encryption’ – a deliberately weaker form of encryption baked into products shipped outside of the United States, enforced by the American government. The restrictions were removed in the late 1990s, but the encryption remains a part of software still used to this day: even in products now bought and sold in the United States.

According to Washington Post “export grade encryption” was the originating issue for this vulnerability, this is a several years old problem, although “discovered” recently.

Same day other news, in an article reported by the Boston Business Journal (click the link for the article)  mr Gregory J. Touhill (the deputy assistant secretary for cybersecurity operations and programs in the office of Cybersecurity and Communications) states at the last cybersecurity panel discussion on Tuesday organized by the New England chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors, which represents board members of the largest companies around the region :

Who’s doing the hacking? State-sponsored hacking — from countries like China or Russia, for example — “they get the get the big splash in the newspapers, but they represent less than 2 percent of the attacks that we see,” said Touhil. Hacktivists — people who use hacking to further their political agenda — are a large and growing group.

so basically the same who create the FREAK issue are blaming others for activities yet to be proven.

Meanwhile the Chinese official response to Obama administration accusations on being unfair with new cyber security rules state:

“With transparent procedures, China’s anti-terrorism campaign will be different from what the United States has done: letting the surveillance authorities run amok and turn counter-terrorism into paranoid espionage and peeping on its civilians and allies.”

Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency, addressing President Obama’s criticism earlier this week of a proposed Chinese law that would require tech companies doing business in that nation to install backdoors in their software and turn over their encryption keys. “Contrary to the accusations of the United States, China’s anti-terror law will put no unfair regulatory pressures on foreign companies, because the provisions will apply to both domestic and foreign firms,” Xinhua also wrote.

The BBC reports: Fu Ying, parliamentary spokeswoman, pointed out that the U.S. government had imposed restrictions on Chinese companies it considered potential security threats, such as Huawei and ZTE. She also said Beijing’s proposals were in line with the same kind of access to online communications sought by the U.S and British governments.

This westeast friction is changing slightly with rising of cyber security  awareness, this have been pointed out also by computer weekly that in a recent article

US technology companies facing growing UK pressure over internet spying

talked about rising friction between UK and USA over cyberspying issues (i wrote on the same issue many times ago, see: PRISM Lessons On Privacy, Cloud and US IT Companies).

Let be clear, this is not just a USA problem, recently France have had its part of glory with the fake Google certificates delivered by ANSSI (human mistake was the official explanation) or the Casper malware affair.

And also UK while complaining with USA for the PRISM consequences has its own fingerprint in the NSA-GCHQ affair.

So who can we trust?

If someone is familiar with X-Files may be recognize the statement “Trust no one”. This is the basis when implementing security. This does not means that all commercial product are un-trustable, but from a security perspective we should assume the worst.

Can be sponsored state, human error or criminal intent something can go wrong everywhere (shit happens).

From a security perspective this means that processes are assuming the greatest importance, while from an HWSW point of view a multivendor approach with a not all from the same country attitude, could be reasonable.

To rise confidence vendors are approaching several correction, from a safer software writing cycle to a better control to supplier and resellers, in order to avoid unwanted tampering with their solution from an external source. This kind of processes are today even more important according to the recent news and outbreaks so the bigger is the vendor the stronger has to be its politics in controlling the whole chain, from production to delivery.

But nevertheless we could not assume that any vendor is 100% secure (again shit happens), so implementing continuous and sound process of auditing, penetration and vulnerability testing and quality analysis of the IT structures will give us a better perspective of surviving the current threat environment. We should also remember that without contingency plan for disaster recovery and cyber threat attack all our effort could be vain.

 

 

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Some times they come back was originally published on The Puchi Herald Magazine