Executive Summary Video
The Appleton Greene Corporate Training Program (CTP) for Virtual Transformation is provided by Ms. Ennis BS Certified Learning Provider (CLP). Program Specifications: Monthly cost USD$2,500.00; Monthly Workshops 6 hours; Monthly Support 4 hours; Program Duration 12 months; Program orders subject to ongoing availability.
Ms Ennis is a Certified Learning Provider (CLP) at Appleton Greene and she has experience in Leadership, Digital Transformation and Organization Development. She has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Education. She has industry experience within the following sectors: manufacturing; healthcare; hightech; biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. She has had commercial experience within the following countries: United States of America; Ireland and India or more specifically within the following cities: New York NY; Dublin; Hyderabad; Austin TX and Chicago IL. Her personal achievements include: Six Sigma Blackbelt, Two time winner of Honeywell Achievement/Excellence award for implementation of Total Rewards Program iand Intranet Manager Portal launch, Honeywell e-business and eHR transformation, Goldman Saks 10k Small Business incubator program and development of Manager Academy platform; 15 years as principal consultant of ThriveDigital Era helping businesses and leaders prepare for a future unlike the past. Her service skills incorporate: virtual business transformation (process improvement) ; executive coaching; leadership development; team building and change management.
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Appleton Greene corporate training programs are all process-driven. They are used as vehicles to implement tangible business processes within clients’ organizations, together with training, support and facilitation during the use of these processes. Corporate training programs are therefore implemented over a sustainable period of time, that is to say, between 1 year (incorporating 12 monthly workshops), and 4 years (incorporating 48 monthly workshops). Your program information guide will specify how long each program takes to complete. Each monthly workshop takes 6 hours to implement and can be undertaken either on the client’s premises, an Appleton Greene serviced office, or online via the internet. This enables clients to implement each part of their business process, before moving onto the next stage of the program and enables employees to plan their study time around their current work commitments. The result is far greater program benefit, over a more sustainable period of time and a significantly improved return on investment.
Appleton Greene uses standard and bespoke corporate training programs as vessels to transfer business process improvement knowledge into the heart of our clients’ organizations. Each individual program focuses upon the implementation of a specific business process, which enables clients to easily quantify their return on investment. There are hundreds of established Appleton Greene corporate training products now available to clients within customer services, e-business, finance, globalization, human resources, information technology, legal, management, marketing and production. It does not matter whether a client’s employees are located within one office, or an unlimited number of international offices, we can still bring them together to learn and implement specific business processes collectively. Our approach to global localization enables us to provide clients with a truly international service with that all important personal touch. Appleton Greene corporate training programs can be provided virtually or locally and they are all unique in that they individually focus upon a specific business function. All (CLP) programs are implemented over a sustainable period of time, usually between 1-4 years, incorporating 12-48 monthly workshops and professional support is consistently provided during this time by qualified learning providers and where appropriate, by Accredited Consultants.
Virtual work happens in a different location than the traditional site of a business, creating distance between the plant or office, tools, employees, and management. As a result, both complex challenges and transformational opportunities arise for companies. Working virtually at scale is enabled by relatively recent advances in communications and access to information. Virtual work represents a significant transformation and turning point for business, our economy, and the way we live.
Industry 4.0, developed by German economist Klaus Schwab, is useful for understanding the historical context and importance of virtual business and related trends. In the 18th century, The first industrial revolution enabled mechanical production powered by water and steam-powered machines. With this newly found capability to produce goods at scale, small businesses grew from serving small, local customers to large organizations with owners, managers, and employees. Industry began to replace agriculture as the economic backbone of our society. The work was primarily physical, which needed to be done exclusively at the plant. Employees worked at the factory in their home town, close to, and usually during the same hours as their coworkers.
The beginning of the 20th century marked the start of the second industrial revolution with electricity as the catalyst. Ford established the first assembly line, turbocharging the mass production of goods. The telephone and telegraph sparked new communications capabilities that eventually lead to even more significant transformation in the way we work. Management techniques such as division of labor, just-in-time manufacturing, and lean manufacturing principles refined the underlying processes leading to improved quality and output. The factory remained the exclusive domain for work to get done. It was not yet possible to be productive without being at the plant at a scheduled time to enable workflow.
During the third industrial revolution marked by the invention of computers and electronics in the 1960s, transistors and integrated circuits enabled the automation of machines and work processes. This period resulted in reduced effort, increased speed, greater accuracy, and even workforce replacement in some cases. The hardware and software industries proliferated, integrating and transforming management processes such as enterprise resource planning, inventory management, shipping logistics, product flow scheduling, and tracking throughout the factory. The modern-day knowledge worker was born; a whole population segment needed more for their intellect than for physical work. It was during this period that the virtual worker emerged. New communications tools and labor specialization translated into outsourcing and freelancers who did not need close ties to the organization to add value.
The boom in the Internet and telecommunication industry in the 1990s revolutionized how we connect and exchange information. It also sparked industry-wide paradigm changes, drastically altering the boundaries of the physical and the virtual world.
Today, we are in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution. It began at the dawn of the new Millennium, enabled by our ubiquitous use of the internet and technology-enabled by the internet in our everyday lives and work. Industry 4.0 is characterized by the fusion of the digital, biological, and physical worlds. The growing utilization of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, robotics, 3D printing, the Internet of Things, and advanced wireless has put us on the verge of an industrial revolution that will surpass the impact of previous industrial revolutions. There is an explosion of new capability to increase work efficiency, our ability to scale and develop improved products and services.
Industry 4.0 enables personal services and productive work that can be achieved anytime, anyplace, through any mobile device. Ordering a cab, booking a flight, buying a product, making a payment, listening to music, watching a film, or playing a game—can now be all done remotely. Today’s workers can monitor a machine on a production floor, send out a communication to thousands of employees at a time, connect with teammates to collaborate on projects, and access all the information and tools they needed for work using the same mobile devices that we have come to rely on in our personal lives.
Over the last twenty years, working virtually has grown in waves. In addition to freelancers, more corporate employees became virtual. The reality of working odd hours because colleagues were in time zones across the globe, 9/11 and the SARS pandemic began to usher in employees and corporations’ willingness to embrace virtual work arrangements. Sales professionals are traditionally virtual to be close to customers. However, adoption within other parts of the workforce was slow, given the inherent complexities and management cynicism about effectively managing people in a virtual environment.
And then, in March of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic forced everyone but essential workers to work from home. We all became virtual workers. The forced experience went better in many ways than leadership expected. Physical presence technology like Zoom helped us collectively rise to the occasion. Businesses innovated their offers to embrace the need for virtual or “touchless” products and services. We leaped ahead toward the future of work because of our forced adoption of virtual tools, practices, and mindsets.
The Future of Work
The most provocative and challenging aspect of Industry 4.0 is that we are still in the midst of it; we don’t know how it all works out. Compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth is evolving exponentially rather than a linear pace. Add to that the turbo boost COVID-19 gave to the remote workforce and the economic, social, and political turbulence, and we are in for quite a ride.
Amidst all of the uncertainty, we do know that the future workplace will be predominantly virtual. We can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Many companies like Twitter have already announced they will allow all of their employees to continue working remotely. Companies that choose to return to the traditional workplace will still be faced with managing work from home well into 2021 because of COVID -19. We also know that technology will disrupt the way we work and use products and services in ways we can’t even imagine today. Working virtually is enabled by technology and mandated by the growth that it creates. Industry 4.0 will continue to drive exponential change, artificial intelligence, a virtual workplace, and the need to continuously adopt new ways of working to remain competitive. With self-directed, tech-enabled, globally connected teams, the work of managers and leaders will shift. We need to transform the way we connect, get work done, learn, transact and deliver products to customers, teach our children, and integrate work and life so that we can live productive and fulfilling lives.
During the Summer of 2020, a survey on social media asked, “Who led to the digital transformation of your company in the last year? A new CEO? A new chief digital officer? Or COVID-19?” The overwhelming response was COVID-19. Digital transformation has moved to the proverbial “burning platform for every company in the world. Business leaders must prepare for a future unlike the past by embracing the virtual workplace and the global digital marketplace. Key success factors include: Shifting mindsets and building new capabilities for themselves, their teams, and their organization; Developing processes and practices to support and leverage the virtual workforce; Sourcing work and talent globally; Transforming to a modern mode of managing humans and the machines and data that will augment their performance; Turbocharging collaboration and creating an agile workforce; Adopting Industry 4.0 technology; Anticipating the future by understanding trends and the evolution of industries; Innovating new business models, products and services for competitive advantage.
Virtual Transformation – Part 1- Year 1
- Part 1 Month 1 Virtual Workplace
- Part 1 Month 2 Disrupting Leadership
- Part 1 Month 3 Personal Productivity
- Part 1 Month 4 Relationships & Trust
- Part 1 Month 5 Future Shaping
- Part 1 Month 6 Leading Change
- Part 1 Month 7 Managing Virtually
- Part 1 Month 8 Distanced Accountability
- Part 1 Month 9 Virtual Teaming
- Part 1 Month 10Virtual Operations
- Part 1 Month 11 Product Reinvention
- Part 1 Month 12 Business Transformation
The following list represents the Key Program Objectives (KPO) for the Appleton Greene Virtual Transformation corporate training program.
Virtual Transformation – Part 1- Year 1
- Part 1 Month 1 Virtual Workplace – During this course, we will examine what it takes for leaders to be successful in a virtual environment, identify the capabilities and practices required for success, and support participants in their transformation journey. We are living in spectacular times; business and leadership are at a significant turning point. The great reset- working from home, social equity and relations, and the economy’s uncertainty- converge as a perfect storm. The silver lining is the quickened pace of digitization and the new models that characterize the future of work. Virtual workers are here to stay. In the future, teams will consist of members working from different locations at different times. The traditional hub and spoke team led by one manager in one physical place will be a rarity. Undoubtedly, some of the fundamentals of excellent management and leadership will persist, but future success will require a shift in mindset and capabilities. Success in a virtual world requires building an effective virtual workplace, leading constituents through complex transformation, developing new offers, and optimizing operations with technology enabled by the fourth industrial revolution. Although there are benefits to virtual working arrangements, the inherent distance creates specific challenges for leaders. When leaders and employees rely on electronic communication to connect and complete their work, there are more possibilities for misunderstandings, significant barriers to fostering trust, and greater difficulty in coordinating. Virtual leaders must BRIDGE THE DISTANCE for themselves, their own team, and connections to other groups and organizations.
- Part 1 Month 2 Disrupting Leadership – Leaders must disrupt themselves before leading change with their teams. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Successful transformation requires a sense of self-awareness, openness to new ways of working, and a commitment to developing new competencies. Leaders must also adopt modern tools and practices and tools to ensure efficient and effective collaboration in virtual environments. Industry 4.0 is characterized by exponential change, artificial intelligence, a virtual world, and the continuous need to adopt new ways of working to remain competitive. With self-directed, tech-enabled, globally connected teams, the work of managers and leaders will shift. Culture will need to be driven by leaders devoted to serving their team’s needs and helping them navigate through uncertainty to a radically different future driven by machine-man collaboration. Leaders and managers will be called on to ensure that virtual team members are coordinated and accountable to each other. The more traditional roles of recorder, gatekeeper, and process owner will fade away. The increased distance between team members creates several issues. The trust that great teams require is harder to come by in virtual teams that don’t benefit from face to face synergy and social interaction. For this reason, leaders must pick up the slack. Their ability to develop relationships with each of their employees and provide a safe space for the team to develop strong relationships with each other becomes paramount. The adoption of modern communication and collaboration practices are essential for virtual teams. Leaders must “go first” by embracing new technology and architecting a savvy, efficient and effective team operating system. Gone are the days when it is ok for leaders to be the holdouts for using new technology. By experiencing change firsthand, leaders will be more equipped to lead their employees through the changes they need to make. They will develop empathy for employees as they move through their change journey and lead the way by modeling best practices.
- Part 1 Month 3 Personal Productivity – Today’s most significant challenge for leaders, given the virtual workplace and the ever-quickening pace of work, is personal productivity, the ability to manage personal energy, commitments, and time to be as effective and productive as possible. The virtual workplace exacerbates the situation with new demands for operating in a virtual world, yet also offers valuable productivity tools for those willing to adopt technology and build new habits. Leaders’ roles are changing; it is essential to reevaluate key accountabilities continuously, with an eye towards making more space for higher value add activities. That means ruthlessly editing out mundane tasks by delegating, automating, or eliminating work to make room for strategy, relationship building, and leading transformation. Successful leaders are intentional about their use of time, consistently balancing the urgent with essential activities that get ignored until too late. There are several categories of technology leaders can leverage for productivity. Calendaring and virtual administrator apps take the waste out of coordinating with a simple interface, making calendar preferences public and allowing people to “sign up” for available time. AI tools for communications and research such as Grammarly and AI writer use real-time nudges as you are writing to suggest improvements, point out issues with tone and offer “autofill” to complete sentences. CRM software offers the ability to easily access content that you use over again in communications, like a process description. One of the most insidious time wasters for executives is email. Smart leaders dedicate the time upfront to set up systems for separating the wheat from the chaff. It starts with the use of rules to keep your email box clean. Gmail and outlook use AI technology to learn your preferences and sort mail for you. Developing a team communications system and dashboard as a single source for ongoing works and updates is also key. Related tools in this category help leaders get information out of their heads and onto a task list. The key is letting the tool do the organizing using tagging. One of the curses/blessings of the pandemic has been the integration we have seen between work and life. The watch out is that the two become so blurred that leaders and their employees get burned-out. Boundaries need to be established to ensure that the mere opportunity to work 24/7 does not, in fact, become a reality of working 24/7. The silver lining is the flexibility that remote work gives us all. Time back from the elimination of commutes. Ability to plan breaks when our bodies need it and coordinate more fluidly with family time. Careful attention to this is imperative for leaders to take care of their own health and to ensure they are modeling healthy practices for their team.
- Part 1 Month 4 Relationships & Trust – We are Social and emotional beings by design. To thrive, we must embrace this and build the capability to manage ourselves and build strong relationships. In virtual workplaces, where distance separates us physically, structurally, or operationally, leaders need to be even more intentional and effective at relationship building and trust. They must do so with their employees, their colleagues, and their networks. Daniel Goleman researched the brain and behavioral science for decades. Through his work on emotional intelligence, leaders have a pathway to develop their capability relationship and trust-building. Emotionally intelligent leaders recognize and manage their own emotions, empathize with others, build strong relationships, and manage complex social situations. Emotional intelligence (EI) is essential as we spend more time in zoom meetings, not privy to body language or social cues. The good news is EI is like a muscle – with awareness, practice, and a willingness to learn from experiences, leaders can improve their emotional intelligence. Teams with high collective emotional intelligence are characterized by respectful conversations, openness, positive attitudes, and camaraderie. A key topic for leaders related to relationships is developing strong networks. Virtual business and Industry 4.0 create many possibilities for networking and collaborating across traditional boundaries. The most effective leaders of the future will reach beyond their teams to customers, colleagues, and even competitors to create value. From a personal leadership perspective, it begins with cultivating a personal online presence and network using LinkedIn and other social media. As the course progresses, we will move into building business identity and offers in a virtual world.
- Part 1 Month 5 Future Shaping – Future shaping means understanding trends and possible trajectories and taking meaningful action to move your team or business forward. Future shapers must anticipate what’s next and colonize the future. It starts with “reading the world,” learning critical trends, and honing your ability to anticipate and “skate to where the puck is going to be,” as Wayne Gretzky was famous for saying. Honeywell uses the term Future Shaper to refer to employees who make the future a reality; it is a vital component of the company’s broader digital transformation strategy. Likewise, virtual business transformation requires future shapers; Leaders with the capability to build differentiated customer experience, increase operational efficiency, and improve data-driven decision making. Two frameworks, Industry 4.0 and VUCA, are fundamental for futuristic thinking. We have introduced Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, and will continue to delve into it throughout this course. VUCA is an acronym developed by the Army War College to describe our post 9.11 world. It stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. Future shaping leaders use this lens to understand what is happening today and prepare for a future unlike the past. Bob Johansen of the Institute of the Future offers up a leadership response for the VUCA world using the same Acronym. To lead successfully in a VUCA world, leaders must act with: Vision, Understanding, Clarity, and Agility. When it comes to blazing a trail for the future, leaders must adopt new mindsets and practices. In the past, leaders could establish a strategy with a clear vision, a solid understanding of business fundamentals, and a disciplined, but reasonably linear path. Not so anymore. Strategy today is much more like a sailboat’s tacts. Having a plan for the VUCA environment requires identifying agents that impact your business and journey, exploring scenarios, creating guardrails for decision making, and developing alert systems to signal when the plan is off course.
- Part 1 Month 6 Leading Change – The first six months of Virtual Business Transformation focuses on the personal elements of leadership required for success: paradigm shifts, openness and ability to change, personal productivity, emotional intelligence, and future-shaping capability. At this point in our journey, we dive into what it takes to make change real. We will introduce the fundamentals and best practices for leading change, returning to the conversation three more times over the two-year course to go deeper into specific practices for leading change and transformation. Changing ourselves and leading change are both extremely difficult. Change boils down to switching behavior, and our brains are hard-wired to hold on to the way we’ve always done things, the status quo. Research shows that more than 70% of change initiatives fail because of people resistance, not because they weren’t good business ideas, driven by sound analysis, systems, and facts. However, as we learn more about the brain, we learn more about the science of adopting new habits and successfully leading systemic transformation for organizations. Regardless of your industry, work gets done through people. Leaders need effective practices to help employees adapt to new ways of work. Understanding the difference between change and transition is essential. Change is an external event, an action or decision, whether planned or unplanned, that impacts us as individuals. Transition is the psychological reorientation that we go through to come to terms with change. Successfully navigating your organization through transition is realizing how the three phases impact individuals. William Bridges describes these phases in his book Managing Transitions. Phase one marks an ending, often fraught with confusion, resistance, and the emotion of loss. Opportunity exists in phase two, the neutral zone, as people open up to a new way of thinking, stretch themselves, and innovate. The third phase, the new beginning, requires support, reminders, measurements, and rewards to sustain new habits. Leaders must first shift themselves for the new realities of work and then become expert in leading others through change to move their constituents towards the future.
- Part 1 Month 7 Managing Virtually – As traditional workplaces fade into the past, virtual teams enabled by the Industry 4.0 technology will need great managers more than ever. However, the role and capabilities required will shift dramatically and quickly. In the not-so-distant past, managers had a heavy hand in directing work. They told employees precisely what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. Most of the time, managers supervised work as it happened and where it happened. Traditional managers led small groups of employees who were all in one place, doing similar work to each other and from day-to-day. Industry 4.0 will bring exponential change, artificial intelligence, distributed teams, and the need to adopt new ways of working to remain competitive. It might make you wonder how relevant managers will be in the future of work. With self-directed, tech-enabled, globally connected teams, how will the role of the manager evolve? Here are four shifts: Robots and artificial intelligence apps will get better at administrative tasks than managers. Managers will add value by showing care and concern for employees, fostering relationships with their employees and other groups throughout the organization, and helping their teams navigate the organization to create connections across departments, levels, and time zones. Managers can’t just tell people what to do anymore; work moves too quickly. Command and control management is out. Instead, great managers empower employees to do what they think makes sense, and coach employees regularly to hone their instincts. Great managers make sure employees are aligned with the business, moving in the right direction, and provide clear guardrails to know when things go off track. Organizations are not bound by 9-to-5 hours in virtual workplaces. As more employees move to flexible work schedules. Managers need to bring teams together in non-traditional work settings and provide visibility to team member contributions. As critical jobs evolve and automation irreversibly changes old routines, the ability to disrupt work is essential. Managers lead this by encouraging a culture of innovation and adaptation to new situations, providing creative thinkers the opportunity to thrive as shifts happen. Boosting a healthy level of risk and cultivating a culture where it’s okay to fail is essential. Managers will also be critical for helping their employees upskill and drive man-machine collaboration. Performance monitoring, scheduling, and reporting will be automated, along with learning and development tools to help individuals grow. Managers’ most significant contribution to performance will be as a catalyst for building high-impact teams. In that role, they must develop a psychologically safe environment, align the team around a shared vision, connect team members, build interdependence, and modern systems for communicating and collaborating.
- Part 1 Month 8 Distanced Accountability – Many people wonder how to manage work effectively with little interaction and visibility between employees and their managers when it comes to working virtually. When forced into working remotely because of situations like the pandemic, there was a surge of technology that surveilled employees’ activity by counting strokes on the keyboard or similar tasks. While there may be some value to these tools, the real shift managers and knowledge workers must make is to assess results through mutually agreed upon expectations. The foundation for this is a proven and simple process for helping determine what employees own: key accountabilities. Key accountabilities are the essential things an employee must do to excel at their job. Unlike job descriptions, which typically list tasks, key accountabilities describe specific responsibilities that are broad in scope but are uniquely owned by one person’s role. Take a bookkeeper, for example. One task we often associate with bookkeeping is processing invoices. The relevant key accountability would be “Ensure accounts receivable are paid timely so that the business has healthy cash flow.” Invoicing is a task, while the broader key accountability clarifies that the bookkeeper is responsible for understanding procurement processes, troubleshooting, developing follow-up systems, and continually improving processes. For managers who want to be more strategic about assessing performance from a distance, delegating, or achieving better results, key accountabilities are a game-changer. In this module, we will develop it as a core capability. The heart of this practice is to identify the five essential things for which the employee is responsible. The test is that if the person completed the five items, they would not reasonably be expected to do other tasks to meet performance expectations. Once key accountabilities are clearly articulated, continue to add context by ranking importance and estimating the time needed to complete each one. The process can be taken one step further by reflecting on continuous improvement. Reflect: “Is this the most effective use of time.” “Where is the employee getting caught up in non-value work?” Consider how could that work be delegated, automated, or ceased altogether to allow more time to be spent on more valuable activities. Go through the key accountabilities exercise with your team, either during one-on-ones or as a group. Provide coaching to your team members as they assess their priorities and determine their “should be” goals. Ask open-ended questions to engage them in conversations about what key shifts are required for future success.
- Part 1 Month 9 Virtual Teaming – Building high impact teams is an essential responsibility for leaders – taking a group of individuals, directing and amplifying their efforts so that together they achieve great results, feel valued for their contributions, and benefit from positive relationships with their teammates. It’s a challenge in traditional settings where the team is located in the same place and works the same hours. Add in the complexity of the virtual workplace, and the complexity increases significantly. A virtual team refers to workgroups, where some or all members interact primarily through digital means, and the team members are engaged in interdependent work. Leaders who can develop, sustain, and grow high impact virtual teams are essential for future success and highly valued by their organizations. During this module, we will provide a roadmap and proven practices for building high impact teams: Connect, Align, Collaborate, and Make it happen. Step one is to provide team members with the space to connect and build relationships with each other. For this reason, the conventional practice was to bring virtual teams together physically to get started. That is just not practical anymore, but we can create that same or an even better sense of connection by facilitating well-designed conversations with the intent to share personal experiences, find common ground, and discuss shared aspirations. During this stage, high impact teams develop norms, a shared language for treating each other as team members. Accepting and following team norms builds early trust. Another critical element in this phase is creating a sense of shared possibility. Through open discussion focused on ‘what we could do together,” team members start to buy into what the team is doing and collectively agree on what success would look like (it’s important not to get caught up in the “HOW” too early). Communicate and CollaborateEffective collaboration is 80% relationship building and 20% modern collaboration technology and practices. Both break down with most teams’ sloppy email and meeting habits; focused intent is needed to make communication more effective and efficient for all by shifting out of automatic behaviors. Successful virtual teams create a team communications plan which addresses each available communications channel (email, IM, phone, meeting, and others) and specifies when that channel is appropriate and the “etiquette” for effective team use. Once the team has communication basics, they can begin to use modern collaboration tools to turbocharge their work. Technology solutions like Microsoft Teams, Trello, and Mural are abundant and relatively low cost, but they need to be adopted and used more. The issue boils down to breaking old habits and starting new practices. Given the complexity of our work, the VUCA world we live in, and the need to bridge distance on virtual teams, interpersonal skills are foundational. Great teams develop their emotional and social intelligence and create interdependence. Make it HappenThe goal is to create a team that keeps each other accountable and is committed to each other’s success. High impact virtual teams achieve great things, celebrate, and grow together. Instead of burn out, they finish with the energy to take on more challenges and often retain close relationships for many years.
- Part 1 Month 10 Virtual Operations – Industry 3.0 ushered in computers and catalyzed the automation of work processes. Over the last 50 years, more and more of our work has been automated or digitized, such as; submitting an expense report, monitoring and regulating inventory, or onboarding an employee Two forces are exponentially impacting the digital transformation of business operations: Industry 4.0 and the COVID-19 pandemic. Industry 4.0 focuses heavily on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning, and real-time data. The global pandemic did two things: made clear the need to build processes and operational models that would allow us to continue working remotely and showcased the possibility of new ways of operating. Business leaders must invest significant energy and resources into transforming their operating systems to meet today’s needs and be competitive for the future through the technology of Industry 4.0. According to Accenture, only 13 percent of businesses have realized their digital investments’ full