Why Business Self-Evaluation is So Important in the Digital Age

Nicole Kampe, Automation Alley
August 5, 2021
Download PDF


With the rapidly changing pace of technology, it's never been more important for businesses to take a look in the mirror. Learn about how self-evaluation can guide you through Industry 4.0 in this post.

Why Business Self-Evaluation is So Important in the Digital Age

It can be difficult to look in the mirror as a business owner and critically evaluate your company’s performance, especially when you’ve worked so hard to build your business into what it is today. When faced with the realities that business decisions and business goals are not in alignment, companies often file evaluations away and never use them to improve performance. This behavior is simply not an option in the digital age. Technologies are rapidly changing the ways in which businesses operate and, in some cases, completely altering business models. To keep up with the pace of change, and to ensure your company is utilizing the right technology tools to run your business, self-evaluation is a must.  

We can see this across all industries, even in sports. Athletes no longer solely rely on analog film, handwritten notes, and in-person training to perfect their game. Data analytics in baseball, augmented reality overlayed on film to break down golf swings, powerlifters, and their coaches sharing film and notes across continents are common examples among professionals and amateurs alike. These important technological innovations enhance their evaluation processes, making athletes faster, stronger, and more technically sound than their predecessors.  

This principle of self-reflection doesn’t exclude manufacturers. The smart and connected technologies of Industry 4.0 have amplified the need for this action, fundamentally transforming everything we once knew about how things are made and where people fit into the equation. The companies that fail fast and learn even quicker out-innovate their competitors. Evaluation becomes a daily practice, enabling them to capture digital opportunities once thought to be out of reach.

To help Michigan manufacturers get a leg up on the competition, Automation Alley recently developed a Leadership Evaluation exclusively for them that’s free, quick, and easy to take. The evaluation provides insight into how to best identify potential roadblocks in implementing Industry 4.0 technologies. Most importantly, the evaluation gives you recommendations on simple steps to take in your transformation journey and not lead to an expensive or potentially time-consuming consulting engagement. By aggregating data from over 150 other such evaluations, you will learn how you stack up against others in the community. The insights and recommendations update as new companies participate, enabling you to evaluate your company multiple times using a real-time comparison to other Michigan manufacturers.  Your peers who have gone through this process have used words like insightful, transformative, and thought-provoking in response to the findings of their evaluations.  

The main goal of the evaluation is for business owners to take further steps on Industry 4.0 adoption. To do so, companies need to understand the fundamentals of their business. First, we collect the owner’s perception of the current state of their business. Then, we provide a comprehensive report that establishes a connection between their business decisions and Industry 4.0 adoption. The report also includes suggested business exercises and resources so you can act on the findings to create real change within your business. Much like a film sports session, we compare you to other peers, highlighting gaps between your perception and the reality of companies with similar scores.

While developing this evaluation, we’ve learned just how valuable the exercise of self-evaluation can be in providing critical feedback that organizations can use to improve and strengthen their business. Here are five reasons why you should consider self-evaluation for your business, especially in the digital age:

  1. It can explain the tradeoff between complexity and business risk and how cash flow is affected by both.
  1. It can compare the company to real-world examples so they can identify how complex their business is compared to their peers.  
  1. It can allow you to review strengths or gaps in your company’s ability to create a unified culture, develop an innovative strategy, and execute the day-to-day activities. It can also demonstrate how the culture, strategy, and execution can affect the business risk and complexity.
  1. It can present how a company’s competitive advantages can be turned into digital investment opportunities.
  1. It can identify how and when to use an offensive or defensive investment strategy for technology adoption.  

Ultimately, self-evaluation is a healthy exercise that will help you reflect on your business more clearly and concisely. Industry 4.0 will impact your business, no matter what industry you serve. The companies that will be successful during this time of great technological change will be the ones that take the time to self-reflect and use the feedback they receive in meaningful ways to address critical priorities and utilize technology to their competitive advantage. Like many successful athletes, sometimes the first lesson is what sparks a journey of unimaginable success.  

To take Automation Alley’s free Leadership Evaluation, click here.  

Nicole Kampe, Automation Alley
Nicole Kampe, Automation Alley

Nicole Kampe is the Marketing Director for Automation Alley, Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center, and is responsible for overseeing the organization’s marketing strategy, digital experience, brand and image. Nicole is an experienced marketing, communications, and public relations professional with over 17 years of experience working in both journalism and corporate communications. Nicole earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Oakland University and worked previously at The Oakland Press, where she was honored on multiple occasions by the Society of Professional Journalists before joining Automation Alley in 2012.

Become a Member