Metaverse Helping Businesses Leap Forward on Strategy


On the business front, the metaverse often isn’t about entirely new undertakings, but instead it turns out to be about taking current efforts and leaping them forward in terms of efficiency and productivity. That can include on the strategy front.

A recent report from Arthur D. Little – “Stimulating Strategy: The Real Potential of the Industrial Metaverse” – makes that clear, and points to a variety of endeavors whereby businesses have moved and can move forward by integrating their strategic decision-making with metaverse technology.

It is noted in the report, “Industry 4.0 refers to the ‘fourth industrial revolution,’ and was first coined in 2015 to capture the transformational impact of cyber-physical systems.” It’s pointed out that technological aspects of Industry 4.0 are relevant to the metaverse, such as “AI, connectivity, cyber/physical systems, blockchain, virtual workplace, and digital twins.”

So, if such tech has been around since 2015, what’s new about the metaverse or how does the metaverse tie in? The answer is summed up this way:

“Up until now, digital twins have been mainly limited to discrete products, components, plants, or factories. Use cases have been mainly targeted at operational and maintenance performance improvement. Further developments in simulation of complex systems, data visualization, and AI, combined with ongoing improvements in connectivity (IoT) and collaboration technologies, supported by increasing computing power, mean digital twins are now becoming possible for multiple connected facilities and systems. This extends and elevates digital simulation from the level of operational improvements and design aids, towards becoming a key tool for strategic decision-making across complete systems – and ultimately across an entire global industrial enterprise.”

Consider the following case study from the Little report:

Source: Arthur D. Little, “Stimulating Strategy: The Real Potential of the Industrial Metaverse”

This is deeply transformative, with significant potential for firms across industries. As noted in the report: “At the core is the ‘whole-system digital twin,’ which ultimately could represent a complete end-to-end industrial system, including not just physical assets, but also processes, functions, resources, and organization. It would extend beyond the company boundaries to include relevant players and interactions across the whole company partner ecosystem, both upstream and downstream.”

The entire “Stimulating Strategy” report warrants reading, especially to further get a better feel for the reasons for companies to dive deeper on the metaverse tied to overall strategy matters, and some specific areas where benefits could develop.

Here’s a thought worth pondering as a takeaway discussion point: “…the pace and unpredictability of change is accelerating. The limitations of human cognition mean making good decisions within these faster-moving, unpredictable systems is difficult… Conventional strategic decision-making is poor at meeting these challenges because it typically relies on oversimplification of complex systems. This means it often misses unexpected system impacts, and can be lagging rather than leading, failing to anticipate and react fast enough to rapid changes. The Industrial Metaverse offers the possibility of allowing companies to take informed C-level decisions based on a dynamic, forward-looking, whole-system approach.”