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In July 2018, HFS hosted its 19th summit for enterprise operations and IT leaders in Cambridge, UK at the home of one of the United Kingdom’s most celebrated universities. This academic location, renown for its scientific achievements, made a fitting location for the fourth Future of Operations in the Robotic Age Council (FORA) Summit held by HFS.
The two-day summit—which included a one-day exclusive workshop for buyers—grappled with some of the most significant challenges facing organizations. The most prominent theme to emerge over the summit was the accelerated pace of change. A quote from one enterprise leader summed up the tone of the day: “The pace of change will never be as slow as it is today.”
The sense of urgency and the imperative for organizations to get moving and evolve in the robotic age was palpable across all points of discussion—from the future of talent to the role of AI and to the urgent need to adapt and face more agile and innovative disruptors. Very few have the luxury of breathing space; the time to change is now.
A representation of a diverse cross-section of the modern economy was in attendance, including senior buy-side executives, CEOs, leading service providers and product vendors, academics, journalists, and analysts. As such, the discussion from the summit dug deep into the burning issues of the day and forecasted some significant barriers we can expect in the future. The power of the HFS Digital OneOffice™ concept continues to resonate with this crowd, nowhere more so than among veteran operations leaders working tirelessly to reinvent and evolve their operations.
The following is a record of the key findings and highlights from the event. They tell the story of major economic players continuing to wrestle with the thickening digital fog and trying to find their place in an increasingly disruptive world.