The world is assisting to the fourth industrial revolution, with several domains of science and technology being strongly developed and, specially, being integrated with each other, allowing to build evolvable complex systems. Data digitization, big-data analysis, distributed control, Industrial Internet of Things, Cyber-Physical Systems and self-organization, amongst others, are playing an important role in this journey. This paper considers the best practices from previous successful European projects addressing distributed control systems to develop an innovative architecture that can be industrially deployed. For this purpose, a particular design process has to be addressed in order to consider the requirements and functionalities from various use cases. To investigate the known practices, four use cases are enlighted in this paper, which cover a wide spectrum of the European industrial force, as well as industrial standards to support a smooth migration from traditional systems to the emergent distributed systems. © 2016 IEEE.