RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Our chemicals perspective on the Technology Vision looks at how technology available today can be leveraged to reimagine what’s possible tomorrow.
  • See how digital advances can help chemical companies operate in new ways, in an industry becoming more collaborative, connected and intelligent.
  • Discover how capitalizing on five key technology trends is essential to keeping pace, driving growth and inspiring innovation across the enterprise.


On the surface, today’s chemical industry appears to be in good shape, with peak cash and stable profits. Although some segments have performed better than others, overall the industry is doing well. But hidden pressures and signs of risk are mounting.

For example, chemical companies continue to struggle with improving productivity and margins. At the same time, profound changes in downstream markets and the supply chain are starting to affect industry fundamentals, while players in the extended ecosystem are vulnerable to change and volatility. Furthermore, sustainability and the circular economy are making headline news.

What does this industry landscape mean for chemical companies? They need to make the necessary technological, portfolio and business-model pivots required to survive and thrive. To that end, this report delves into how chemical executives can use technology that is available now to reimagine what’s possible tomorrow.

Accenture’s global Technology Vision survey indicates that chemical industry executives have begun to embrace the digital revolution, with most aware of the significant change that technology is bringing. And, there is a recognition that a company’s network of relationships will be critical to competitiveness and success. So, in a very real sense, companies will be defined by the company they keep.

Explore the trends

Findings from the Technology Vision survey highlight tremendous opportunities across the chemical industry to unleash the power of the intelligent enterprise.

Citizen AI

AI usage in chemicals is still in the early stages but evolving fast. Respondents see its greatest potential in IT support and R&D followed by security, production and operations. But companies must build trust in their AI to ensure it is used to make unbiased decisions.
80% said AI is advancing faster than their organization’s pace of adoption.

Extended Reality

Virtual and augmented reality technologies—or “extended reality” (XR)—remove the hurdle of distance. According to the survey, priority XR applications in the short term will be in visualization, customer service, product development and maintenance.
85% said XR will have a widespread impact over the next five years.

Frictionless Business

As collaboration becomes more important, microservices and blockchain will eliminate friction in intercompany relationships. They enhance data integrity, drive efficiencies and help track, trace and audit everything from supply chain to joint molecule development.
70% expect blockchain to be critical or very critical within three years.

Internet of Thinking

Edge computing has great appeal for chemical industry respondents. While reducing costs and latency, they anticipate using it to enable new automated decision-making models that support real-time data analysis, as well as operational efficiency and personalization.
83% expect to see an ROI from edge computing within two years.

Data Veracity

With data now the lifeblood of business, most respondents recognize that automated systems also bring new risks, like fake data, data manipulation and bias. But by focusing on data provenance, context and integrity, they can embed data veracity across their organizations.
82% agree that the issue of data integrity will grow exponentially.

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Chemical companies need to look beyond the technology itself to identify practical uses that will deliver real business value.

Mark Pintar

MANAGING DIRECTOR – CHEMICALS AND NATURAL RESOURCES

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