In brief

In brief

  • Enterprise technology is changing faster than ever. Traditional boundaries within the IT stack are blurring. Applications are evolving into living systems of technologies, infrastructure, and people—opening up new space for innovation.
  • But patchwork ways of working and applications built for another era are still holding organizations back. Bridging this innovation achievement gap demands new ways of thinking and working that are much more experimental, agile and resilient—supported by technology.
  • ‘Future Systems,’ Accenture’s latest report, describes the characteristics of successful future systems—boundaryless, adaptable, radically human—and how organizations can use them to thrive in a world of constant change.

Technology is changing faster than ever. Applications are merging with data and infrastructure, moving outside the enterprise and evolving into systems, embedding themselves deeply into our daily lives.

These blurring boundaries are transforming the very nature of human-machine relationships and fundamentally changing our understanding of enterprise IT. Applications, data, and infrastructure are evolving into living systems—with people at their center. It’s a seismic shift for most organizations, both technologically and culturally.

Accenture’s latest report, Future Systems, explores these IT trends in detail. It describes the innovation achievement gap they’re creating for many organizations. It explains the new thinking required to bridge the gap and scale innovation—driven by experimentation, agility, resilience, and an evolved workforce. And it digs into the nature of what it means to build successful future systems and outperform in a world where nothing stands still.

"Only by understanding thriving future systems can companies scale innovation and maximize value."

– BHASKAR GHOSH, Group Chief Executive – Accenture Technology Services

Challenges of accelerated change

The breakneck pace of change creates new challenges as well as new opportunities. Applications and infrastructure built for another era, together with patchwork ways of working, are limiting companies’ ability to innovate at scale. Data quality issues are hindering innovation in the effective use of artificial intelligence (AI) and workforces are too often tied to the technologies of yesterday.

The big risk? Without fundamental change, unlocking growth through collaboration and innovation remains forever out of reach.


of executives agree the strength and impact of ecosystem relationships will rest on their supporting technology.
“Accenture Technology Vision 2018 Survey,” Accenture, February 14, 2018


of business decisions use data that managers think is low quality.
“Only 3% of Companies’ Data Meets Basic Quality Standards,” Harvard Business Review, September 11, 2017

The three characteristics of future systems

There are three fundamental characteristics of thriving future systems that can change forever how we work and live:


Boundaryless systems take advantage of blurring boundaries—within the IT stack, between companies, and between humans and machines—to create new spaces where ideas and partnerships flourish.


Adaptable systems learn, improve and adapt by themselves, eliminating the friction that hinders business growth and empowering humans to make better decisions, exponentially faster.

Radically Human

Radically human systems talk, listen, see and understand just like we do, bringing elegant simplicity to every human-machine interaction and creating tomorrow’s advantage.

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A brief overview of how systems will evolve through 2021 to help companies scale innovation.

"It’s time to start thinking of applications, infrastructure, and employees as interconnected systems, rather than discrete standalone entities."

– PAUL DAUGHERTY, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer

Bhaskar Ghosh

Group Chief Executive – Accenture Technology Services

Paul Daugherty

Chief Technology and Innovation Officer – Accenture


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