It’s remarkable to think how far technology has come in the last 20 years. Which one of us can imagine a world without the iPhone, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube—or how our kids spent their time before the Xbox?

Accenture is enjoying its own 20th anniversary, too. Our flagship report, based on two decades of study, documents and tracks tech trends and how they evolve over time.  Just launched, “We, the Post-Digital People” is the Accenture Technology Vision 2020; it identifies the five latest technology trends and their impact on business and IT leaders in the next three years.

Every business knows it needs to keep up with the latest technologies and look after their existing investments. But, in the future, digital technologies are morphing from a “nice to have” to a basic expectation—and yesterday’s best practices are turning into today’s shortcomings.

As an organization of nearly a half a million people, Accenture knows about the importance of people-centric models. To grow and compete in this new era, a major reckoning must take place. Businesses will need to responsibly rebuild business and technology models from the ground up, while aligning to their customers’ and employee’s values and expectations.

Yet, in a world where it’s hard to separate technology from the human experience, we’re seeing something of a tech-clash—a clash between business and technology models that are out of kilter with people’s current expectations.  The Technology Vision identifies technology trends that companies must address to defuse tech-clash and realize new business value that is driven by more trusting relationships with stakeholders.

Five tech trends

I thought it might be helpful to take a look at the five tech trends revealed in this year’s report and how the Accenture global IT organization is tackling them:

  • The I in Experience: The next generation of technology-driven experiences will be those that make the user an active participant in creating the experience. Enterprises are looking to personalize and individualize experiences and turn passive audiences into active participants. What we’re doing:  We deploy intelligent products to enhance operational decisions in areas such as expense reports and procurement. We collaborate with people who need operational data and use it every day through our app Manage MyBusiness. And we have solutions in Performance Achievement and Digital Workplace.

  • AI and Me: As AI capabilities grow, following the old path of plugging AI into existing workflows and focusing only on automation will limit the full benefit of AI investments, potentially marginalize people, and cap the enterprise’s ability for growth. Enterprises must build new capabilities that improve the contextual comprehension between people and machines. What we’re doing: We’re transforming how Accenture works by introducing AI enabled systems including Automated Invoicing, Win Probability, Anomaly Detection, and a General Ledger Recommender.

  • The Dilemma of Smart Things: When people buy products, they are often no longer purchasing physical, finished items but conduits for evolving experiences. Companies must embrace “co-ownership” with customers and design their products and ecosystems to accommodate ongoing change.  What we’re doing:  We’re working to put the right tools in the hands of our people to support our next-generation growth model, including the Accenture NOW mobile app.

  • Robots in the Wild: Autonomous vehicles, delivery drones, and more are entering the world, allowing businesses to extend the intelligent enterprise back into the physical world. More robotic capabilities and automation means new skill sets are needed in the organization. What we’re doing: We've created an Automation Center of Excellence (COE) to look at how to use robots for activities such as preventive incident management, service requests, changes, deployment and testing.
  • Innovation DNA: Businesses should assemble their unique innovation DNA to define how the enterprise grows in the future. Maturing digital technology is making it easier than ever before to transform parts of the business, or find new value in sharing tools with others. What we’re doing: Our Global IT organization is fostering innovation by embracing human-powered IT, refreshing our talent and skill sets for analytics and ideation. We also tap into our team at the The Dock and actively budget for innovation programs.

We take our position as a leader in technology innovation seriously.  Not only does the Tech Vision report showcase many of the latest technology trends that executives need to consider for their business strategies, but also it provides a vision for the future and a roadmap for how to get there.

I encourage you to take a look at the full report on the Technology Vision 2020 web page. Or visit How Accenture does IT where you learn about IT’s impact on Accenture.  Interested in trading ideas?  Let’s continue the dialogue. 

Penelope Prett

Chief Information Officer

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