One year after the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, our 2021 Tech Vision comes at an important time and makes a big statement: Leaders Wanted: Experts at Change at a Moment of Truth. COVID effectively hit a giant “fast-forward” button, accelerating ten years of change into one or two years, and propelled us into a future defined by new realities that require a different response.  

Many organizations stepped up to use technology in extraordinary ways to keep their businesses and communities running at a pace they previously thought impossible. Others faced the stark reality of their shortcomings, lacking the digital foundation they needed to rapidly pivot.  Before COVID, we noted that those with a strong digital and technology core outperformed the laggards by 2x. During the COVID period, this digital achievement gap widened from 2x to 5x, creating additional headwinds and questions for many companies.

In short, the future has arrived, but we haven’t caught up yet. Today a wave of companies are racing to reinvent themselves and use technology innovations to shape the new realities we all face. 

Four New Realities

The first new reality is human experience. Last year, 8 billion people around the world almost instantaneously changed their behavior in unprecedented fashion, resetting expectations. The ability to understand and become an expert in the new human experience is essential for every company.

The second new reality is about technology, and it’s very straightforward: every business is now truly a technology business. 

The third new reality is work. The future of work will be location independent. Time independent. Asynchronous. Data- and metadata-driven. Hyper-automated to bring out the best in people. And human-centric to really enhance the human potential of the employees that we have.

The fourth new reality is sustainability. Technology intertwined with sustainability must be incorporate into how we’re guiding and operating our businesses going forward. Our research shows those who do this are 2.5 times more likely to be leaders in their industry.

Tech Vision 2021: Leaders Wanted: Experts at Change at a Moment of Truth

These new realities create a moment of truth that will change both how we do business and how we shape markets. As companies shift from reacting to the crisis to reinventing what comes next, bold, visionary leaders will have to excel at change and define the future. Accenture’s Technology Vision 2021 provides insights to inspire leaders and a roadmap to navigate change, with a focus on five important trends:

  1. Stack Strategically: Architecting a Better Future. The way organizations develop their technology architecture directly contributes to – or dilutes – business advantage.
  2. Mirrored World: The Power of Massive, Intelligent, Digital Twins. Moving from simulation to operation, digital twins are reinventing how we learn, work and collaborate in every industry.   
  3. I, Technologist: The Democratization of Technology.  Now that every business is a technology business, every person must be fluent in technology.
  4. Anywhere, Everywhere: Bring Your Own Environment. Workplace culture and experience are being completely reimagined within the context of new hybrid working environments. 
  5. From Me to We: A Multiparty System’s Path Through Chaos. Partnerships with technology at the core will enable the seamless, secure collaborations necessary to continuously adapt to change. 

“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” Leaders who heed the advice of this Chinese proverb and harness the winds of change will lead in the future.

I invite you to read this year’s research, and share your perspective on how you are becoming skillful in change.   

Paul Daugherty

Group Chief Executive – Technology, and CTO

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