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A machine in the C-suite

Not just a decision-support tool, intelligent machines are becoming active partners in the C-suite.

Overview

We are approaching the era when the collaboration between humans and intelligent machines will be a source of competitive advantage for businesses. We have moved past the period of computers being merely passive assistants. They are now becoming active advisors and partners in the workforce of the future, and that includes their presence at the highest levels of the organization. We have identified three ways in which intelligent machines could greatly enhance the performance of C-suite teams: By changing the mindset from incrementalism to experimentation, by helping shape strategy, and by challenging the status quo. This is the future of work.

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"Nearly two-thirds of executives interviewed believe that intelligent machines will be used for strategy making and evaluation."

Key Findings

Intelligent machines are no longer just passive assistants and are becoming active advisors and partners for top executives in the following ways:

  • Intelligent machines can augment leadership’s ability to perform various “what if” experiments and explore options that might at first appear too complex or risky.

  • Intelligent machines have the potential to think systemically. Nearly two-thirds of executives interviewed believe intelligent machines will be used for strategy making and evaluation. For example, machines will be able to spot openings in the market that signal growth opportunities.

  • Intelligent machines have the potential to be objective observers—even coaches—for top teams, asking tough questions, challenging sacred cows, and uncovering flawed assumptions. Over half the executives interviewed consider computers essential to fact-based decision-making, even when the facts they unearth and the patterns they discern challenge conventional wisdom and traditional ways of doing things.

Recommendations

To realize the greatest benefit from intelligent machines, executives should use them to:

  • Expose the long-term implications of short-term decisions. Intelligent machines can enhance systemic thinking, looking both upstream and downstream to determine the potential consequences of decisions.

  • Experiment to uncover new sources of value. Intelligent machines could, for example, be used to simulate the impact of large events, like the potential acquisition of a rival.

  • Augment human judgment. For one thing, intelligent machines can help leadership avoid common decision-making traps, like the tendency toward groupthink.

Learn more about Accenture Strategy

Learn more about the Accenture Institute for High Performance


Authors
Robert J. Thomas

Robert J. Thomas
Managing Director – Accenture Strategy,
Talent & Organization

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Rouven Fuchs

Rouven Fuchs
Managing Director – Accenture Strategy,
Talent & Organization

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Yaarit Silverstone

Yaarit Silverstone
Managing Director – Accenture Strategy,
Talent & Organization

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