RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Each year, Accenture assesses the IT landscape to identify trends that will have the greatest impact on organizations in the years ahead.
  • Accenture's 2019 Technology Vision study included a survey of 602 leaders in the Consumer Goods & Services industry from 26 countries.
  • We found that 88 percent of CG&S companies are experimenting with new technologies to drive innovation and growth.
  • Leaders in the coming years will seize upon three trends to shape the future of the industry.


Innovation then and now

Historically, CG&S innovation has taken two main forms. Companies have established innovation arms to develop new products and penetrate new markets. Or they’ve acquired brands to access innovation and new business models.

But today, we are entering a world where whatever consumers want is communicated instantly and gratification is expected immediately. It’s a world where the innovation strategies of the past hold less sway. A world where a company’s ability to achieve hyper-personalization and on-demand delivery are as important as the product it produces. A world where the ability to meet each consumer’s needs at a specific moment in time is the new marker of competitive advantage.

Fortunately, new technologies—Distributed Ledgers, Artificial Intelligence, Extended Reality and Quantum Computing (or DARQ)—open up previously unimaginable opportunities for product and business model innovation.

Read more about the three trends are fueling the next wave of innovation and growth.



Trend 1: The rise of the human+ worker

CG&S workforces can now use technology to improve their human capabilities—particularly in the areas of critical reasoning and decision-making. These new tools, along with new approaches to data management, fundamentally change how employees spend their time. For example:

  • AI systems and machine learning can provide sales teams with recommended next-step actions when interacting with customers and, increasingly, directly with consumers.
  • Data analytics can optimize routes and schedules, thereby freeing one day a week for sales teams to focus on what they do best: selling.
  • Big data analytics can optimize time spent on marketing, assortment planning and sales forecasting by bringing together information from large, integrated data sets.
On-demand and hyper-personalized products are on the horizon. Sooner rather than later, consumers will expect every CG&S organization to offer both.

CG&S companies know that change is coming. Leaders are preparing today.

88%

Of CG&S companies are already experimenting with DARQ technologies.

87%

Agree that the integration of customization and on-demand delivery will mark the next big wave of competitive advantage.

Trend 2: The emergence of “momentary markets”

As people’s lives become more and more personalized through technology, creating a world with a multiverse of realities and moments, companies must capture those opportunities as they come. That means viewing each moment as if it is an individual market—a momentary market. Miss the moment, and there is no second chance.

With direct digital access to consumers (and consumers’ data), companies can understand these markets better than ever before. This is critical in an environment where smaller, nimbler and more innovative brands are making aggressive moves.

Trend 3: The evolution of Markets of One

Before CG&S companies can create the in-the-moment, just-in-time products and services consumers crave, they have to know the opportunity exists. That means identifying consumer needs before their competitors do—and potentially before consumers themselves do. It means predicting human desires and then thinking outside the box to make those desires come true for every individual. It means owning the direct channel to the consumer.

Technology-driven interactions are increasingly important sources of information about the next generation of consumers. CG&S companies acknowledge that consumers’ digital identities and digital demographics are allowing them to pursue markets of one like never before.

Seizing the new innovation opportunities

CG&S companies that take optimal advantage of new innovations will do three things to prepare for what comes next.

Step into the DARQ: CG&S leaders will continue using every digital tool in their arsenals to drive new innovations and customer experiences. But they will also embrace DARQ technologies. In fact, 88 percent of CG&S companies already experimenting. This is good news, since a culture of experimentation will be key to achieving innovation breakthroughs in the coming years.

Build the human+ workforce: CG&S companies have the chance to use the inherent strengths of both their people and intelligent technologies to create a powerful advantage. Leaders recognize that next-generation growth requires next-generation workforce models that integrate employees, machines and freelancers.

Secure us to secure me: Opportunities abound for CG&S companies to establish or join ecosystems that spark joint product development and enable the sharing of ideas, data and innovations. Leaders carefully consider the roles they can play. They choose their partners wisely. And given that new ecosystem services will be based on extensive data sharing among participants, they squarely focus on securing those ecosystems.

The road ahead

We’re entering a new era for CG&S. It’s an era of massive consumer expectations. Of unparalleled innovations and momentary markets. An era characterized by the creative uses of new technologies to transform everything from consumer experiences to workforce productivity and operational excellence.

Forward-thinking companies are setting their course to the new reality today.

Where will you go? Are you ready for what’s next?

About the Authors

James Baker

Managing Director – Global Technology Lead, Consumer Goods & Services


Theo Forbath

Managing Director - Technology Advisory Products Lead


Oliver Wright

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Consumer Goods & Services


Marco Lavezzo

Technology Consulting Principal Director

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