RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Supply chain executives agree that the pace of digital transformation is accelerating and that they're facing technical challenges.
  • The majority of executives said they plan to invest in training to raise the digital fluency of their employees over the next year.
  • Scaling up the use of ecosystem partners is a top initiative for supply chain executives and viewed as crucial to both short and long term operations.
  • Cloud, AI, and digital twins are among the top technologies supply chain executives are looking to deploy in their organization.


As is the case with every area of a company, the supply chain has ramped up its adoption of technology to transform how it operates, collaborates, and innovates. And the growing importance of technology to the supply chain comes through loud and clear in the Accenture Technology Vision 2021 research, a systemic review across the enterprise landscape we’ve been analyzing for more than 20 years to identify the highest-impact emerging technology trends.

2021 technology trends to watch

Stack strategically

Architecting a better future

Mirrored world

The power of massive, intelligent digital twins

I, technologist

The democratization of technology

Anywhere, everywhere

Bring your own environment

From me to we

A multiparty system's path through chaos

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This year, 663 supply chain executives participated in our research—one of the largest sets of senior leaders ever included in our Technology Vision efforts. Through their responses to our survey, these executives conveyed their thoughts on how technology can reshape supply chains, which technologies are their top priorities for adoption, and the impact they expect these technologies to have.

Accenture Technology Vision: Supply Chain Perspective

View Transcript

Survey results say...

They’re feeling the pressure:

81%

of supply chain executives say the pandemic has been their organization’s largest stress test.

64%

report the pace of digital transformation for their organization is accelerating.

81%

agree they’re facing technological changes at unprecedented speed and scale.

Cloud and AI top the technology leader board:

42%

Cloud (42%) is the number-one technology currently being scaled up by supply chain executives, nearly all (93%) executives expect 50% or more of their business to be in the cloud over the next three years.

36%

AI (36%) is second only to cloud as the top technology being scaled.

Digital twins are gaining steam:

69%

of supply chain executives expect their organization’s investment in digital twins to increase in the next three years.

30%

of executives are most likely to report they’re using digital twins to improve operations.



The workforce is under the microscope:

38%

Only 38% of supply chain executives believe their organization’s non-technical workforce is ready to leverage the technology tools they’re given.

78%

plan to invest in training employees who don’t have the requisite expertise.

85%

of supply chain executives agree they will move to a truly virtualized work environment where there will be more remote work.

84%

of supply chain executives believe the remote workforce opens up the market for difficult-to-find talent and expands the competition for talent among organizations.

Going it alone is going away:

87%

of supply chain executives agree that multiparty systems are poised to become the center of commerce, supply chain, and transactions among partners and customers.

62%

of supply chain executives said they can only operate in the short term without multiparty systems, while 21% said they can’t operate at all without them.



Supply chain implications

The year 2020 and COVID-19 has sparked the single-biggest reinvention of industry in living memory, and technology is leading the way. This movement has profound and far-reaching implications for the supply chain, and supply chain executives feel the pressure to move quickly—but they also recognize the opportunities and benefits in doing so. For more on what this year’s technology trends mean for the supply chain, read our blog, “Technology Vision 2021: A Supply Chain Perspective”.

RELATED: Accenture Technology Vision: Supply Chain Perspective
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Kris Timmermans

Senior Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting, Supply Chain & Operations Global Lead

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