Successful businesses will take advantage of new set of technologies but prioritise trust, responsibility, privacy and security
JOHANNESBURG; Feb. 7, 2019 –The enterprise is entering a new “post-digital” era, where success will be based on an organisation’s ability to master a set of new technologies that can deliver personalised realities and experiences for customers, employees and business partners, according to Accenture Technology Vision 2019, the annual report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN) that predicts key technology trends that will redefine businesses over the next three years.
According to this year’s report, “The Post-Digital Era is Upon Us—Are You Ready for What’s Next?,” the enterprise is at a turning point. Digital technologies enable companies to understand their customers with a new depth of granularity; give them more channels with which to reach those consumers; and enable them to expand ecosystems with new potential partners. But digital is no longer a differentiating advantage―it’s now the price of admission.
In fact, nearly four in five (74 percent) South African business and IT executives that Accenture surveyed for the report believe that digital technologies―specifically social, mobile, analytics and cloud―have moved beyond adoption silos to become part of the core technology foundation for their organisation.
“South Africa isn’t in the Post-Digital Era yet, but has an opportunity to ignite its growth and lead the continent,” explains Willie Schoeman, Managing Director for Accenture Technology in Africa. “There is only a small window of opportunity to truly embrace new technologies and use them wisely now. In 2019, the pace of change means you’re either the disruptor or the disrupted—there is no middle ground. That said, 2019 also presents an opportunity for both the public and private sectors to work together. Using new technologies cleverly, we can promote growth, new skills, and jobs in the process.”
Technology Vision 2019 identifies five emerging technology trends that companies must address if they are to succeed in today’s rapidly evolving landscape:
DARQ Power: Understanding the DNA of DARQ. The technologies of distributed ledgers, artificial intelligence, extended reality and quantum computing (DARQ) are catalysts for change, offering extraordinary new capabilities and enabling businesses to reimagine entire industries. When asked to rank which of these will have the greatest impact on their organisation over the next three years, 38 percent of executives ranked AI number one—nearly twice the number of any other DARQ technology.
Get to Know Me: Unlock unique consumers and unique opportunities. Technology-driven interactions are creating an expanding technology identity for every consumer. This living foundation of knowledge will be key to understanding the next generation of consumers and for delivering rich, individualised, experience-based relationships. More than four in five executives (81 percent) said that digital demographics give their organisations a new way to identify market opportunities for unmet customer needs.
Human+ Worker: Change your workplace or hinder your workforce. As workforces become “human+”—with each individual worker empowered by their skillsets and knowledge plus a new, growing set of capabilities made possible through technology—companies must support a new way of working in the post-digital age. More than two-thirds (67 percent) of executives believe that their employees are more digitally mature than their organisation, resulting in a workforce “waiting” for the organisation to catch up.
Secure Us to Secure Me: Enterprises are not victims, they’re vectors. While ecosystem-driven business depends on interconnectedness, those connections increase companies’ exposures to risks. Leading businesses recognise that security must play a key role in their efforts as they collaborate with entire ecosystems to deliver best-in-class products, services and experiences. Only 27 percent of executives said they know their ecosystem partners are working diligently to be compliant and resilient with regard to security.
MyMarkets: Meet consumers at the speed of now. Technology is creating a world of intensely customised and on-demand experiences, and companies must reinvent their organisations to find and capture those opportunities. That means viewing each opportunity as if it’s an individual market—a momentary market. Nearly six in seven executives (83 percent) said that the integration of customisation and real-time delivery is the next big wave of competitive advantage.
According to the report, innovation for organisations in the post-digital era involves figuring out how to shape the world around people and pick the right time to offer their products and services. They’re taking their first steps in a world that tailors itself to fit every moment—where products, services and even people’s surroundings are customised and where businesses cater to the individual in every aspect of their lives and jobs, shaping their realities.
Consider the recent launch of Nielsen’s SmartStore – Africa’s first virtual reality shopping technology. SmartStore provides retailers and manufacturers with shopper insights and behaviours, allows them to test multiple new shop and shelf layouts and designs, trial in-store locations for new products, and determine the appeal of different packaging options. It’s a live, virtual environment in which it’s possible to create multiple scenarios and collect wide-ranging analytics – including tracking customers’ movements (head, eye, feet), 3D heat maps and more.
The report notes that companies still completing their digital transformations are looking for a specific edge, whether it’s innovative service, higher efficiency or more personalisation. Yet post-digital companies may already be one step ahead—often surpassing the competition by changing the way the market itself works—on-demand and in the moment. For example, Discovery Health’s electronic health record—Health ID—provides doctors with a complete view of a patient’s health history and test results.
By incorporating HealthTap—an AI platform (Dr AI)—into the Health ID system, it’s possible to transform patient symptoms into a personalised diagnosis recommended by doctors. Discovery is also using its existing Vitality member data to predict the likelihood of patients developing new chronic conditions or worsening disease conditions, while incentivising doctors to consult for longer and improve the patient’s lifestyle. Discovery is also launching a Smart Plan—a health plan that provides patients with a network of highly rated GPs, specialists and hospitals—into its app by leveraging existing assets and tools.
For almost two decades, Accenture has taken a systematic look across the enterprise landscape to identify emerging technology trends that hold the greatest potential to disrupt businesses and industries. For more information on this year’s report, visit www.accenture.com/technologyvision or follow the conversation on Twitter with #TechVision2019.
About the Methodology
The Accenture Technology Vision is developed annually by the Accenture Labs and Accenture Research. For the 2019 report, the research process included gathering input from the Technology Vision External Advisory Board, a group comprising more than two dozen experienced individuals from the public and private sectors, academia, venture capital firms and entrepreneurial companies. In addition, the Technology Vision team conducted interviews with technology luminaries and industry experts, as well as with nearly 100 Accenture business leaders. In parallel, Accenture Research conducted a global online survey of 6,672 business and IT executives to capture insights into the adoption of emerging technologies. The survey helped identify the key issues and priorities for technology adoption and investment. Respondents were C-level executives and directors at companies across 27 countries (including South Africa) and 20 industries, with the majority having annual revenues greater than US$6 billion.
Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialised skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions—underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network—Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With 469,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at www.accenture.com.
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