As a leader, how do you know which technologies you should prioritize and invest in over the next few years? We dug into Accenture’s Technology Vision 2019 report to learn which technologies they consider to be most relevant.
It's no longer enough to be present on digital channels. To stay relevant, you should drastically increase the speed of innovation in your company and test and implement new technologies continuously that can improve your customer experience. Accenture’s new Technology Vision report could help you take the next step.
A team of Accenture’s technology researchers have released the Technology Vision 2019. The report highlights what's on the radar in the tech world, and gives insights on trends that will have a major impact on the business society.
How will your company utilize and benefit from the most relevant technologies in the next three years?
MEET THE EXPERTS:
Trygve Halvorsen is the Digital Strategy Lead in Accenture Norway. He has experience from strategic advisory at companies across industries in the Nordics, from digital strategies in the private sector to some of the largest change programs at national level
Jyoti Sharma is part of Accenture’s Strategy practice. She has extensive experience from analyzing industry and technology trends, developing technology strategies, and defining operating model mechanisms for projects across a variety of industries.
Since the early years of the Technology Vision report, trends have been predicted with high accuracy and in turn, has positioned Accenture as early adopters in new technology and innovation. "Accenture's Technology Vision outlines a vision of the future, and focuses on relevant technology trends," says Sharma.
“More than 6,700 leaders around the world have been interviewed for this report. This, in combination with Accenture's research centers around the world and a compilation of projects and experiences from the market, creates the foundation for this report,” says Halvorsen.
"Digitization is no longer something that differentiates you from your competitors. If you’re not digital at the core, it’s challenging to keep the company afloat,” says Sharma.
The Technology Vision report has been published since 2000, with various focus areas each year. Over the last ten years, trends such as SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud), have been essential technologies for businesses.
“These technologies are no longer nice-to-haves. They are necessities that all businesses need to have as part of their core business,” says Halvorsen. The two experts refer to SMAC as “post-digital development.” It’s a must-have for any business that wants to build a successful digital business model.
What is this year's technology vision?
Accenture's Technology Vision 2019 encompasses five key trends in technology development.
What is the next set of technologies that companies will need to master? According to Accenture, the answer is DARQ: Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Extended Reality (XR) and Quantum Computing (Q). Accenture’s research shows that these technologies will be the next source of differentiation and disruptive technology. As these technologies reach maturity and converge, they will let businesses expand on their digital capabilities to build intelligent and highly customized, in-the-moment experiences that help shape the lives of their customers, business partners and employees.
Tech-driven interactions create a unique identity for each consumer. This is key to understanding the next generation of consumers and delivering individualized, experience-based relationships.
People are incorporating technology-driven capabilities alongside their existing skills and experiences. Companies must adapt their technology strategies to support the realities of working in the post-digital age.
According to Accenture, ecosystem-driven business connections increase companies’ exposure to risk. Leaders are recognizing that just as they collaborate with entire ecosystems to deliver best-in-class products, services and experiences, security must be part of that effort as well.
Technology is creating a world of intensely customized and on-demand experiences. Companies must reinvent to find and capture these opportunities.
What should business leaders keep top-of-mind?
How can Scandinavian companies take action from the results from Accenture’s Technology Vision 2019 to improve their own competitiveness?
The first step is ensuring you have the right competence within your company. "You need to know how to make the most out of the skillsets you have on your team," Halvorsen says.
What is the overall framework business leaders should have in place?
“You need to know your consumers better than before and have established col2laboration with other businesses. That can potentially help you create even better customer experiences. If you don’t have this, you might have a problem ” Halvorsen explains.
He uses a bank as an example, and how it’s working together in partnership with others. “If you’re using a technology to shape a market, you have to be able to predict what creates value for a customer. What would this customer prefer? And how can we deliver on-demand services?”
In order to achieve growth, you must have an organization that is built to handle growth.
"You need to be prepared for rapid change and be updated on technology. The companies we are talking to have already taken steps to start new projects that are strengthening their technological focus,” says Sharma.
According to the two experts, implementing the five technology trends, which is the baseline for Accenture’s Technology Vision 2019, will help businesses stay relevant.
What is needed to create a competitive company today? Read the five trends in Technology Vision 2019 here:
What technologies do you need to have in place to be a competitive advantage?
The SMAC acronym was introduced earlier in the article, was first launched in last year's report. According to the two experts, you have to make sure SMAC is fully integrated in order to take advantage of DARQ in the best possible way.
The first trend is about the four physical technologies that will drive the post-digital development. “These four technologies become DARQ power. If these are combined, you will be able to create even more differentiated products and services,” says Halvorsen.
"All of Accenture’s Technology Visions are based on each other, and you have to see them from year to year in order to get the full picture," says Halvorsen. "Of those who are interviewed to form the basis of this report, 89 percent responded that they had experimented with one or more of these technologies."
The experts are pointing out that it’s the combination of the four technologies that are important. They will help increase the competitiveness for the companies.
"In some cases, businesses may enter collaborations when it comes to the development of various technologies, such as those utilizing customer data or customer experiences," says Sharma. "We have not seen many who have worked with Quantum Computing yet, but Volkswagen is an example of a player who has used all four technologies. They simulate traffic flow and the chemical structure of their electric vehicle’s batteries. However, development is still at a pilot level.”
It was not many years ago since organizations started to combine technologies to develop their own solutions. “This is starting to become more mature, and the combination of these technologies is becoming quite powerful and can help solve super-complex issues and create new business areas,” says Halvorsen.
How can you use personalization to deliver unique individual services?
More businesses are working hard to personalize their services. However, Sharma and Halvorsen point out that development is moving towards delivering unique, individual services.
This is the second theme that Accenture Technology Vision 2019 focuses on: Being able to deliver unique, individual services.
“We need to understand the customers and their technological identity better than we do today. Both the technologies they are using and how we can offer better experiences,” says Halvorsen.
If you have more data on your consumers and understand them better, you must know their limits. "One example is a clothing company using data to predict who may be pregnant. This becomes an issue when a pregnant teenager, who may not be ready to share the news with her parents, receives advertising for pregnancy clothing," says Sharma.
According to Halvorsen, over time, customers will have more control of their data. “These limits need to be made. It becomes even more complex when companies begin to share information. The key is that consumers should have the opportunity to say no," says Halvorsen.
As a customer, you may already be in several ecosystems. Many companies have a solid foundation in place for understanding their customers via data. But the tremendous opportunities businesses have through personalized technology is huge.
“Just look at how personalized the world has been the past few years. As a business, you should know exactly why you are sending me an offer,” says Sharma.
A technological identity is about how a person uses, interacts with, and works in the digital space. It’s part of the personalization that businesses, for example, creates digital environments around a person.
"Technology provides the opportunity to personalize more than we do today," says Sharma.
How can you work more seamlessly with technology?
The digital transformation is underway in all aspects of business—the workforce is no exception. Technology in the workplace affects employees on all levels. Today’s employees can leverage the latest technologies to reinvent existing roles and find new, innovative ways to adapt and thrive in the post-digital era.
Innovative technologies are making workers human+. Meaning that each person brings a constantly growing set of technological capabilities to the job, alongside their knowledge, experience and skill set.
Technology has often been compared to a human being as it emerges. "Technology should rather be seen as a tool that helps people perform better in everyday life," says Sharma.
This is what the third theme of Accenture's report addresses: How can people work better with technology?
“Sheldon is an example from Accenture. It’s our own AI consultant who is a machine-learning algorithm that helps us find relevant use cases in the Accenture world. You can look at it as a personalized library where you can compare different reports and numbers,” says Halvorsen.
Everyday life for workers worldwide is changing - across all industries and sectors. "Employees expect more from the workplace. For example, training methods to adapt to new technologies in the workplace, or recruiting younger employees," says Halvorsen. "You have to fix the inside in order to take care of the outside."
As a business leader, you need to have a clear direction, find out which technologies you are going to dive deeper into, and map out the roles needed to take the technological development further.
“You have to make sure that the entire organization knows the direction the company is going. What kind of expertise do you need in the future and who has the potential to fit in here in the future?” adds Halvorsen.
According to Sharma, many business executives will end up in situations where they need to take greater steps and become totally dependent on the right of access to expertise, either through internal recruitment and lifelong learning, or the strategy and direction needs to be changed.
Why your digital ecosystem needs to be safe
The digital security situation is changing. Last year, we talked about the use of data, automation, and how companies need to take responsibility.
The companies are not doing things alone anymore; they have digital ecosystems that pose a risk. "We see several examples of businesses that are good at security themselves, but offer APIs that don’t have the same level of security," says Halvorsen.
In today's connected digital ecosystems, cyber attacks have the potential to reach an unprecedented scale. As the physical world comes under more digital control, the risk and potentially dangerous impact of these attacks will continue to grow.
Therefore, organizations have to learn how to collaborate on IT security, making it a prime component of how they build partnerships.
“There is so much data available between companies that can be utilized. You also don’t necessarily have control over what your partners do. For example, a group or hackers accesses a news agency and gained early access to press releases. The hackers ended up with profit from stock sales. That is a type of security breach we have not seen before,” says Sharma.
In Technology Vision 2019, only 38 percent of managers surveyed said that they would bring their security manager with when looking at new opportunities.
"Security is often demanding and should be present, and even more businesses should have a greater focus on data security," says Halvorsen.
But how do you ensure that both the company and customers are secure?
“First of all, you need to have the right security expertise and the right competence when looking at new opportunities. Secondly, you need to know who is connected to your systems and have the same technologies as you,” says Sharma. "Safety is a boiling area of expertise in the coming year."
Why you must have control over your markets
Companies’ early explorations with digital technologies have raised B2C and B2B expectations to new heights. Digital tech means businesses are no longer able to capture markets. They capture moments.
What does it mean to capture a moment? It means delivering goods or services to a particular customer at a precise moment of need. The world has been evolving towards the goal of capturing moments as long as digital technology has existed; in the post-digital era, it will finally be possible. It’s a natural product of a digitally maturing world.
In the post-digital world, every moment will become a potential market—a chance to meet the enormous expectations of the post-digital era. And direct digital access to customers and powerful analytics capabilities enable innovative personalization strategies.
MyMarkets charts your customer’s movements. For example, when they make a purchase, you can be there when it happens, and offer your services when customers need it.
To do this, you need sophisticated back-end technology that reorients your focuses quickly, helping you deliver on-demand.
Your business is dependent on being able to combine these opportunities to capture moments and markets.
“People are growing more impatient and will not wait. They expect to receive deliveries when they need them. How will your business create the solutions to address these challenges?” Sharma asks.
New technologies allow consumers to access personalized products and services on-demand, and enable businesses to produce customizable products more quickly and inexpensively. This combination has set consumer expectations on a constant climb. In the post-digital era, it will not be enough to achieve customization or on-demand products and services. People expect both.
“An example of this is Adidas and Siemens who are working together to personalize the way their customers are buying sports equipment. They are building a system where the customer can customize and choose patterns, designs, and more to their preferences. Then it’s delivered just a few days later,” says Halvorsen.
That is just one example of partnerships that create new synergies across businesses. This increases both the user experience, and the production/delivery time.
How you can speed up the development in your company?
There are many practices for businesses who want to start developing themselves. If Accenture is assisting a company undergoing a digital transformation, they are first trying to identify the level of ambition in the company: What does the company want to achieve?
"It’s not enough to simply make a pilot project within machine learning if you don’t know what to use it for,” Sharma says.
It’s important to know what you are aiming for. What kind of technology is going to help you? "Go from a business strategy perspective to see how to solve the challenges in the best possible way," says Sharma.
At the other end of the scale, some companies want to be the first to adapt and implement new technologies.
“Ultimately, it’s all about how technology can help solve problems. What do you want to achieve and what direction does the business want to go?” Halvorsen asks.
What comes first… the technology or the problem? Often the problem comes first and the technology is a solution.
Do you want to dig deeper into Accenture's Technology Vision 2019? Read more about the report here.
NIVÅ NULL – INGEN AUTOMATISERING
På nivå null utfører sjåføren alle driftsoppgaver av kjøretøyet.
NIVÅ EN – FØRERHJELP
På første nivå kan kjøretøyet bistå med noen funksjoner, men sjåføren utfører alle driftsoppgavene som styring, akselerasjon, bremsing og overvåking av omgivelsene. Det kan eksempelvis være en bil som bremser litt ekstra for deg om du kommer for nærme en annen bil på motorveien.
NIVÅ TO – DELVIS AUTOMATISERING
På nivå to kan kjøretøyet bistå med styrings- eller akselerasjonsfunksjoner og tillate at sjåføren gir slipp på noen av oppgavene sine. De fleste bilprodusenter utvikler for øyeblikket dette nivået. På dette nivået må likevel føreren må alltid være klar til å ta kontroll over kjøretøyet og er fortsatt ansvarlig for de fleste sikkerhetskritiske situasjoner og all miljøovervåkning.
NIVÅ TRE – BETINGET AUTOMATISERING
Det største steget fra nivå to og oppover, er at selve kjøretøyet kontrollerer all miljøovervåking ved hjelp av sensorer. Sjåførens oppmerksomhet er fremdeles kritisk på dette nivået, men vedkommende kan frigjøre seg fra «sikkerhetskritiske» funksjoner som bremsing og la teknologien ta kontrollen når forholdene er trygge.
Mange nåværende nivå tre-kjøretøy krever ingen menneskelig oppmerksomhet til veien ved hastigheter under 60 kilometer i timen.
NIVÅ FIRE – HØY AUTOMATISERING
På nivå fire og fem er kjøretøyet i stand til å styre, bremse, akselerere, overvåke kjøretøyet og kjørebanen, samt svare på hendelser, bestemme når du skal bytte felt, svinge og bruke signaler.
På nivå fire vil det autonome kjøresystemet gi beskjed til førerer når forholdene er trygge, og først da må sjåføren selv sette bilen i denne modusen. Denne graden av automasjon kan ikke avgjøre mer dynamiske kjøreforhold som trafikkork eller fletting på motorveien.
NIVÅ FEM – KOMPLETT AUTOMATISERING
Nivå fem er autonomi. Dette nivået av autonom kjøring krever absolutt ingen menneskelig oppmerksomhet og det er ikke behov for pedaler, bremser eller ratt. Det autonome kjøretøyet styrer alle de kritiske oppgavene, overvåkning av miljøet rundt bilen og identifisering av unike kjøreforhold som eksempelvis trafikkork.
Denne artikkelen er produsert i
Text: Daniel Gauslaa, Emily Northway & Accenture
Layout and design: Lars Erik Fjøsne