Business enterprises are 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, a new report from Accenture has shown.
Titled: The Post-Digital Era is Upon Us – Are You Ready for What’s Next?, enterprise is at a turning point. Digital technologies enable firms to understand 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, the report said.
Accenture Technology’s Managing Director, Niyi Tayo, said: “A post-digital world doesn’t mean that digital is over. On the contrary – we’re posing a new question: As all organisations develop their digital competency, what will set you apart? In this era, simply doing digital isn’t enough. Our technology vision highlights the ways in which organisations must use powerful new technologies to innovate in their business models and personalise experiences for their customers. At the same time, leaders must recognise that human values, such as trust and responsibility, are not just buzzwords but critical enablers of their success.”
The vision identified five emerging technology trends that firms must address to succeed in today’s rapidly evolving landscape.
According to the report, first is understanding the DNA of DARQ. The technologies of distributed ledgers, artificial intelligence (AI), 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, 41 per cent of executives ranked AI number one – more than twice the number of any other DARQ technology,” said the report.
The second is to unlock unique consumers and unique opportunities. Technology-driven interactions are creating an expanding technology identity for every consumer. This 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 (83 per cent) said digital demographics give their organisations a new way to identify market opportunities for unmet customer needs.
It said as workforces become “human+” – with each individual worker empowered by 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 (71 per cent) of execs believe employees are more digitally mature than organisation, resulting in a workforce “waiting” for the organisation to catch up.
According to the report, 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 29 per cent of executives said they know their ecosystem partners are working diligently to be compliant and resilient with regard to security,” it added.
Technology, it said, 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.
Six in seven executives (85 per cent) said 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,” it said.
The report said one company taking individualisation and customisation to a new level is Zozotown, Japan’s biggest e-commerce company. Its skintight spandex Zozosuits pair with the Zozotown app to take customers’ exact measurements; custom-tailored pieces from the company’s in-house clothing line arrive in as few as 10 days. And it’s not just in the fashion industry where technology is enabling customisation previously not possible. United States retailer Sam’s Club developed an app that uses machine learning and data about customers’ past purchases to auto-fill their shopping lists; the company plans to add a navigation feature to show optimised routes through the store to each item on that list.