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‘Masters of Change’ needed to shape digital future, says Accenture’s Technology Vision 2021

  • Pioneering leaders wanted as every business becomes a technology business.

Amid the challenges caused by the COVID-19 crisis, a new era of digital transformation has dawned.

But while it’s tempting for companies to stick to what they know, they must become leaders and emerge as ‘Masters of Change’.

This is the bold message in Accenture’s Technology Vision 2021, which outlines five key trends leaders must embrace to build a better future.

The report, ‘Leaders Wanted: Masters of Change at a Moment of Truth’, asserts there is no leadership without technology leadership, and that the recent rapid digital acceleration has placed technology as the cornerstone of global leadership.

And it’s not just about fixing the business, says Accenture. Upending convention and creating a brand new vision for the future are vital if brands are to emerge as leaders.

Trend one, ‘Stack Strategically: Architecting a Better Future’, acknowledges that business strategies and technology strategies are becoming increasingly intertwined – even indistinguishable.

Take cloud spending. In the first quarter of 2020 it was nearly triple that of the previous year. What’s more, 77% of executives now state that their technology architecture is becoming very critical or critical to the success of their organisation.

As these quick-fire transformations and the attendant flood of new technologies ignite a new business era, now more than ever, architecture matters.

A dazzling array of technology choices await companies – from varying types of AI models and distribution of cloud deployment, to a range of edge devices and the design of hardware and computation. In the current climate it’s easier than ever to ensure the digital odds are stacked.

Meanwhile, growing investments in data, AI and digital twin technologies are leading to a new generation of business and intelligence, dubbed ‘Mirrored World: The Power of Massive Intelligent Digital Twins’.

This trend acknowledges that more of the physical world is being represented in digital space – from factories to supply chains, product life cycles to cities.

These digital twins are revolutionising how businesses operate, collaborate and innovate.

If brands want to push industries – and the world – towards a more agile and intelligent future, says Accenture, they must piece together their first mirrored environments today.

This kind of digitisation might sound inaccessible, but it’s within everyone’s reach. Technology is levelling up, a concept explored in ‘I, Technologist: The Democratisation of Technology’.

At last, powerful digital capabilities are being placed into people’s hands – no specialised skills required. Suddenly, services like natural language processing, low-code platforms and robotic process automation are available to individuals across the enterprise.

This democratised technology gives people the autonomy to optimise their work or find their own solutions – be that building a finance app or creating a custom dashboard.

It’s now possible for every employee to be armed with the tools to be an innovator, empowered to create technology-driven solutions on their own. For this to happen, says Accenture, companies must actively teach their people to think like technologists.

Can anyone even remember the way they used to work before the pandemic? With former work cultures a distant memory, companies and employees alike are moving instead to a new future – one where work can be done anywhere.

Accenture’s fourth trend, ‘Anywhere Everywhere: Bring Your Own Environment’, is about creating a new culture of working so that employees are empowered to bring entire environments to work.

Crucially, after the pandemic this won’t be limited to people’s homes. Work will be possible (and seamless) from anywhere at all – their office, the airport, partners’ offices, or somewhere else entirely.

Three years from now, predicts Accenture, successful businesses will be the ones who resisted the urge to race everyone back to the office. True leaders will have rethought their workforce model for the rapidly changing world.

It’s a comforting thought that in many ways these huge upheavals caused by COVID-19 have brought the world together. More than ever, this applies to technology.

Enterprises are stronger together, says Accenture, with Multiparty Systems (MPS) sharing data between individuals and organisations in a way that drives efficiency and builds new business and revenue models.

The final trend, ‘From Me to We: A Multiparty System’s Path Through the Chaos’, cites blockchain, distributed ledger and tokenisation as just some of the technologies and capabilities taking centre stage.

New, trustworthy relationships are vital to building a better future, says Accenture, with coordinated, strategic ecosystem partnerships set to blur industry boundaries, solve problems and even start to define entirely new industries.

Reflecting on these zeitgeist-capturing trends, Accenture insists that now is the moment of truth. Just as technology has sustained us through the pandemic, it continues to redefine how we work, live and interact – and leaders must embrace it to forge a better future.

“A new era of competition is dawning,” says Accenture. “One where architecture matters, and leaders will be decided not just on the success of their business plans, but on the ingenuity of their technology choices.”

To read Accenture Interactive’s Technology Vision 2021, ‘Leaders Wanted: Masters of Change at a Moment of Truth’, go to Tech Trends (storied.co)

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