Leadership is critical as every business becomes a technology business
As the digital gap widens in the wake of the pandemic, ‘masters of change’ will define the future, according to the “Accenture Technology Vision 2021”.
Technology was a lifeline during the global pandemic – enabling new ways of working and doing business, creating new interactions and experiences, and improving health and safety. Technology forever changed expectations and behaviors and created entirely new realities across every industry. As companies shift from reacting to the crisis, to reinventing what comes next, the boldest, most visionary leaders – those who use technology to master change – will define the future, says the 21st annual report from Accenture predicting the key technology trends that will shape businesses and industries over the next three years.
“We now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to turn this moment of truth for technology into a moment of trust – embracing the power of exponential technology change to completely reimagine and rebuild the future of business and human experience,” said Paul Daugherty, group chief executive Technology and chief technology officer at Accenture.
Shaping the future will require companies to become masters of change by adhering to three key imperatives.
- First, leadership demands technology leadership. The era of the fast follower is over – perpetual change is permanent. Tomorrow’s leaders will be those that put technology at the forefront of their business strategy.
- Second, leaders won’t wait for a new normal, they’ll reinvent, building new realities using radically different mindsets and models.
- Finally, leaders will embrace a broader responsibility as global citizens, deliberately designing and applying technology to create positive impacts far beyond the enterprise to create a more sustainable and inclusive world.
The “Technology Vision” identifies five key trends that companies will need to address over the next three years to accelerate and master change in all parts of their business:
Architecting a better future
A new era of industry competition is dawning – one where companies compete on their IT systems architecture. But building and wielding the most competitive technology stack means thinking about technology differently, making business and technology strategies indistinguishable.
The power of massive, intelligent, digital twins
Leaders are building intelligent digital twins to create living models of factories, supply chains, product lifecycles, and more. Bringing together data and intelligence to represent the physical world in a digital space will unlock new opportunities to operate, collaborate, and innovate.
The democratization of technology
Powerful capabilities are now available to people across business functions, adding a grassroots layer to enterprises’ innovation strategies. Now, every employee can be an innovator, optimizing their work, fixing pain points, and keeping the business in lockstep with new and changing needs.
Bring your own environment
The single biggest workforce shift in living memory has positioned businesses to expand the boundaries of the enterprise. When people can “bring your own environment” they have the freedom to seamlessly work from anywhere – whether that’s at home, the office, the airport, partners’ offices, or somewhere else.
A multiparty system’s path through chaos
The demand for contact tracing, frictionless payments, and new ways of building trust brought into sharp focus what had been left undone with enterprises’ existing ecosystems. Multiparty systems can help businesses gain greater resilience and adaptability; unlock new ways to approach the market; and set new, ecosystem-forward standards for their industries.
Prioritizing technology innovation in response to a rapidly changing world has never been more important. Consider the restaurant industry: 60% of restaurants listed as ‘temporarily closed’ on Yelp in July were permanently out of business by September. Through the chaos, Starbucks emerged as a leader, using technology to expand customer and retail channels. By August, three million new users downloaded its app, and mobile ordering and drive-thru pick up accounted for 90 percent of sales. As demand surged, it deployed an integrated ticket management system to combine orders from its app, Uber Eats and drive-thru customers into a single workflow for baristas. Starbucks also introduced a new espresso machine with sensors to track how much coffee was being poured and predict necessary maintenance. This is a powerful illustration of technology as the core enabler of a company’s agile, resilient and successful response to change.