According to an Accenture Technology Vision 2020 report, of 60,000 business and IT executives worldwide that Accenture surveyed, 83% of respondents acknowledge that technology has become an inextricable part of the human experience. Seventy percent of nearly 2,000 consumers surveyed expect their relationship with technology to be more or significantly more prominent over the next three years.
We are in a customer experience-led economy and people's expectations for their future with technology are growing at unprecedented velocity (speed and direction). The combined use of new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), sensors and wearable technologies, mixed and extended realities powered by augmented and virtual realities (AR/VR), 5G and edge computing, and greater adoption of cloud computing and digital networks means that companies must be able to deliver value at the speed of customer need to stay relevant and successfully compete. To survive the tech clash, platforms, open ecosystems and a culture that measures progress by committing to stakeholder (employees, customers, business partners, and communities) success are all critical success factors.
"Seventy-six percent of executives agree that organizations need to dramatically re-engineer the experiences that bring technology and people together in a more human-centric manner." -- Accenture
"Today we're seeing a tech-clash caused by the tension between consumer expectations, the potential of technology, and business ambitions -- and are now at an important leadership inflection point. We must shift our mindset from 'just because' to 'trust because' -- reexamining our fundamental business and technology models and creating a new basis for competition and growth," said Paul Daugherty, Accenture's chief technology and innovation officer.
Accenture research states that "for companies to grow and compete, enterprises will need to revisit their fundamental models of business and technology, rebuilding them to align better with people today."
"Fifty-two percent of consumers say that technology plays a prominent role or is ingrained into almost all aspects of their day-to day lives. An additional 19% report that technology is so intertwined with all aspects of their day-to-day lives that they view it as an extension of themselves." - Accenture
The Accenture Technology Vision 2020 report identifies five key trends that companies must address over next three years to defuse tech-clash and realize new forms of business value that will be driven in part by stronger, more trusting relationships with stakeholders:
- The I in Experience. Organizations will need to design personalized experiences that amplify an individual's agency and choice. This turns passive audiences into active participants by transforming one-way experiences -- which can leave people feeling out of control and out of the loop -- into true collaborations.
- Five in six business and IT executives surveyed (85%) believe that competing successfully in this new decade requires organizations to elevate their relationships with customers as partners.
- AI and Me. Artificial intelligence (AI) should be an additive contributor to how people perform their work, rather than a backstop for automation. As AI capabilities grow, enterprises must rethink the work they do to make AI a generative part of the process, with trust and transparency at its core.
- Currently, only 37% of organizations report using inclusive design or human-centric design principles to support human-machine collaboration.
- Only 23% of organizations report they are preparing their workforce for collaborative, interactive, and explainable AI-based systems.
- 73% of organizations report piloting or adopting AI in one or more business units.
- The Dilemma of Smart Things. Assumptions about who owns a product are being challenged in a world entering a state of "forever beta." As enterprises seek to introduce a new generation of products driven by digital experiences, addressing this new reality will be critical to success.
- Nearly three-quarters (74%) of executives report that their organization's connected products and services will have more, or significantly more, updates over the next three years.
- Seventy-nine percent of executives believe their industry is moving toward offering more variety in ownership models for their connected products and/or services.
- Robots in the Wild. Robotics is no longer contained in the warehouse or factory floor. With 5G poised to rapidly accelerate this fast-growing trend, every enterprise must re-think its future through the lens of robotics.
- Executives are split in their views of how their employees will embrace robotics: 45% say their employees will be challenged to figure out how to work with robots, while 55% believe that their employees will easily figure out how to work with them.
- Sixty-one percent of executives expect their organizations will use robotics in uncontrolled environments within the next two years.
- Forty-eight percent of consumers surveyed believe robots are poised to make their lives easier (48%) or more efficient (41%). At the same time, 39% state they are concerned robots will introduce more problems than they fix.
- Fifty-nine percent of executives agree: Social and service robots in public spaces will raise major ethical, legal, and societal concerns, including security threats and privacy risks.
- Forty-five percent of executives believe employees will be challenged to figure out how to work with robots.
- Innovation DNA. Enterprises have access to an unprecedented amount of disruptive technology, such as distributed ledgers, AI, extended reality and quantum computing. To manage it all -- and evolve at the speed demanded by the market today -- organizations will need to establish their own unique innovation DNA.
- Three-quarters (76%) of executives believe that the stakes for innovation have never been higher, so getting it "right" will require new ways of innovating with ecosystem partners and third-party organizations.
- 56% of executives believe rapid advancements in new technologies and scientific innovations are poised to disrupt their industries.
"To truly bring a human touch to the next decade, the new models that enterprises build must be rooted in collaboration. As technology's level of impact grows ever higher throughout society, successful businesses will be those that use new models to invite people -- customers, employees, partners or the public -- to co-create their new course for the future," this according to Accenture.
Accenture's report states that "disrupters are already taking steps to address the gap between people's expectations and today's standards." Here are bold predictions associated with these five trends:
The I in Experience
- By 2025, the line between media and entertainment and gaming companies will blur as real-time interactive experiences become a primary form of leisure.
- By 2025, at least one country will pass legislation to regulate interactive advertising in the physical world.
- By 2030, all customer interactions will be multi-sensory, including haptics, vision, gestures or sound to drive cooperative experiences.
AI and Me
- By 2023, seventy-five percent of Global 3 2000 companies will offer employees the opportunity to work with AI-powered career coaches that make personalized growth and training recommendations.
- By 2025, every operational AI deployment will be legally required to have an explainable component.
- By 2027, the majority of people's interactions with intelligent systems will happen in natural language and spatial interfaces.
The Dilemma of Smart Things
- By 2023, data portability will be a requirement for all connected products sold in the US and EU.
- By 2025, edge devices will have local intelligence backup for when they are disconnected from cloud-driven intelligence and analysis.
- By 2027, the top-selling connected products will offer "digital lifetime guarantees," allowing customers to replace devices for free when the original hardware becomes obsolete.
Robots in the Wild
- By 2025, urban dwellers will have five to 10 daily interactions with autonomous devices.
- By 2027, a major clothing retailer will become the first to introduce consumer-facing robotics services like in-home custom tailoring and same-hour size exchanges.
- By 2030, there will be a 1:1 ratio between autonomous robots and healthcare professionals in every major hospital.
- By 2022, an independent group of academics will announce quantum supremacy has been achieved. In six years, 65 percent of the Global 2000 will have hired quantum computing specialists.
- By 2027, the largest user of CRISPR technology will be the agricultural and food industry.
- By 2035, the majority of the world's cold data will be stored through a medium almost no organization is using today, such as glass or DNA.
A very important portion of the Accenture Technology Vision 2020 report was a strong emphasis on companies building a foundation of trust. Every business must hold itself accountable for its role across society. Trust must be the number one core value of your company -- this is true for my company, Salesforce. Trust is the most important currency in a hyper-connected, knowledge economy, where stakeholders have greater choices, and voice than ever before. Successful companies recognize that stakeholder value is of greater importance than shareholder value. Trust, customer success, innovation, and equality are core values and guiding principles that matter most for post-digital people.