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Accenture: Technology is providing the resilience that businesses need at uncertain times

Paul Daugherty​ is Accenture​'s Group Chief Executive -- technology & chief technology officer. Daugherty shares his perspective on broader technology trends shaping business now and in the future.
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Written by Vala Afshar, Contributing Writer on
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Technology advances are making tech more... human

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Are technology advances making tech more... human? From AI to blockchain to the Metaverse, digital technologies are shaping how businesses compete in more decentralized and digital-first economies. Human behaviors and intelligence are informing the design of new machines, changing innovation strategies and the way companies build products and services. What are the most important technology trends shaping business now and in the future? 

Paul Daugherty is Accenture's group chief executive -- technology & chief technology officer. He leads all aspects of Accenture's technology business. Daugherty is also responsible for Accenture's technology strategy, driving innovation through R&D in Accenture Labs and leveraging emerging technologies to bring the newest innovations to clients globally. He recently launched Accenture's Cloud First initiative to scale the company's market-leading cloud business further and is responsible for incubating new businesses such as blockchain, extended reality and quantum computing. He founded and oversees Accenture Ventures, which is focused on strategic equity investments and open innovation to accelerate growth. Daugherty is responsible for managing Accenture's alliances, partnerships and senior-level relationships with leading and emerging technology companies, and he leads Accenture's Global CIO Council and annual CIO and Innovation Forum. He is a member of Accenture's Global Management Committee.

Daugherty is co-author of the highly acclaimed book Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI, a management playbook for the business of artificial intelligence. He is also the co-author of the forthcoming new book Radically Human: How New Technology is Transforming Business and Shaping Our Future.

To learn more about the most important technology and business market trends, the importance of the Metaverse, and Daugherty's newest book, Radically Human, Ray Wang, CEO and founder of award-winning, Silicon Valley-based research and advisory firm Constellation Research, and I invited Daugherty to our weekly live video podcast DisrupTV

Technology is providing the resilience that companies need for the next decade

It is an incredibly confusing time in the world - everybody is trying to prepare for the future. Daugherty believes that the technology cycle is breaking from prior traditional cycles, which reduced technology spending in tough environments. With COVID, we saw companies investing in technologies because technology became a lifeline for companies to run their business. We are now in a different cycle with all this uncertainty. Technology is the one certainty you can count on in a highly volatile and uncertain world. The benefits of investing in technology help companies become more resilient, which is what companies need at uncertain times. According to Daugherty, we will continue to see strong investments in technology in the next decade. 

Five forces that shape how companies invest in technology

  1. Total enterprise reinvention: Daugherty believes that most companies are only at 20%-30% through their digital transformation initiatives. The next 70-80% of digital transformation will take the next decade. This is not about technology only, but it incorporates the transformation of the enterprise, including its business model, which is how an organization makes money.
  2. Talent: The market for technology and specialized skills will not change. The specialized talent will be a precious commodity through the next decade. Talent creators will do better. 
  3. Sustainability: Only 6% of companies have linked their sustainability and technology strategies together. This is a massive mistake. Technology is not just a measuring tool for sustainability. Technology is the answer to sustainability problems, so the strategies must be linked together. 
  4. Metaverse: The 2022 Accenture Technology Vision report titled 'Meet Me in the Metaverse' highlights the Metaverse continuum. The Metaverse will reshape the enterprise. Metaverse development will create use cases unimaginable today. Accenture, in 2022, will onboard 150,000 employees on their Metaverse called 'One Accenture Park'. 
  5. Ongoing Tech Revolution: IT and digital will infuse the sciences into how companies will transform in the future. The revolution will include the combined use of edge computing, AI, cloud computing, blockchain, Web3, the internet of things and immersive technologies like augmented and virtual realities. 

The Accenture Technology Vision 2022 report, co-authored by Daugherty, states that businesses are racing toward a future very different from the one they were designed to operate in. Is your business ready for the Metaverse? Accenture believes that the Metaverse is actionable today, and leaders must be ready. " Welcome to the "Metaverse Continuum" -- a spectrum of digitally enhanced worlds, realities, and business models poised to revolutionize life and enterprise in the next decade," Accenture. Daugherty spoke to us about digital twins, the transformative effect of web3, and how the Metaverse will enhance future engagements without the need for headsets. The Metaverse will be a multi-trillion dollar industry in the next decade. 

The Accenture Tech Vision report explores how today's technology innovations are becoming the building blocks of our collective future. The report states that 95% of global executives believe that future digital platforms need to offer unified experiences, enabling interoperability of customers' data across different platforms and spaces. The maximal value of both Metaverse and Web3 will depend on the ways in which the two converge with one another. The report also notes that 92% of global executives agree that leading organizations will push the boundaries of the virtual world to make it more real, increasing the need for persistence and seamless navigation between the digital and physical worlds.

Technology advances are making tech more... human 

From the blockchain to the Metaverse to emotional AI, digital technologies are rapidly advancing at a time when enterprises face more pressure than ever to innovate to gain a competitive advantage. . How can companies apply human-centric technologies to transform the future of their business? 

Radically Human, a new book from Accenture Technology leaders Paul Daugherty and H. James Wilson, offers business leaders an easy-to-understand breakdown of today's most advanced human-inspired technologies and an actionable IDEAS framework that will help you approach innovation in a completely new way. In Radically Human, Daugherty and Wilson show this profound shift, fast-forwarded by the pandemic, toward more human -- and more humane -- technology. The book introduces us to a new innovation framework and the basic building blocks of business -- Intelligence, Data, Expertise, Architecture, and Strategy (IDEAS) -- that are transforming competition. 

Daugherty also highlights the three stages of human-machine interactions. The three stages are:

1. Machine-centric: the machine can do what it's programmed to do

2. Collaborative: humans train machines, and machines augment humans

3. Human-centric: people teach machines to do more

"In addition to imagination, the path to IDEAS-driven technology enabling the near merging of strategy and execution requires two somewhat contradictory postures: forethought and speed," Daugherty. 

Daugherty shares three truths about the present and future: 

1. All companies are now technology companies

2. Companies have proved that they can wield technology to innovate and change with unprecedented speed

3. In the human-technology nexus, the human is the ascendant

The book strongly reminds us that the stakes couldn't be higher; the opportunities couldn't be greater. "As our relationship with technology unfolds, we will find ourselves moving deeper and deeper into reflections about what makes us truly human. In the final analysis, that may offer the most radically human hope for the future," Daugherty. 

Wang and I also spoke with Keith Fitz-Gerald, Principal, Fitz-Gerald Group and Isaac Sacolick, President of StarCIO and Author of Digital Trailblazer. Keith Fitz-Gerald is one of America's most recognized investing experts. He's been involved in global markets as a private investor, trader, consultant and analyst for more than 40 years. Sacolick is the president, CIO and founder of StarCIO, a technology learning company that guides leaders on digital transformation. A lifelong technologist, Isaac has served in startup CTO and transformational CIO roles. He founded StarCIO with the belief that agile ways of working and data-driven practices can empower diverse teams to drive transformation. I recommend that you watch our video conversation with Daugherty, Fitz-Gerald and Sacolick. 

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