People hold the power to shape and apply technology to create positive change, improve lives, and transform business and society, according to Accenture Technology Vision 2017, the annual technology report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN) that predicts the most significant technology trends that people will apply to disrupt business over the next three years.
The report was presented to the media in Johanesburg by Dr. Roze Phillips, MD for Accenture Consulting; Rory Moore, Innovation Lead for Accenture; and Hans Zachar, MD for Technology Strategy at Accenture.
The theme of this year’s report, “Technology for People,” is a call to action for business and technology leaders to actively design and direct technology to augment and amplify human capabilities. The report states that we are beginning to see the emergence of technology for people, by people — technology that seamlessly anticipates our needs and delivers hyper-personalized experiences.
“The pace of technology change is breathtaking, bringing about the biggest advancements since the dawn of the Information Age,” said Phillips. “As technology transforms the way we work and live, it raises important societal challenges and creates new opportunities. Ultimately, people are in control of creating the changes that will affect our lives, and we’re optimistic that responsive and responsible leaders will ensure the positive impact of new technologies.”
As part of the Technology Vision, Accenture surveyed more than 5,400 business and IT executives worldwide. Nearly nine in 10 respondents (86 percent) said that while individual technologies are rapidly advancing, it is the multiplier effect of these technologies that is creating innovation breakthroughs.
The Technology Vision details how — with advances in artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and big data analytics — humans can now design technology that’s capable of learning to think more like people and to constantly align to and help advance their wants and needs. This human-centered technology approach pays off for businesses, as leading companies will transform relationships from provider to partner — simultaneously transforming internally.
CVS Health is one example of a company that has established a people-centric approach – in this instance to improve healthcare. Its smartwatch-compatible mobile app sets customers’ personalized reminders for taking medication, snaps pictures of their prescriptions to expedite refills, and scans their insurance card so that store clerks are prepared with up-to-date information. In an industry long associated with impersonal interactions and unbearable wait times, companies like CVS Health are enabling individual empowerment over personal healthcare while simultaneously building closer patient-doctor relationships.
The Technology Vision identifies five emerging technology trends that are essential to business success in today’s digital economy:
- AI is the new UI. Artificial intelligence (AI) is coming of age, tackling problems both big and small by making interactions simple and smart. AI is becoming the new user interface (UI), underpinning the way we transact and interact with systems. Seventy-nine percent of survey respondents agree that AI will revolutionize the way they gain information from and interact with customers.
- Design for Humans. Technology design decisions are being made by humans, for humans. Technology adapts to how we behave and learns from us to enhance our lives, making them richer and more fulfilling. Eighty percent of executives surveyed agree that organizations need to understand not only where people are today, but also where they want to be — and shape technology to act as their guide to realize desired outcomes.
- Ecosystems as Macrocosms. Platform companies that provide a single point of access to multiple services have completely broken the rules for how companies operate and compete. Companies don’t just need a platform strategy, they need a rich and robust ecosystem approach to lead in this new era of intelligence. Already, more than one-quarter (27 percent) of executives surveyed reported that digital ecosystems are transforming the way their organizations deliver value.
- Workforce Marketplace. The number of on-demand labor platforms and online work-management solutions is surging. As a result, leading companies are dissolving traditional hierarchies and replacing them with talent marketplaces, which in turn is driving the most profound economic transformation since the Industrial Revolution. Case in point: Eighty-five percent of executives surveyed said they plan to increase their organization’s use of independent freelance workers over the next year.
- The Uncharted. To succeed in today’s ecosystem-driven digital economy, businesses must delve into uncharted territory. Instead of focusing solely on introducing new products and services, they should think much bigger — seizing opportunities to establish rules and standards for entirely new industries. In fact, 74 percent of the executives surveyed said that their organization is entering entirely new digital industries that have yet to be defined.
For nearly 17 years, Accenture has taken a systematic look across the enterprise landscape to identify emerging technology trends that hold the greatest potential to disrupt businesses and industries. For more information on this year’s report, visit www.accenture.com/technologyvision or follow the conversation on Twitter with #TechVision2017.