Report reveals the people-centric tech environment
19 May 2017 | 0
The latest Technology Vision report from Accenture reveals a technological landscape that is more human than ever.
According to the 2017 report, the “digital revolution is an age of human empowerment,” where rapid advances have created a “people-centric technology environment” shifting the balance of power towards people, enabled by adaptive technologies and artificial intelligence (AI), to shape technology as they demand.
Within this broad development, the report identifies five key trends that are driving not only technology, but business and human experience.
The first is that AI is the new User Interface, or that user experience is now paramount. AI has come of age “to become the new user interface of every digital business brand,” says the report.
Irish specific findings within the report say that nearly three quarters (72%) of executives agree that AI will revolutionise the way they gain information from, and interact with, customers. Furthermore, 97% have indicated they will invest in extensive AI-related technologies over the next three years. Some 73% agree that AI will help accelerate technology adoption throughout their organisations, while a quarter believe AI will completely transform their organisations over the next three years.
Speaking to TechPro about the report, David Kirwan, head of technology, Accenture Ireland, said that AI technologies are at the point of being used in every day applications, making interaction more natural. This in turn, he argues, spurs a cycle of usage and adoption.
Kirwan cited examples such as Amazon’s Echo, and the likes of digital assistants such as Siri and Cortana.
Two years ago, AI was in the realms of sci-fi, said Kirwan, but now it is a subject of proof of concept conversations in simple use cases.
The next trend is that ecosystems as microcosms.
The report says that soon platform companies will be “completely breaking the rules on how to operate and compete,” and they now “need more than just a platform strategy, they need a robust ecosystem approach”.
More than a third (38%) of executives in the report said that digital ecosystems are transforming the way their organisations deliver value. Nearly three quarters (73%) agree that competitive advantage will not be determined by just one’s own organisation, but by the strength of the partners and ecosystems chosen.
Kirwan said this is a continuation of one the trends from last year’s report where it was identified that it has become critical for organisations to think of third parties with which they interact and what their ecosystem strategy is. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of these partnerships and ecosystems is key to success, and Kirwan said that most organisations will find it faster and cheaper to leverage existing platforms rather than develop their own, making it even more important to figure out where their respective organisation fits within any such ecosystem.
The changing nature of the workforce and market place was the next trend, with report finding that on-demand labour platforms, combined with surging online management solutions, are driving profound transformation.
Almost nine out of 10 (89%) of executives are planning to increase their organisation’s use of independent, freelance workers over the next year, with seven out 10 admitting extreme competitive pressure to extend innovation into their workforce and corporate structures. More than three quarters (77%) of respondents to the report survey admitted that corporate bureaucracies are stifling productivity and innovation.
Kirwan said this theme has developed from the liquid workforce trend identified last year, but spurred by the technical developments allowing the management of more people in more diverse work situations, resulting not only in a greater ability for enterprises to take advantage of a wider selection of people, but also for skilled workers to select the most attractive places and projects.
Kirwan cites the new LinkedIn ProFinder ‘match-making’ service as evidence of this growing trend.
A knock-on effect from the availability of AI and other technologies to allow technology to be more adaptive to human needs is that “technology design decisions are being made by humans, for humans,” meaning that “technology is adapting to how we behave to learn how to enhance our lives.”
Some 73% of executives agree that organisations need to understand not only where people are today, but where they want to be tomorrow. A strong 16% plan to use human behaviour extensively to guide development of new customer experiences and relationships in the next three years.
Kirwan said that soon, every technology interaction in enterprise will be a smart one, which will contribute back to the sum of knowledge on which future interactions and design will be based.
While many of the findings of the Technology Vision reports can be somewhat on the horizon, Kirwan said that many of the 2017 trends are far more immediate, and likely to be felt in the short term.
However, in this report, the final topic was “the uncharted”.
“To succeed in today’s ecosystem-driven digital economy, businesses must seize the opportunities to establish rules and standards for entirely new industries,” says the report.
More than three quarters (77%) of business executives agree that government regulations in their industry have not kept pace with technological advancements, while nearly the same (75%) said that their organisations feel a duty to be active and anticipatory writing rules for emerging industries.
The same proportion (77%) of executives agree that their organisation is entering entirely new digital industries that have yet to be defined.
Kirwan said that in certain areas, standards and regulations are either ill-defined or obsolete, which brings a risk factor, as well as opportunity.
“It is up to the leaders in these areas to take action to avoid chaos,” said Kirwan, whether this is in setting standards, agreeing interoperability or more.
“Companies are increasingly enabling people via technology, to build on opportunities that are both grand and granular,” says the report. “The power of the hyper-personalisation that technology now makes possible drives goals both at the level of entire industries, and the level of individuals.
“The digital leaders of the world are already starting their journey to make the big plays.”