Accenture’s top 5 emerging technology trends destined to shape business

Five emerging technology trends that companies must address if they are to succeed in today’s rapidly evolving, post-digital, landscape

Enterprise level businesses are entering a new “post-digital” era, according to Accenture’s latest report, where success will be based on an organisation’s ability to master new technologies which can deliver personalised realities and experiences for customers, employees and business partners.

A turning point?

The enterprise is at a turning point.

Currently, digital technologies are being implemented at most levels to enable companies to thrive. Tech, such AI or IoT, is being used to understand enterprise customers with a new level of detail; giving them more channels with which to reach those consumers; and enable them to expand ecosystems with new potential partners.

But, digital is no longer a differentiating advantage – it’s now the price of admission, according to Accenture’s annual report.

Related: Gartner’s 5 emerging technology trends with transformational impact

In fact, nearly four in five of the 6,600+ business and IT executives worldwide believe that digital technologies – specifically social, mobile, analytics and cloud – have moved beyond adoption silos to become part of the core technology foundation for their organisation.

“A post-digital world doesn’t mean that digital is over,” said Paul Daugherty, Accenture’s chief technology and innovation officer. “On the contrary ― we’re posing a new question: As all organisations develop their digital competency, what will set YOU apart? In this era, simply doing digital isn’t enough. Our Technology Vision highlights the ways in which organisations must use powerful new technologies to innovate in their business models and personalise experiences for their customers. At the same time, leaders must recognise that human values, such as trust and responsibility, are not just buzzwords but critical enablers of their success.”

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5 emerging technology trends

As part of Accenture’s Tech Vision report, it has come up with five emerging technology trends that companies must address if they are to succeed in today’s rapidly evolving, post-digital, landscape.

1. DARQ power

Understanding the DNA of DARQ.

The technologies of distributed ledgers, artificial intelligence, extended reality and quantum computing make up DARQ. These are catalysts for change, offering potentially revolutionary capabilities for businesses by enabling them to reimagine entire industries.

When asked to rank which of these will have the greatest impact on their organisation over the next three years, 41% of executives ranked AI number one — more than twice the number of any other DARQ technology.

2. Get to know me

Unlock unique consumers and unique opportunities.

Technology-driven interactions are creating an expanding technology identity for every consumer — the personalisation game. This digital fountain of knowledge is essential in understanding the next generation of consumers who are looking for rich, individualised, experience-based relationships.

More than four in five executives said that digital demographics give their organisations a new way to identify market opportunities for unmet customer needs.

3. Human + worker (+machine?)

Change your workplace or hinder your workforce.

Workforces are increasingly being integrated — with each individual human worker empowered by their skillsets and knowledge plus a new, growing set of capabilities made possible through technology. Companies must support this new way of working in the post-digital age.

More than two-thirds (71%) of executives believed that their employees are more digitally mature than their organisation, resulting in a workforce “waiting” for the organisation to catch up.

4. Secure us to secure me

Enterprises are not victims, they’re vectors.

An ecosystem-driven business depends on interconnectedness, but those connections increase companies’ exposures to risks. Leading businesses need to recognise that security must play a key role in their efforts as they collaborate with entire ecosystems to deliver best-in-class products, services and experiences.

Only 29% of executives said they know their ecosystem partners are working diligently to be compliant and resilient with regard to security.

5. MyMarkets

Meet consumers at the speed of now.

Technology is creating a world of intensely customised and on-demand experiences, and companies must reinvent their organisations to find and capture those opportunities. That means viewing each opportunity as if it’s an individual market — a momentary market.

Six in seven executives (85%) said that the integration of customisation and real-time delivery is the next big wave of competitive advantage.

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Innovation in the post-digital era

Innovation for organisations in the post-digital era involves figuring out how to shape the world around people and pick the right time to offer their products and services, according to the report.

Businesses across the spectrum are taking their first steps in a world that tailors itself to fit every moment — where products, services and even people’s surroundings are customised and where businesses cater to the individual in every aspect of their lives and jobs, shaping their realities.

A new level

Zozotown: One company taking individualisation and customisation to a new level is Zozotown, Japan’s biggest e-commerce company. Its skintight spandex Zozosuits pair with the Zozotown app to take customers’ exact measurements. Custom-tailored pieces from the company’s in-house clothing line arrive in as few as 10 days.

And it’s not just in the fashion industry where technology is enabling customiSation previously not possible: US retailer Sam’s Club developed an app that uses machine learning and data about customers’ past purchases to auto-fill their shopping lists. The company plans to add a navigation feature to show optimiSed routes through the store to each item on that list.

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Post-digital edge

Companies still in the midst of their digital transformations projects are looking for a post-digital edge, whether it’s innovative service, higher efficiency or more personalisation.

But, the report notes that post-digital companies are out to surpass the competition by combining these forces to change the way the market itself works — from one market to many custom markets — on-demand and in the moment, just as Chinese e-retail platform is doing with its “Toplife” platform.

This service, according to the report, helps third parties sell through JD by setting up customised stores, providing access to its supply chain with cutting-edge robotics and drone delivery. In partnership with Walmart, a physical store in Shenzhen will offer more than 8,000 products available in person or delivered from the store in under 30 minutes. By offering unprecedented customisation and speed, JD is empowering other companies while creating a new market for itself.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...