Tech trends impacting enterprises over the next five years

Emma McGuigan, Managing Director of Accenture Technology, UK & Ireland

The framework of modern society is now more complicated than ever as digital technology has been intricately woven into the fabric of daily lives. Our dependence on smartphones, phablets and wearable technology has transformed human behaviour, leaving many dependent on their daily dose of technology just to function properly.

From a business perspective, the adoption of this technology has presented new opportunities to leverage social, mobile, analytics and cloud to generate tangible business benefits. Just over the last few years, we have seen the emergence of the so-called digerati who have rewritten much of the digital playbook with their deep resources, huge scale and process discipline. These well-established companies have set the pace by using technology to improve their own internal process and drive growth.

Every year Accenture takes a look at contemporary business practices and evolving technologies. The Accenture Technology Vision 2015 highlights the emerging technology trends that will have the greatest impact on enterprises over the next three to five years, energising digital business development efforts and transforming the enterprise IT landscape. Here are the key observations from this year’s report:

The internet of me: our world, personalised
The personalisation of products and services has propelled organisations ahead of their competition, providing a key point of differentiation. Brand new, untapped, connected points of access to the consumer have helped to facilitate this and forward-thinkers have truly embraced the opportunity to provide a personalised experience, making people the centre of business decisions. Features and functionality must reflect what individuals are trying to accomplish, enabling them to control, measure, and even automate parts of their lives in both the digital and physical worlds. Leading companies are already moving fast in this direction—and reframing the competitive conversation in their industries.

Outcome economy: hardware producing hard results
Digital technology is making it easier to understand what customers really want, especially as hardware on the edge is becoming more intelligent. This has enabled companies to gain quantifiable, end-to-end insights which can be integrated with products and services to produce marketable outcomes. To deliver the most effective results for clients, organisations will have to adopt new business models which shift their nucleus from selling things to selling results. Of course, one company cannot do it all – the new leaders will be those who can consistently collaborate with others to deliver excellence across a spectrum of capabilities.

The platform revolution: defining ecosystem, redefining industries
In the past, platform-based strategies were the main avenue to disrupt operations, markets and industries. However, the technological revolution has cleared the way for new approaches and firms are now focusing on evolving products and services into digital industry platforms. Through this, organisations are able to deploy solutions which mould their digital businesses by generating new revenue streams, whilst simultaneously creasing competitive differentiation.

Intelligent enterprise, smarter systems – better business
Industry trends show that enterprises are exploring the possibility of embedding software intelligence into all aspects of their operations. A recent Vision study report by Accenture showed that 86% of business and IT executives believe that software is entering a new era of intelligence that will revolutionise the way society uses data. Advances in power, data science, and cognitive technology will all enable organisations to uncover hidden value from the vast data lakes that they often accumulate to drive new levels of efficiency, evolution and innovation.

Workforce re-imagined: collaboration at the intersection of humans and machines
The maturing of technology and advances in natural language processing have improved communication processes between machines and humans. The future will see this taken forward through the creation of a human-technology hybrid workforce where the strengths of each group are able to be fully utilised. Creativity, contextual understanding and complex communications will come from the human workforce, whilst machines will provide precision, scale and consistency. As a team, they will be able to accomplish more than either human or machine could on their own, providing enterprises with increased intelligence, performance and productivity.

Innovating towards the future
The technology trends of 2015 demonstrate that companies are no longer placated by waiting for the next wave of tech to wash through their doors. Instead, they’re actively developing operations both internally - towards improvements in their current operations and business processes, and externally - by stretching their boundaries to leverage a broader ecosystem of digital businesses. This new approach will help enterprises to immerse themselves into the broader digital ecosystem, reshaping entire markets and defining their role within the ‘we economy’.

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