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Every business a technology business

Accenture Technology

As the digital gap widens in the wake of the pandemic, ‘Masters of Change’ will define the future, according to Accenture Technology Vision 2021 – Leadership is critical as every business becomes a technology business.

According to the Accenture Technology Vision 2021 , technology was a lifeline during the global pandemic – enabling new ways of working and doing business, creating new interactions and experiences, and improving health and safety. Technology forever changed expectations and behaviors and created entirely new realities across every industry. As companies shift from reacting to the crisis, to reinventing what comes next, the boldest, most visionary leaders – those who use technology to master change – will define the future, says the 21st annual report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN) predicting the key technology trends that will shape businesses and industries over the next three years.

The report, “Leaders Wanted: Masters of Change at a Moment of Truth,” outlines how leading enterprises are compressing a decade of digital transformation into one or two years. Relying on a strong digital core to adapt and innovate at lighting speed, leaders are growing revenues 5x faster than laggards today, versus only 2x faster between 2015 to 2018, according to Accenture research. The result is a wave of companies racing to reinvent themselves and use technology innovations to shape the new realities they face. “The global pandemic pushed a giant fast forward button to the future. Many organisations stepped up to use technology in extraordinary ways to keep their businesses and communities running – at a pace they thought previously impossible – while others faced the stark reality of their shortcomings, lacking the digital foundation needed to rapidly pivot,” said Paul Daugherty, group chief executive – Technology and chief technology officer at Accenture. “We now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to turn this moment of truth for technology into a moment of trust – embracing the power of exponential technology change to completely reimagine and rebuild the future of business and human experience.”

Accenture surveyed more than 6,200 business and technology leaders for the Technology Vision report, and 96% of South African leaders report that their organisation is innovating with an urgency and call to action this year. And 97% of executives agree capturing tomorrow’s market will require their organisation to define it. Shaping the future will require companies to become masters of change by adhering to three key imperatives.

First, leadership demands technology leadership. The era of the fast follower is over—perpetual change is permanent. Tomorrow’s leaders will be those that puttechnology at the forefront of their business strategy. Second, leaders won’t wait for a new normal, they’ll reinvent, building new realities using radically differentmindsets and models. Finally, leaders will embrace a broader responsibility as global citizens, deliberately designing and applying technology to create positive impacts far beyond the enterprise to create a more sustainable and inclusive world.

“Technology and innovation were bound to change the world,” says Willie Schoeman, Managing Director for Accenture Technology in Africa. “The COVID-10 pandemic accelerated the urgency for change and South African business across a variety of industries had to adapt to first survive the storm. Now, true business leadership will come from companies who are willing to embrace radically different mindsets and business models.

They will not only adapt their business to the new reality, while rebuilding the South African economy post the pandemic. Leading businesses will shape the new future by harnessing the power of innovative new technologies,” he says. The Technology Vision identifies five key trends that companies will need to address over next three years to accelerate and master change in all parts of the business:


Architecting a better future

Companies will now be competing on their technology architecture. Enterprises can custom-tailor every layer of it now, but building and wielding the most competitive stack means thinking differently. Business and technology strategies must become indistinguishable. Whoever gains the upper edge on technology stands to emerge as number one.


The power of massive, intelligent, digital twins

Growing investments in data, AI and digital twin technologies are giving rise to a new generation of business and intelligence. Call it the mirrored world. More of the physical world is represented in digital space—with models of whole factories, supply chains, product life cycles and more. It’s ushering in new opportunities for enterprise leaders to bring data and intelligence together, ask and answer big questions, and reimagine how they operate, collaborate and innovate.


The democratization of technology

Technology is democratizing. Natural language processing, low-code platforms and robotic process automation are adding a grassroots layer to enterprise innovation strategies. With democratized technology, every employee can be an innovator, empowered to create technology-driven solutions on their own.


Bring your own environment

At the start of the pandemic, enterprises ignited the biggest workforce shift in living memory by sending people home and doubling down on technology solutions to keep them productive. In doing so, they have made work possible not just from home, but from anywhere.

Leaders must now develop “bring your own environment” (BYOE) strategies to address the security ramifications of remote work, necessary cultural shifts and the evolving purpose of physical office space.


A multiparty system’s path through the chaos

With multiparty systems, enterprises can gain greater resilience and adaptability, more seamlessly share data, and set new, ecosystem-forward standards for theirindustries. In the face of the global disruption of COVID-19, they are learning they are stronger together.

Download the article as it appeared in the April edition of COVER

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