People first approach allows companies to capitalize on digital economy


February 15, 2016


NEW YORK — As technology advancements accelerate at unprecedented rates, companies that adopt a “people first” approach through measures such as equipping employees and consumers with new skills can fully capitalize on innovations, found an annual global technology trends report from Accenture.

Accenture Technology Vision 2016 identifies five technology trends fueled by the people first principal that it says are essential to business success in the digital economy. Among the identified trends is the platform-based business model. Eighty-one percent of survey respondents agreed that platform-based business models will become part of their organization’s core growth strategy within three years.

This shift is “driving the most profound change in the global macroeconomic environment since the Industrial Revolution,” said Accenture in a news release.

The report found that companies often feel overwhelmed by the pace of technology change and can experience “digital culture shock” at the prospect of keeping up with the competition. Accenture says the people first approach will allow companies to create new business models that drive digital disruption.

“Digital means people too and a cornerstone of this year’s Vision is people first. Companies that embrace digital can empower their workforce to continuously learn new skills to do more with technology and generate bigger and better business results,” said Accenture chief technology officer Paul Daugherty in a news release.

In a companion survey of more than 3,100 business and IT executives worldwide, Accenture found that 33 percent of the global economy is already impacted by digital. Additionally, 86 percent of survey respondents anticipate that the pace of technology change will increase at a rapid or unprecedented rate over the next three years.

The other people first technology trends identified by Accenture include:

  • Predictable disruption: Fast-emerging digital ecosystems are creating the foundation for the next wave of disruption by straddling markets and blurring industry boundaries; forward-thinking leaders can proactively predict these ecosystem trajectories to gain a competitive advantage. Eighty-one percent of companies said they are already experiencing significant or moderate disruption in their industry.
  • Intelligent automation: Seventy percent of survey respondents indicated increased investment in technology related to artificial intelligence, robotics and augmented reality, which they said would fundamentally change the way their businesses operate and drive a new, more productive relationship between people and machines. Fifty-five percent plan on using machine learning and embedded AI solutions extensively.
  • Liquid workforce: Using technology to facilitate workforce transformation requires companies to create highly adaptable environments. Respondents indicated that employee qualities such as “the ability to quickly learn” or “the ability to shift gears” ranked higher than qualifications such as “deep expertise for the specialized task at hand”.
  • Digital trust: Trust is a cornerstone of the digital economy, according to 83 percent of respondents. To gain trust in this new landscape, businesses must focus on digital ethics as a core strategy; better security alone won’t be enough.

Source: Accenture