As the world grows more digital, people become more important than ever to the success of an organization, according to the Accenture Technology Vision 2016.

Almost from the beginning, the march of technology has carried people’s fear of displacement in its back pocket.  We’ve seen labor opportunities–jobs–replaced by machines, but we’ve also seen technology create all kinds of new labor opportunities.  We are competing with business all over the world, but we also are competing for business all over the world. And with so much available technology, we are really competing with ideas of how to use that technology, how to structure a business, how to disrupt industries.  Robots lack imagination and they don’t consume goods very well.  Success really is all about people.

Technology Vision 2016, Accenture’s annual discussion of the emerging IT developments that will have the greatest impact organizations over the next three to five years, found the primacy of people in the digital age has only increased. Having access to the right people and using their talents effectively is critical to an organization. Enterprises that thrive are those continually looking ahead for ways to allow consumers, workers and partners to accomplish more with technology. When they find these opportunities, they use them.

There is no doubt that business is evolving quickly.  Accenture Technology Vision 2016 surveyed more than 3,100 business and IT executives around the world, and found that 86 percent anticipate that the pace of technology change will increase very rapidly in their industries over the next three years. Adapting will require companies to change products, business models and supporting processes. It will involve massive amounts of re-education and change.

It’s interesting to note the evolution in major trends we’ve uncovered over the past three years and how much faster everything seems to move.

Accenture Technology Vision 2014 discussed the following six trends:

  • Digital-physical blur
  • From workforce to crowdsource
  • Data-supply chain
  • Harnessing hyperscale
  • Business of applications
  • Architecting resilience.

By 2015, the focus had shifted to these five trends:

  • Internet of me
  • Outcome economy
  • Workforce reimagined
  • Intelligent enterprise
  • Platform (r)evolution

Our current survey identifies five other trends:

  • Intelligent automation
  • Liquid workforce
  • Platform economy
  • Predictable disruption
  • Digital trust

Over this three-year evolution, trends have moved in complex rather than linear patterns, as the slide below shows.  We are always in the midst of change but looking ahead to even more change ahead.

Accenture Technology Vision Evolution 2013 - 2016

For organizations on their way to becoming an effective digital enterprise, there is always the need to keep up with latest evolutions of technology while continuing to master maturing technologies. But it is no longer simply about adding technologies. Savvy organizations are going much further and actually reinventing themselves and their culture in ways that drive innovation and change.

In my next post I’ll be discussing one aspect of change: The liquid workforce.

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