Three years. Large companies have just three years to determine their place in the new world of digital. Until now, Internet companies and agile start-ups have led the digital race. This year, we will see many of the world’s largest organizations aggressively embrace digital as a means of reinventing themselves and leading market disruptions.
Accenture’s annual Technology Vision report predicts the top technology trends that will have the greatest effect on organizations. While going digital has been a predominant theme of this report for some time, this year’s report sees large organizations outside of IT proactively leading the charge towards becoming digital giants. These giants are looking beyond basic social media outreach or post-campaign analysis. Instead, they are incorporating—and even inventing—advances in digital technology throughout their organizations. As a result, they are more sharply defining their businesses, their opportunities and their customers’ needs while gaining a greater understanding of how their data and expertise can be applied to new markets.
Prime conditions for a takeover
Conditions are perfect for this “digital takeover” as traditional boundaries begin to blur. More and more, we see business and IT professionals working together. They are focusing both on top-line strategies and on designing solutions, such as apps, that quickly solve concrete problems. The boundaries between companies and their customers, partners and other stakeholders are also softening, allowing strategic-minded businesses to tap into a wider pool of data and resources. We are even seeing the blurring of lines between digital and physical assets—an advancement that will change the very way we interact with the world. As these lines become less rigid, corporations will be able to connect with their markets, their employees and their customers in new ways that allow them to make better decisions and more successfully influence outcomes.
Take Tesco, for example. This retail giant wanted to drive up sales without having to expand its number of stores or incent busy consumers to visit existing stores more often. In South Korea, this was especially critical as the predominant retail chain had significantly more physical locations than Tesco. Tesco resolved the problem by installing large billboards in South Korea’s subways. Each billboard pictures “aisles” of food with corresponding QR codes. Commuters scan the QR codes with their smart phones and pay online. The selected items are then delivered to their homes. Tesco offered a similar convenience to UK fliers by placing interactive kiosks in airports. As a result, 20 percent of the company’s online sales now come from mobile and Tesco has assumed the number one retailer spot in South Korea, increasing their online sales in that market by 130 percent.
A guide for your digital journey
Over the next few years, Tesco and other digitally-minded businesses will take advantage of six technology trends that will help them to become the new digital superpowers. Identified in this year’s Technology Vision report, these trends can help guide your organization’s own digital journey from fast-follower to digital disrupter:
- Digital-physical blur: Think beyond the Internet of things; a new layer of connected intelligence is emerging as massive amounts of smart objects, devices and machines come online. This new layer not only enables more accurate decisions in real-time, but increases our understanding and control of the physical world.
- From workforce to crowdsource: Cloud, social and collaborative technologies allow organizations to connect with large pools of human resources that can be tapped for everything from building out a specially skilled workforce, to solving complex problems, to gauging consumer opinion on new products and pricing.
- Data supply chain: To maximize the value of increasing amounts of data, companies will begin to knock down the silos, allowing data to flow easily and usefully throughout the organization. Progressive organizations will expand the information flow further to include their ecosystems of partners.
- Harnessing hyperscale: Hardware is gaining significant attention as the demand for bigger, faster and more efficient data centers rise. This “hyperscale” innovation will enable the next wave of growth.
- Business of applications: As organizations push for greater agility, there will be a shift towards simpler, more modular apps.
- Architecting resiliency: The need for “always on” can mean the difference between business as usual and brand erosion. IT leaders must design systems for failure, not just to spec.
Every business is a digital business. The trends outline a way to make your journey more successful. Join me next week when I will dive deeper into what this means for the insurance industry and its survival in this new digital world.