By now, most organizations understand the notion that every business should be a technology business to safeguard their long-term resiliency and relevancy. However, after a year marked by unprecedented challenges, market shake-ups and increased pressure to do more with less, any business that hasn’t already found their footing is missing out on the potential of becoming a true technology leader.
What we’re seeing today is a convergence of major economic and technological shifts that previous research, including Accenture’s annual Technology Vision report, had predicted for the coming years, now happening all at once: localized supply chains, mass virtualization and cloud adoption, new use cases for artificial intelligence and robotics, and rapidly changing customer expectations – and this list just scratches the surface.
As this year’s Technology Vision report revealed, experiments that organizations conducted to address pressing pandemic problems have created opportunities to re-platform the entire enterprise, leading 93 per cent of Canadian executives to report that their organization is now innovating with a bold sense of urgency and call to action.
Organizations wanting to take charge, become leaders and rise above their competition as Masters of Change should incorporate three key technology trends into their corporate strategy.
1. Stack Strategically: Architecting a Better Future
Business and technology strategies are becoming inseparable as organizations’ growing sets of diverse capabilities unlock the power of custom-tailored solutions and drive up the value of technical wealth, including cloud expertise. As a result – and with more enterprises taking an end-to-end approach to compete on their IT systems architecture – every organization should be in pursuit of a winning combination of technologies that would enable them to develop strategic, one-of-a-kind offerings. In fact, 91 per cent of Canadian executives believe that their organization’s ability to generate business value will increasingly be based on the limitations and opportunities of their technology architecture, compared to 89 per cent globally.
2. Mirrored World: The Power of Massive, Intelligent, Digital Twins
There is no better environment to truly lean in on mass experimentation than a risk-free, digital playground representing the physical world. This time around, the players are a new wave of “digital twins” bringing data and intelligence together at unprecedented scales to gather incredible new insights. These intelligent twins – the result of merging data, AI and earlier-stage digital twins – are allowing enterprise leaders to immerse themselves in living models of their most critical spaces, ask big-picture, what-if questions, and reimagine how they operate, collaborate and innovate.
Two-thirds (66 per cent) of Canadian executives Accenture surveyed expect their organization’s investment in intelligent digital twins to increase over the next three years, on par with 65% of executives globally. As highlighted in the Tech Vision report, luxury car maker Porsche is already benefitting from enhanced ecosystem partnerships. Porsche teamed up with material suppliers and blockchain provider Circularise to build a digital thread across its entire supply chain, enabling material traceability and tracking of other sustainability metrics like carbon footprint and water savings.
Organizations that start building intelligent twins of their assets and piecing together their first mirrored environments today will be the ones at the forefront of a more agile and intelligent future.
3. I, Technologist: The Democratization of Technology
If every business is a technology business, every person within the enterprise needs to think like a technologist. Emerging tools like natural language processing, low-code or no-code platforms and robotic process automation can empower those with little to no formal technology training to play a central role in creating new apps or dashboards, developing new solutions, optimizing their day-to-day work flow, and creating approachable points-of-entry for new clients and customers.
Organizations have a unique opportunity to use accessible technology to empower employees, bringing them in line with the brand persona and co-facilitating interactive campaigns designed to attract and maintain loyalty. Built on a community-led model, athleisure leader lululemon was able to accelerate existing plans to boost digital engagement with their customers and thrived despite the closure of stores and gyms. In 2020, the Canadian-founded brand launched Community Carries On, a multi-platform online hub featuring free ambassador-led workouts, virtual shopping and concierge appointments, as well as a workout challenge – with the reward of an exclusive sale code – through exercise tracking app Strava.
Embracing a new mindset to shape a better future
Every facet of business and the enterprise is facing a wake-up call; an organization’s future success and survival will depend on how they respond. Big changes today will require bold leadership—and becoming a technology leader by capturing, and defining, tomorrow’s new realities today.
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