Companies are using digital ecosystems to offer new services, reshape experiences and enter new markets, according to a new report produced by Accenture Technology Labs.
The Accenture Technology Vision 2015 report has found that five trends – personalisation technologies, intelligent hardware, digital industry platforms and ecosystems, big data and a collaborative workforce of people and machines – all driven by the internet of things, are shifting businesses towards a ‘we’ rather than a ‘me’ economy. This means that by tapping into digital ecosystems, businesses have the ability to grow and generate new sources of revenue in ways they could not achieve alone.
Over 2,000 IT and business executives were surveyed for the report, with four out of five respondents agreeing that, in the future, industry boundaries will dramatically blur as platforms reshape industries into interconnected ecosystems. More than half also said that they plan to engage new partners within their respective industries, including digital technology platform leaders.
“In last year’s Technology Vision report we noted how large enterprises were reasserting leadership in their markets by adopting digital to drive their processes more effectively and transform how they go to market, collaborate with partners, engage with customers and manage transactions,” said Paul Daugherty, chief technology officer at Accenture. “Now that digital has become part of the fabric of their operating DNA, they are stretching their boundaries to leverage a broader ecosystem of digital businesses as they shape the next generation of their products, services and business models to effect change on a much broader scale.”
According to the report, this new ‘we economy’ will mean that “ordinary businesses can now tackle challenges that were previously well beyond their scope: an opportunity to help design and create smart mega-cities of the future… a chance to radically rebuild centuries-old modes of transportation… a solution to raise the quality of healthcare by tackling it holistically, across many industries from hospitals to insurance and apparel.”
Here’s an overview of the five key trends highlighted in the report:
The internet of me
As everyday objects are going online, so too are experiences – creating an abundance of digital channels that reach deep into every aspect of individuals’ lives. Many companies report they are using or experimenting with wearables, connected TVs, connected cars and smart objects to engage customers. Many are already seeing a positive return on their investment in personalisation technologies.
As leading enterprises come face-to-face with the industrial internet of things, they are uncovering opportunities to embed hardware and sensors in their digital toolboxes and are using connected hardware components to give customers what they really want. In fact, 87% of survey respondents acknowledged a greater use of more intelligent hardware, sensors and devices on the edge of networks, leading organisations to increasingly shift from selling products or services to selling outcomes.
The platform (r)evolution
Digital industry platforms and ecosystems are fuelling the next wave of breakthrough innovation and disruptive growth. In particular, rapid advances in cloud and mobility are not only eliminating the cost and technology barriers associated with such platforms, but opening up this new playing field to enterprises across industries and geographies. In short, platform-based ecosystems are the new plane of competition.
An influx of big data – and advances in processing power, data science and cognitive technology – software intelligence is helping machines make better informed decisions. This is the era of software intelligence where applications and tools will take on more human-like intelligence, according to 80% of respondents.
Advances in natural interfaces, wearable devices and smart machines are presenting new opportunities for companies to empower their workers through technology. In line with this, the majority of survey respondent companies are adopting technologies that enable business users to complete tasks that previously required IT experts, such as data visualisation. Successful businesses will recognise the benefits of human talent and intelligent technology collaborating side by side – and will embrace both as critical members of the reimagined workforce.
“Rather than simply focusing internally, on improving their own operations, successful companies are looking externally to create and become part of digital ecosystems,” said Paul Daugherty, chief technology officer at Accenture. “They’re beginning to see the importance of selling not just products and services, but outcomes — and that requires weaving their businesses into the broader digital fabric that extends to customers, partners, employees and industries.”
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