When we think of innovation, we usually think of technology. But that's only part of the equation according to Accenture's latest technology trend report, "People First: The Primacy of People in a Digital Age." It turns out, people's digital skills are an essential part of the innovative advancement equation, and businesses that support, enhance and harness those skills will triumph.
According to the report, the digital evolution of business leads to six key changes in the business environment which businesses must adjust to in order to succeed:
- Accelerated rate and expanding scale of change
- Adopting new working practices, methodologies and processes
- Accessing and implementing surging flows of data
- Enabling new models for employment and partner collaborations
- Heightened customer expectations and increased digital interaction
- More opportunity and more risk
However, as digital ratchets us to encompass more than a quarter of the world's economy by 2020, some businesses will be stymied by "a state of digital culture shock," according to the report's overview. But the successful ones will embrace change and even instigate it by adopting a "people-first approach" that allows them to create new business models that drive digital disruption.
"Digital means people too," notes Paul Daugherty, Accenture's CTO, in a press release on the report. Digital technology depends on people to tap its potential, and businesses "can empower their workforce to continuously learn new skills to do more with technology and generate bigger and better business results," he says.
Accenture's report offers two business examples to support their research -- GE and Virgin America. With regard to GE, a company program called FastWorks that GE set up in collaboration with Eric Reis, entrepreneur and author of The Lean Startup. FastWorks connected employees to customers in order to develop the solutions that met and exceeded customer expectations.
The report then dives into key trends that support a "people-first" digital economy:
Intelligent automation. This is a major area of investment as represented by 70% of survey respondents indicating their intention to increase AI-related technology investment.
Liquid workforce. The goal is to have employees capable of adapting to change, to meet the challenges of "dynamic digital demands."
Platform economy. A very large majority -- 81% of the survey respondents -- indicated that within the next three years platform-based business models will constitute part of their organization's core growth strategy.
Predictable disruption. The only constant is change, and "forward-thinking leaders" who can foresee the new direction and capitalize on it at a distinct digital advantage. Among the companies surveyed, 81% said they are seeing this trend.
Digital Trust. Trust is identified as essential by 83% of survey respondents. "To gain the trust of individuals, ecosystems and regulators in this new landscape, businesses must focus on digital ethics as a core strategy; better security alone won't be enough," says the report.
As we've read on this site over the last year, retraining and re-skilling workforces are key to success in the virtualized New IP world. Indeed, the winners of the digital future are the ones who prepare their people to work in this ever-evolving digital environment. Are there any key trends you think are missing from the above list?
— Ariella Brown, Freelance Contributor, special to The New IP