Wednesday 11, October 2017 by Jessica Combes

Accenture Technology Vision 2017 puts people at the heart of the UAE digital agenda


People hold the power to shape and apply technology to create positive change, improve lives, and transform business and society, according to the Accenture Technology Vision 2017, an annual technology report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN).

The report predicts the most significant technology trends that will disrupt businesses over the next several years. As part of the Technology Vision, Accenture surveyed more than 5,400 business and IT executives worldwide.

The theme of this year’s report, “Technology for People,” is a call to action for business and technology leaders to actively design and direct technology to augment and amplify human capabilities. The report states that the emergence of technology for people, by people — technology that seamlessly anticipates our needs and delivers hyper-personalised experiences, is beginning to be seen.

“With the rapid pace of technological innovation we are witnessing today, companies are charting a new course and seeking to reshape their business models to compete in this digital world. Some have assumed that technological prowess will become the dominant source of competitive advantage. However, we believe that companies must strive to find the right balance between investing in their people and investing in technology.  The winners of tomorrow will be characterised by their ability to put people first and use technology to amplify their capabilities,” said Mike Sutcliff, Group Chief Executive of Accenture Digital.

“Success depends on a company’s agility and willingness to embrace change. In the region, there is a real push towards increased digitalisation, thanks to the leadership’s visionary agenda. However, while the region strives to become the smartest in the world, the findings of Accenture’s Technology Vision 2017 are clear: technology must not replace humans, instead both must work together symbiotically to complement each other’s aptitudes. As problems become more abstract, local business leaders must seize new opportunities, embrace new solutions and leverage strategic partnerships and this can only happen if they use technology to support their most valuable asset, their human capital,” said Omar Boulos, regional managing director for Accenture in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

The report details how, with advances in areas such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things and big data analytics, humans can now design technology that is capable of learning to think more like people and to constantly align to and help advance their wants and needs. This human-centred approach to technology pays off for businesses, as leading companies will transform relationships from provider to partner, while transforming internally.

The Technology Vision identifies five emerging technology trends that are essential to business success in today’s digital economy:

AI is the new UI
Artificial intelligence (AI) is coming of age, tackling problems both big and small by making interactions simple and smart. AI is becoming the new user interface (UI), underpinning the way we transact and interact with systems. Seventy-nine per cent of survey respondents agree that AI will revolutionise the way they gain information from and interact with customers. In the UAE, 90 per cent of respondents agree that offering products/ services through centralised platforms or assistants will be extremely or very important to the future success of their organisation.

Design for humans
Technology design decisions are being made by humans, for humans. Technology adapts to how we behave and learns from us to enhance our lives, making them richer and more fulfilling. Eighty per cent of executives surveyed agree that organisations need to understand not only where people are today, but also where they want to be–and shape technology to act as their guide to realise desired outcomes. Almost 78 per cent of UAE respondents agree that organisations that can truly tap into what motivates human behaviour and design the customer experience accordingly will be the next industry leaders.

Ecosystem power plays
Platform companies that provide a single point of access to multiple services have completely broken the rules for how companies operate and compete. Companies do not just need a platform strategy, they need a rich and robust ecosystem approach to lead in this new era of intelligence. Already, more than one-quarter (27 per cent) of executives surveyed reported that digital ecosystems are transforming the way their organisations deliver value. Meanwhile, 77 per cent of UAE respondents agree that competitive advantage will not be determined by their organisation alone, but by the strength of their chosen partners and ecosystems.

Workforce marketplace
The number of on-demand labour platforms and online work-management solutions is surging.  Thus, leading companies are dissolving traditional hierarchies and replacing them with talent marketplaces, which in turn is driving the most profound economic transformation since the Industrial Revolution. Case in point: 85 per cent of executives surveyed said they plan to increase their organisation’s use of independent freelance workers over the next year. In the UAE, respondents say that around 17 per cent of their workforce is already made up of independent freelance workers, and 34 per cent expect their organisation’s use of freelance workers to increase by more than 51 per cent over the next year.

The uncharted
To succeed in today’s ecosystem-driven digital economy, businesses must delve into uncharted territory. Instead of focusing solely on introducing new products and services, they should think much bigger — seizing opportunities to establish rules and standards for entirely new industries. In fact, 74 per cent of the executives surveyed said that their organisation is entering entirely new digital industries that have yet to be defined. Locally, almost 80 per cent of UAE respondents surveyed agree that they have a duty to be proactive in writing the rules for emerging industries. 


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