The rapid acceleration of human-centric technology in artificial intelligence (AI), digital ecosystems and marketplaces will empower people across New Zealand, driving transformation of business and society as a result.
That’s according to consultancy giant, Accenture, when issuing a call to action for business and technology leaders nationwide to “actively design and direct technology” to augment and amplify human capabilities.
Under the banner of “Technology for People”, findings forecast the emergence of technology for people, by people - technology that “seamlessly anticipates our needs and delivers hyper-personalised experiences”.
“The pace of technology change is breathtaking, bringing about the biggest advancements since the dawn of the Information Age,” Accenture New Zealand technology lead, Mary-Anne McCarthy, said.
“As technology transforms the way we work and live, it raises important societal challenges and creates new opportunities.
“Ultimately, people are in control of creating the changes that will affect our lives, and we’re optimistic that responsive and responsible leaders will ensure the positive impact of new technologies.”
As part of the Technology Vision report, Accenture surveyed more than 5,400 business and IT executives worldwide, with nearly nine in 10 respondents (86 per cent) believing that while individual technologies are rapidly advancing, it is the multiplier effect of these technologies that is creating innovation breakthroughs.
The Technology Vision details how - with advances in AI, the Internet of Things and big data analytics - humans can now design technology that’s capable of learning to think more like people and to constantly align to and help advance their wants and needs.
“This human-centered technology approach pays off for businesses, as leading companies will transform relationships from provider to partner - simultaneously transforming internally,” McCarthy explained.
According to McCarthy, five emerging trends are essential to Kiwi business success in today’s digital economy:
1 - AI is the new UI
AI is coming of age, tackling problems both big and small by making interactions simple and smart, with 79 per cent of survey respondents agreeing that AI will “revolutionise the way” they gain information from and interact with customers.
“AI is becoming the new user interface (UI), underpinning the way we transact and interact with systems,” McCarthy said.
2 - Design for humans
“Technology design decisions are being made by humans, for humans,” McCarthy observed.
“Technology adapts to how we behave and learns from us to enhance our lives, making them richer and more fulfilling.”
Findings show that 80 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.
3 - Ecosystems as macrocosms
For McCarthy, platform companies that provide a single point of access to multiple services have “completely broken the rules” for how companies operate and compete.
“Companies don’t just need a platform strategy, they need a rich and robust ecosystem approach to lead in this new era of intelligence,” McCarthy added.
“Already, more than one-quarter (27 per cent) of executives surveyed reported that digital ecosystems are transforming the way their organisations deliver value.
4 - Workforce marketplace
The number of on-demand labour platforms and online work-management solutions is surging.
As a result, 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.
5 - The uncharted
“To succeed in today’s ecosystem-driven digital economy, businesses must delve into uncharted territory,” McCarthy outlined.
“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.”
McCarthy said 74 per cent of the executives surveyed said that their organisation is entering entirely new digital industries that have yet to be defined.