Put people at heart, says Accenture

People hold the power to shape and apply technology to create positive change, improve lives and transform business and society, states the Accenture Technology Vision 2017, an annual technology report from Accenture that 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 talks about emergence of technology for people, by people – technology that delivers hyper-personalised experiences.

“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,” says Mike Sutcliff, group chief executive, Accenture Digital.

The Technology Vision details how – with advances in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) 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-centred approach to technology pays off for businesses, as leading companies will transform relationships from provider to partner, simultaneously transforming internally.

“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,” adds Omar Boulos, regional managing director for Accenture in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

Some key UAE specific findings from the report include:

  • AI is becoming the new user interface (UI), with 90% of respondents agree that offering products/services through centralised platforms or assistants will be extremely or very important to the future success of their organization
  • Technology needs to be designed for humans to enhance lives with 78% of UAE respondents agreeing that organisations that can truly tap into what motivates human behaviour and design the customer experience accordingly will be the next industry leaders.
  • Partnerships are critical for success with 77% of UAE respondents agreeing that competitive advantage will not be determined by their organisation alone, but by the strength of their chosen partners and ecosystems.
  • The workforce marketplace is transforming and in the UAE respondents say that around 17% of their workforce is already made up of independent freelance workers, and more than a third (34%) expect their organisation’s use of freelance workers to increase by more than 51% over the next year.
  • Businesses need to explore uncharted territory with almost 80% of UAE respondents surveyed agree that they have a duty to be proactive in writing the rules for emerging industries.

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