It’s easy to forget that less than 25 years ago, there were only 16 million internet users. By the end of last year there were more than 4.2 billion. That growth in the relative blink of an eye has been phenomenal…so it’s perhaps odd to suggest that we’re on the verge of a post-digital world.
But it’s true. Consumers and businesses alike aren’t looking out to see transformation on the horizon. They’ve done it, or they’re in the middle of it. Either way, the technology that was ‘new’ a few years ago is now closer and closer to their core. To normal, Writes Zahra Bahrololoumi Senior Managing Director of Accenture Technology.
As a result there is less allure for technology itself…the real focus now is on the trust and experience that’s created by it.
In 2013 Accenture’s Technology Vision declared that every business is a digital business. Very quickly companies went from sceptics to rushing towards technology.
Just a few years later, the infatuation with technology had led some to forget why we have technology: to help people – at work, at home, or elsewhere in their lives. That has created crucial discussions about responsibility.
Now that the 2019 Technology Vision is launching, we’re describing another point of change. When companies get to the end of their digital transformation, we don’t want them to be surprised by what’s waiting for them: a chance to re-define what their company actually is. They should be ready.
Last September we saw S&P go through a ‘de-faanging’ process. It re-categorised a number of technology companies, including Facebook and Alphabet, into other categories (predominantly communications). We’re ‘de-teching’.
We’re seeing less fascination with technology just for the sake of it. We’re past the point where companies will buy before they try, which is a good thing.
It shows that companies are starting to realise that buying technology isn’t the whole answer. But it is the means to changing the world around them. They should approach each new project with a plan built around people: what do they want, how do I create that, how do I protect their interests?
There is a rising scepticism of technology, fuelled mainly by data privacy or security concerns. People have a starting position of dis-trust at a point in time where trust has never been more important. We’re seeing tremendous strides being taken around what technology can do, and that will become more creative and more impactful in this new post-digital era. But it needs to be taken to the people who will benefit from it in the right way.
Businesses have the opportunity to capitalise on new technologies, but only by making sure that their customers and people are front of mind.
When you hear about Heidelberg University Hospital using digital twins in surgery, so that the electrodes on pacemakers can be precisely placed for each individual patient, you can’t help but appreciate how technology can help to make our world that bit better.
Digital Transformation So What’s Next?
The next wave of technology-powered change will look a bit different. The social and mobile booms that characterised a lot of the last ten years are now table stakes. Their presence is assumed. We’ll see distributed ledger technology (DLT) or blockchain help to secure bigger networks and/or sensitive data. We’ll see AI and Quantum computing give us more knowledge at our fingertips. And more sophisticated extended reality show us new ways to look at the world. Most new phenomena will be made possible by at least one of these technologies.
We’ll see more personalised/relevant service from more attentive businesses. We’ll benefit from better security and more interesting work spread across broad ecosystems of companies and technologies. When this happens and we feel positive emotions, we’ll know that we’re in a post-digital world, where businesses aren’t infatuated with technology, but are dedicated to people.
As we move into this future, business will move beyond trying to deliver individual moments with a customer or an employee. They will try to aggregate of all of those moments, and become more valuable, more transparent and more trustworthy along the way.