​Don’t forget, digital means people too

“Companies that embrace digital can empower their workforce to continuously learn new skills to do more with technology…”

Leading companies that develop a people first approach will win in today’s digital economy, according to the latest global technology trends report from Accenture.

As technology advancements accelerate at an unprecedented rate - dramatically disrupting the workforce - companies that equip employees, partners and consumers with new skills can fully capitalise on innovations.

Those that do will have unmatched capabilities to create fresh ideas, develop cutting-edge products and services, and disrupt the status quo.

“Digital means people too and a cornerstone of this year’s Vision is people first,” says Paul Daugherty, CTO, Accenture.

“Companies that embrace digital can empower their workforce to continuously learn new skills to do more with technology and generate bigger and better business results.”

In a companion survey of more than 3,100 business and IT executives worldwide, Accenture found that 33 percent of the global economy is already impacted by digital.

Additionally, 86 percent of survey respondents anticipate that the pace of technology change will increase at a rapid or unprecedented rate over the next three years.

The Accenture report highlights how companies can often feel overwhelmed by the pace of technology change, experiencing “digital culture shock” at the prospect of keeping up with the competition.

“However, companies can adopt a people-first approach that will allow them to create new business models that drive digital disruption,” Daugherty adds.

“By exploiting technology to enable workforce transformation, leading companies will create highly adaptable and change-ready environments that are able to meet today’s dynamic digital demands.

“The competitive advantage offered by a liquid workforce is apparent as survey respondents indicated that “deep expertise for the specialised task at hand” was only the fifth-most-important characteristic they required for employees to perform well in a digital work environment.

“Other qualities such as ‘the ability to quickly learn’ or ‘the ability to shift gears’ were ranked higher.”

For Daugherty, leaders are also embracing automation - powered by artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and augmented reality - to “fundamentally change” the way their business operates and drive a new, more productive relationship between people and machines.

“Trust is a cornerstone of the digital economy,” he adds. “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.”

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