Accenture Technology Vision 2013 Report Highlights Convergence of IT Trends Driving Companies to Go Digital

Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:00am EST

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NEW YORK--(Business Wire)--
The convergence of social media, mobile computing, analytics and the cloud is
transforming the way businesses operate, and companies that adopt available
technologies to "go digital" will be better positioned to take advantage of
rapidly shifting business opportunities and leap ahead of the competition,
according to a new report by Accenture (NYSE: ACN). 

The Accenture Technology Vision 2013 report finds that because technology has
become core to virtually every aspect of a business, every business is a digital
business and that all senior leaders - not just CIOs - must be able to
understand, embrace and drive value from new technologies that affect their
organization. Today`s software, for example, has the potential to change the
very business model of a company or industry in the future, according to the
report. 

"Organizations and their leaders need to hit the reset button on how they use
technology to drive market differentiation, deepen customer relationships, and
deliver growth and profitability," said Paul Daugherty, Accenture`s chief
technology officer. "Our latest Technology Vision report finds that the
technology for accomplishing these business goals is available today, but that
adopting a new digital mindset is required to harness the potential. The power
and reach of converging IT trends such as mobility and cloud means that business
leaders need to understand the implications of a software-driven, `connected
everything` world." 

The Accenture Technology Vision 2013 report looks at the future of enterprise IT
and makes recommendations for how companies can take advantage of technology and
software to improve their competitiveness, operations and business results.
These include: 

Leverage Technology to Create Digital Relationships at Scale: While technology
gives organizations the ability to understand their customers better than ever,
most enterprises are not taking full advantage of it to build deeper, richer
relationships that can improve customer loyalty significantly. While mobile
computing, social networks and context-based services have increased connections
with consumers, many companies have lost customer intimacy in the process. These
connections have been viewed as another communication or transactional channel
rather than opportunities to improve relationships. 

"Businesses are at an inflection point enabled by new technologies that can take
customer relationships beyond transactions and deliver more personalized
interactions," said Daugherty. "Effectively developing meaningful relationships
at scale requires a real change in how companies approach these strategies and
implement a new unified approach across IT and the business." 

Design for Analytics to Get the "Right" Data: Most of today`s enterprise
software applications are designed for a specific function and capture only the
data needed to complete that function. Organizations use existing data as an
input to make strategic decisions - and often find that information gaps arise
because important questions weren`t formulated when the applications were being
designed. As a result the relevant data isn`t captured. What`s needed is a
strategy that sees data more as a supply chain than a warehouse. It`s about
asking the questions that need to be answered first and then designing
applications for the "right" data. Companies that recognize this and make data a
strategic asset that drives business outcomes will have an edge over those that
view data merely as an output. 

Take Advantage of Data "Velocity": In addition to data variety and volume,
companies now need to consider the third `V` of data - velocity. Mobility and
consumerization of IT are driving expectations for faster access to data and
more insights from that data. In addition, a surge of new technologies -
including high-speed data storage, in-memory computing, analytics advances, data
visualization and streaming data querying - is accelerating the entire data
cycle from insight to action and improving the enterprise`s ability to deal with
greater data velocity. As data becomes more widely used and companies see
increasing competitive advantage from faster "data to insight," the data and
analytical skills in an organization also become more critical to converting
insights to action before opportunities are lost. 

Make Work and Processes More Social: The pervasiveness of Web-based social
technologies like Facebook and Twitter and video tools like SkypeTM and
Google+TM Hangouts has profoundly changed the way users communicate with one
another. By embedding similar collaborative tools into their business processes,
enterprises can take advantage of employees` growing comfort with social
networks to gain a new level of productivity. Employees don`t necessarily need
to become more social for collaboration to work; rather, it`s the work and
processes that need to be more social. 

Bridge the Last Mile of Virtualization With Software-Defined Networking:
Controlling the flow of information in today`s digital business - where
applications, systems, networks and communications channels are constantly
changing - is one of the most challenging aspects of enterprise IT. While the
virtualization of servers, storage and other parts of IT infrastructure has
resulted in unprecedented levels of flexibility, the network has been largely
untouched by virtualization until now. Software-defined networking (SDN), where
the network is managed through software instead of through hardware, provides a
giant leap forward in enterprise flexibility. With SDN, organizations can
reconfigure the connectivity of systems without changing the physical
characteristics - making it easier for businesses to manage change, integrate
cloud services and get more return from their network investments. 

Be Active - Not Just Defensive - With Security: Despite recent advances in
security technology, safeguarding the digital business remains a challenge. The
entry points for an attack are constantly expanding across more devices, more
systems, more people and a broader infrastructure. As a result, optimal IT
security needs to go further than prevention. Recognizing that attackers will
get through, enterprises must stay one step ahead of them. IT`s core challenge
is to not only stay current with the latest in security, but to get smarter
about understanding and engaging the enemy and be able to adapt the enterprise`s
defenses to match the threat. Security architectures need to remain flexible and
incorporate "active" defenses to deal with the constantly changing field of
security threats. 

The Cloud Is Here - Now is the Time to Prepare the Enterprise: Technologies
underpinning cloud are pervasive and here to stay, and the benefits are
numerous: helping companies differentiate their business, get their products and
services to market faster, enhance operational efficiency, and respond more
quickly to new opportunities and challenges. The question for enterprises isn`t
"why should we use cloud?" - but rather, "how should we use cloud?" Many
organizations are already embedding cloud with their legacy systems and
traditional software to create "hybrid" environments. This requires a clear
understanding of, and approach to, the skills, architecture, governance and
security required, whether it`s the applications, platforms or IT infrastructure
that`s in the cloud. 

"The challenge for businesses in today`s digital landscape is to reimagine
themselves in the context of an increasingly software-driven world," said
Daugherty. "To succeed, organizations must leverage IT innovations to derive
insights that enable them to optimize their enterprise, take advantage of
emerging opportunities, strengthen customer loyalty, and deliver better business
outcomes." 

For nearly 15 years, Accenture has been looking across the enterprise landscape
to identify emerging IT trends that hold the greatest potential to disrupt
businesses and industries. For more information on this year`s report please
visit www.accenture.com/technologyvision. 

About the Methodology

Accenture`s Technology Vision is developed annually by the Accenture Technology
Labs. For the 2013 report, Accenture researchers and scientists developed
hypotheses about information technology developments that will have a
significant impact on businesses over the next three to five years. Accenture
also employed social collaboration techniques and crowdsourcing to solicit input
and suggestions from thousands of its own employees. Other sources used for the
report include trends identified by industry analysts, themes at conferences,
and academic literature. Accenture`s original research into the characteristics
of high-performing IT organizations was also referenced. 

About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing
company, with approximately 259,000 people serving clients in more than 120
countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across
all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world`s
most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them
become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net
revenues of US$27.9 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2012. Its home
page is www.accenture.com.

Accenture
Peter Y. Soh, + 703-947-2571
peter.y.soh@accenture.com



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