You use social media to interact with customers. Employees collaborate with each other over mobile technology. Digital technologies now give you a clear picture of what your customers want and need. And cloud computing shows your team a real-time view of the same data, regardless of location. As you (and other companies) finish digital transformation, customers now increasingly expect this level of service and automation. It’s no longer impressive or a competitive advantage to simply use the emerging technologies. Very soon, we will be living and working in a post-digital world.
We are now at a turning point. Instead of focusing on adopting and using these foundational digital tools, it’s time to look to the next phase. Your enterprise will likely no longer land opportunities and customers simply from being a digital business. Success will shortly be defined—if it isn’t already—by how fast enterprises can master what Accenture calls DARQ technologies: distributed ledger technology (D), artificial intelligence (A), extended reality (R) and quantum computing (Q).
Harnessing new technologies to create personalized experiences
According to the Accenture 2019 Technology Vision survey, currently 89 percent of businesses are using at least one of the following DARQ technologies:
• Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) – By providing the backbone for new technologies, such as cryptocurrency and blockchain, DLT lets consumers and businesses control their data and conduct transactions in a manner previously not possible. With a single source of truth, people can securely conduct transactions and collaborate on a large scale with strangers. DLT gives enterprises control and verification of data.
Companies are increasingly using DLT for self-executing contracts, which can be used for a wide range of purposes, including travel insurance, rental properties and financial investments. For example, a smart contract for trip insurance automatically deposits the refund into the traveler’s account if the flight is canceled by the airline or other set conditions are met. To help reduce privacy concerns, social media networks will likely integrate DLT into their platforms to give users control of who sees and uses their data.
• Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Businesses now can process large amounts of data to get insights to streamline processes and make data-based decisions. By automating tasks, enterprises are reducing errors and giving employees time for tasks that require creativity or working with customers. Accenture used AI in its “specialization at scale” program to create teams based on employees’ skills and specialization instead of relying on self-reporting, for a 93 percent accuracy rate.
• Extended Reality (XR) – People are impressed with new experiences and new ways to interact with the world. XR helps businesses provide value to their customers through these new experiences, which are immersive, on-demand and hands-free. Instead of offering expensive and time-consuming training on new equipment, employees can learn to safely operate machines using XR technology. Employees can also collaborate from separate locations in ways previously not possible, such as working on the design phase of new products.
With XR, entertainment audiences can even interact with characters and become immersed in the fictional world on screen. As 5G technology becomes more widespread, companies can use XR to its full capacity, such as powering realistic online shopping by allowing shoppers to virtually “try on” clothes. However, for XR to reach its full capacity the current challenges of network connectivity, application development and processing power must be overcome.
• Quantum Computing (QC) – With this emerging technology, researchers will be able to solve computational problems that were previously impossible. As the least mature of the DARQ technologies, quantum systems are still too fragile and expensive for most companies. However, new affordable systems are being developed as well as the ability for businesses to access quantum systems over the cloud, making the technology more accessible.
Quantum computing will likely power many new advancements in chemistry and materials science, resulting in new drugs and product advancement. Other uses include traffic optimization, supply chain, logistics and cybersecurity.
Preparing for the Post-Digital Era
Position your business for leading the post-digital era by finishing your digital transformation. Next, determine which DARQ technologies are best suited for your customers’ needs and then decide how to access them. That may mean building your own AI engine or buying an existing engine. As you hire new employees, carefully consider their skills related to DARQ technologies and how they can help create the experiences customers will soon expect.
It’s impossible to predict when the post-digital era will actually begin—and its birth date will likely only be known in hindsight. If you wait to experiment with and integrate DARQ technologies, your company may have to play catch-up for years. You don’t want to simply meet your customers’ expectations—you want to be the company that changes their daily life and their interactions with the world.
To learn how your business can differentiate itself from competitors using DARQ technologies, read the Accenture Technology Vision 2019 Report.
Get the Accenture Technology Vision 2019 report today.
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