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As Digital Gap Widens in Wake of Pandemic, 'Masters of Change' Will Define the Future, According to Accenture Technology Vision 2021

TORONTO and NEW YORK, Feb. 25, 2021 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) -- Leadership is critical as every business becomes a technology business

According to the Accenture Technology Vision 2021, technology was a lifeline during the global pandemic - enabling new ways of working and doing business, creating new interactions and experiences, and improving health and safety. Technology forever changed expectations and behaviours and created entirely new realities across every industry. As companies shift from reacting to the crisis, to reinventing what comes next, the boldest, most visionary leaders - those who use technology to master change - will define the future, says the 21(st) annual report from Accenture (NYS:ACN) predicting the key technology trends that will shape businesses and industries over the next three years.

The report, "Leaders Wanted: Masters of Change at a Moment of Truth," outlines how leading enterprises are compressing a decade of digital transformation into one or two years. Relying on a strong digital core to adapt and innovate at lightning speed, leaders are growing revenues 5x faster than laggards today, versus only 2x faster between 2015 to 2018, according to Accenture research. The result is a wave of companies racing to reinvent themselves and use technology innovations to shape the new realities they face.

"The global pandemic pushed a giant fast forward button to the future. Many organizations stepped up to use technology in extraordinary ways to keep their businesses and communities running - at a pace they thought previously impossible - while others faced the stark reality of their shortcomings, lacking the digital foundation needed to rapidly pivot," said Paul Daugherty, group chief executive - Technology and chief technology officer at Accenture. "We now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to turn this moment of truth for technology into a moment of trust - embracing the power of exponential technology change to completely reimagine and rebuild the future of business and human experience."

Jennifer Jackson, Technology and Cloud First Lead for Canada at Accenture, said, "Over the last year, we've seen so many Canadian organizations adapt to their new realities at lightning speed. More leaders are also coming to the realization that every business is a technology business - no matter the industry or business - and that they face a huge opportunity to use technology to reinvent the future."

Accenture surveyed more than 6,200 business and technology leaders from 31 countries for the Technology Vision report, and 92% of those leaders report that their organization is innovating with an urgency and call to action this year. And 94% of Canadian executives agree capturing tomorrow's market will require their organization to define it, compared to 91% globally.

Shaping the future will require companies to become masters of change by adhering to three key imperatives. First, leadership demands technology leadership. The era of the fast follower is over--perpetual change is permanent. Tomorrow's leaders will be those that put technology at the forefront of their business strategy. Second, leaders won't wait for a new normal; they'll reinvent, building new realities using radically different mindsets and models. Finally, leaders will embrace a broader responsibility as global citizens, deliberately designing and applying technology to create positive impacts far beyond the enterprise to create a more sustainable and inclusive world.

The Technology Vision identifies five key trends that companies will need to address over the next three years to accelerate and master change in all parts of their business:

            --  Stack Strategically: Architecting a Better Future - A new era
                of industry competition is dawning - one where companies
                compete on their IT systems architecture. But building and
                wielding the most competitive technology stack means thinking
                about technology differently, making business and technology
                strategies indistinguishable. Ninety-one percent of Canadian
                executives believe that their organization's ability to
                generate business value will increasingly be based on the
                limitations and opportunities of their technology architecture,
                compared to 89% globally.
            --  Mirrored World: The Power of Massive, Intelligent, Digital
                Twins - Leaders are building intelligent digital twins to
                create living models of factories, supply chains, product
                lifecycles, and more. Bringing together data and intelligence
                to represent the physical world in a digital space will unlock
                new opportunities to operate, collaborate, and innovate.
                Sixty-six percent of Canadian executives surveyed expect their
                organization's investment in intelligent digital twins to
                increase over the next three years, compared to 65% globally.
            --  I, Technologist: The Democratization of Technology - Powerful
                capabilities are now available to people across business
                functions, adding a grassroots layer to enterprises' innovation
                strategies. Now, every employee can be an innovator, optimizing
                their work, fixing pain points, and keeping the business in
                lockstep with new and changing needs. Ninety-two percent of
                Canadian executives believe technology democratization is
                becoming critical in their ability to ignite innovation across
                their organization, compared to 88% globally.
            --  Anywhere, Everywhere: Bring Your Own Environment - The single
                biggest workforce shift in living memory has positioned
                businesses to expand the boundaries of the enterprise. When
                people can "bring your own environment," they have the freedom
                to seamlessly work from anywhere - whether that's at home, the
                office, the airport, partners' offices, or somewhere else. In
                this model, leaders can rethink the purpose of working at each
                location and lean into the opportunity to reimagine their
                business in this new world. Seventy-four percent of Canadian
                executives agree that leading organizations in their industry
                will start shifting from a 'Bring Your Own Device' to 'Bring
                Your Own Environment' workforce approach, compared to 81%
            --  From Me to We: A Multiparty System's Path Through Chaos - The
                demand for contact tracing, frictionless payments, and new ways
                of building trust brought into sharp focus what had been left
                undone with enterprises' existing ecosystems. Multiparty
                systems can help businesses gain greater resilience and
                adaptability; unlock new ways to approach the market; and set
                new, ecosystem-forward standards for their industries.
                Eighty-nine percent of Canadian executives surveyed state that
                multiparty systems will enable their ecosystems to forge a more
                resilient and adaptable foundation to create new value with
                their organization's partners, compared to 90% globally.

Prioritizing technology innovation in response to a rapidly changing world has never been more important. Consider the restaurant industry: 60% of restaurants listed as 'temporarily closed' on Yelp in July were permanently out of business by September. Through the chaos, Starbucks emerged as a leader, using technology to expand customer and retail channels. By August, three million new users downloaded its app, and mobile ordering and drive-thru pick up accounted for 90 percent of sales. As demand surged, it deployed an integrated ticket management system to combine orders from its app, Uber Eats and drive-thru customers into a single workflow for baristas. Starbucks also introduced a new espresso machine with sensors to track how much coffee was being poured and predict necessary maintenance. This is a powerful illustration of technology as the core enabler of a company's agile, resilient and successful response to change.

For 21 years, Accenture has taken a systematic look across the enterprise landscape to identify emerging technology trends that hold the greatest potential to disrupt businesses and industries. For more information on this year's report, visit www.accenture.com/technologyvision or follow the conversation on Twitter with #TechVision2021.

About the Methodology

For the 2021 report, the research process included gathering input from the Technology Vision External Advisory Board, a group comprising of more than two dozen experienced individuals from the public and private sectors, academia, venture capital firms and entrepreneurial companies. In addition, the Technology Vision team conducted interviews with technology luminaries and industry experts, as well as with nearly 100 Accenture business leaders. In parallel, Accenture Research conducted a global online survey of 6,241 business and IT executives, including 295 in Canada, to capture insights into the adoption of emerging technologies. The survey helped identify the key issues and priorities for technology adoption and investment. Respondents were C-level executives and directors at companies across 31 countries and 14 industries.

About Accenture

Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries, we offer Strategy and Consulting, Interactive, Technology and Operations services--all powered by the world's largest network of Advanced Technology and Intelligent Operations centers. Our 514,000 people deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity every day, serving clients in more than 120 countries. We embrace the power of change to create value and shared success for our clients, people, shareholders, partners and communities. Visit us at www.accenture.com .

Disclaimer: This content is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be used in place of consultation with our professional advisors. This document refers to marks owned by third parties. All such third-party marks are the property of their respective owners. No sponsorship, endorsement or approval of this content by the owners of such marks is intended, expressed or implied.

Copyright � 2021 Accenture. All rights reserved. Accenture and its logo are registered trademarks of Accenture.

SOURCE Accenture

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SOURCE: Accenture

        Susan Kirwin, Accenture, +1 416-641-5148, susan.kirwin@accenture.com


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