Rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies are accelerating the creation of intelligent enterprises and enabling companies to integrate themselves into people’s lives, according to Accenture Technology Vision 2018, the annual technology report from Accenture that predicts key technology trends likely to disrupt business over the next three years. However, capitalising on growth opportunities while having a positive impact on society requires a new era of leadership that prioritises trust and greater responsibility.
This year’s report, “Intelligent Enterprise Unleashed: Redefine Your Company Based on the Company You Keep”, highlights how rapid advancements in technologies—including AI, advanced analytics and the cloud—are enabling firms to not just create innovative products and services, but change the way people work and live. This, in turn, is changing companies’ relationships with customers and business partners.
As part of the Technology Vision, Accenture surveyed more than 6,300 business and IT executives worldwide. More than four in five respondents (84 per cent) agree that through technology, companies are weaving themselves seamlessly into the fabric of how people live today. “Technology is now firmly embedded throughout our everyday lives and is reshaping large parts of society,” said Paul Daugherty, Accenture’s chief technology and innovation officer. “Just as cities developed around ports and then railroads, or people rebuilt their lives around electricity, the world today is reimagining itself around digital innovation—and, by extension, the companies that provide those services. This requires a new type of relationship, built on trust and the sharing of large amounts of personal information.”
The report notes that this latest technological transformation is unique in that for the first time the change is a two-way street; people aren’t just using companies’ products and services, but feeding information and access back to them. This level of “integrated innovation” and degree of trust requires a deeper relationship—a true partnership based not only on a company’s products, but also its goals and values. And with this two-way partnership come new responsibilities—to consumers, business partners and society at large—requiring leadership and commitment from the top.
Savvy organisations understand that these new societal expectations can be transformed into an enterprise strength. They’re using their increased interactions to build partnerships with customers, employees, government and the public. And this extends beyond the consumer or retail arena.
Cyber risk management not keeping up with concerns
Few organisations are highly confident in their ability to manage the risk of a cyber-attack, despite viewing cybersecurity as a top risk management priority, according to a survey conducted by Marsh, an insurance broking and innovative risk management solutions provider, and Microsoft Corp.
In the global survey of more than 1,300 senior executives, two-thirds ranked cybersecurity among their organisations' top five risk management priorities-approximately double the response to a similar question Marsh asked in 2016. The survey also found that a vast majority (75 per cent) identified business interruption as the cyber loss scenario with the greatest potential to impact their organisation. This compares to 55 per cent who cited breach of customer information, which has historically been the focus for organisations.
Despite this growing awareness and rising concern, only 19 per cent respondents said they are highly confident in their organisation’s ability to mitigate and respond to a cyber event. Only 30 per cent said they had developed a plan to respond to cyber-attacks. “Cyber risk is an escalating management priority as the use of technology in business increases and the threat environment gets more complex,” said John Drzik, president, global risk and digital, Marsh. “It’s time for organisations to adopt a more comprehensive approach to cyber resilience, which engages the full executive team and spans risk prevention, response, mitigation and transfer.”