After five years or more of major digital transformation efforts, \u201cmost organisations are done or almost at the end of their journey,\u201d explains Accenture\u2019s Amit Bansal.\nThe question now for companies is what comes next: \u201cWhat is now going to cause major change in industry and businesses?\u201d the firm\u2019s analytics and AI delivery leader asks.\n \nAccenture is calling this new era the \u2018post-digital world\u2019. That doesn\u2019t mean digital is over; it is the new norm, but given most companies have now transformed, other technologies will be the ones setting the most successful apart.\n \nFour areas of innovation have been picked out by the global professional services company as particularly transformative in the post-digital era. Namely: distributed ledger technology (DLT), artificial intelligence (AI), extended reality (XR) and quantum computing.\n \nThe names lend themselves to a new acronym coined by Accenture: DARQ.\n \n\u201cThe base assumption is everyone is digital. The digital playing field will eventually even out,\u201d Bansal says.\n \n\u201cThe post-digital world is about how do you start mastering DARQ power to start leading and differentiating yourself in the market. That\u2019s what you should use to transform your business,\u201d he explains.\n \nA recent survey by the firm found that 67 per cent of Australian business and IT executives believe that digital technologies ? specifically social, mobile, analytics and cloud ? have moved beyond adoption silos to become part of the core technology foundation for their organisation.\n \nThe Accenture Technology Vision 2019 report found 89 per cent of Australian businesses are already experimenting with one or more of the DARQ technologies and 22 per cent of Australian businesses believe that if all four DARQ technologies are combined it will have a transformational impact on the company over the next three years.\n \nDistributed ledger technology and AI are perhaps the better known of the DARQ technologies. DLT and blockchain are the focus of a number of local enterprises in both proof of concept and production form.\n \nFor example, the replacement of the Australian Securities Exchange\u2019s aging CHESS system will be based on DLT and isexpected to enter production in March-April 2021. The Commonwealth Bank has also run experiments using blockchain, involvingsmart contractsandissuing bonds. Energy company AGLhas staged a desktop trialof blockchain-based energy trading among households.\n \nAI is also well understood and adoption of related technologies by the enterprise is relatively high in Australia. Of the ten countries surveyed in a 2018 study commissioned bySAS,Accenture Applied IntelligenceandIntel,adoptions rates in Australia were the highest in the world.\n \nThe technologies\u2019 promise is very much known. When asked to rank which technology would have the greatest impact on their organisation over the next three years, 39 per cent of Australian executives ranked AI number one in the Accenture survey.\n \nThe transformative potential of extended reality and quantum computing is perhaps less well understood, Bansal says.\n \nBut now is the time when they will \u201cbe less experimental and more reality\u201d he says.\n \nAccenture defines extended reality as virtual reality, augmented reality and newly-developed immersive technologies being used by enterprises to engage with customers on \u201cdeeper, more meaningful levels\u201d, and improve the productivity and performance of employees.\n \nExamples include the virtual reality based employee training or smart mirrors in retail stores which allow shoppers to see themselves in various outfits without needing to change their clothes.\n \nQuantum computing is further away but already companies are exploring the potential applications.\n \nBansal points to the example of Volkswagen, which is working with Google\u2019s quantum team, and quantum annealer-maker D-Wave to explore the technology\u2019s application insolving traffic optimisation problems, uncovering better vehicle construction methods, and improving high-performance batteries.\n \n\u201cThese tests and pilots are in early stages, but Volkswagen is gaining expertise, forming key partnerships, and building up DARQ capabilities. As the technologies mature, this early expertise and experience will give them the tools they need to weave them together creatively and strategically to solve new kinds of problems, or attack existing problems in new ways,\u201d Bansal says.\nAccenture is exploring quantum computing within its own business, and late last year was granted a US patent for a 'multi-state quantum optimisation engine'.\nNow then is not the time for business leaders to rest on their laurels having successfully digitally transformed their companies, Bansal adds.\n\u201cPeople who do digital best can leverage that, but we also see that if you don\u2019t leverage these [DARQ] technologies now, someone in your industry will start to disrupt you, there is the opportunity to use these now,\u201d he says.\n \n\u201cWe\u2019re seeing it as a big step change,\u201d he adds.