How digital ecosystems are creating the 'we economy'

As the digital transformation continues, today's organizations are building digital ecosystems that tap an array of other digital businesses, digital customers and digital devices at the edge of their networks.

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"I think every company is now a technology company," Biltz says. "That's the reality of the new world. A lot of companies, traditionally, believed they had their technology strategy on one side and their business strategy on the other. Now they're realizing that their technology strategy and business strategy are really the same thing."

As the report notes, "Platform-based ecosystems are the new plane of competition."

4. The Intelligent Enterprise

Until now, software has, for the most part, been about helping human employees make better, faster decisions. But new big data technologies, advances in processing power, data science and cognitive technologies, mean software intelligence is now also geared to helping machines themselves make more, better-informed decisions.

[Related: How to Mitigate Data Monetization Risks]

"Business and technology leaders must now view software intelligence not as a pilot or one-off project, but as an across-the-board functionality — one that will drive new levels of evolution and discovery, propelling innovation through the enterprise," the report says.

5. The Workforce Reimagined

But even as machines become smarter, that doesn't mean humans will become obsolete.

"Machines are smart," Biltz says. "But the reality is, they're not that smart. The context people have, the imagination, the creativity, these are all things we haven't been able to replicate."

Still, the burgeoning collaboration of human and machine will change the workforce. Fifty-seven percent of survey respondents said they are adopting technologies that allow business users to complete tasks that required IT experts in the past (e.g., data visualization). At the same time, 77 percent of respondents said that within three years, their companies will have to focus on training machines (using intelligent software, algorithms and machine learning) just as they train employees.

For Accenture Technology Vision 2015, Accenture Technology Labs gathered input from the Technology Vision External Advisory Board, a group of more than two dozen executives and entrepreneurs from the public and private sectors, academia, venture capitalists and startup companies. The team conducted almost 100 interviews with industry experts and business leaders, and drew upon an online contest to uncover the most interesting emerging technology themes. More than 1,700 Accenture professionals participated in the contest.

Finally, Accenture Research surveyed 2,000 business and IT executives, primarily C-level executives and directors, across nine countries and 10 industries. The respondents were drawn from companies with annual revenues of at least $500 million; the majority of companies have annual revenues greater than $6 billion.

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Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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