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Accenture Technology Vision 2017 Puts People At The Heart Of The UAE Digital Agenda

Executives in the UAE believe that technology development is no longer a linear process, but happening exponentially

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
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People hold the power to shape and apply technology to create positive change, improve lives, and transform business and society, according to the Accenture Technology Vision 2017, an annual technology report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN) that predicts the most significant technology trends that will disrupt businesses over the next several years. As part of the Technology Vision, Accenture surveyed more than 5,400 business and IT executives worldwide.

The theme of this year's report, "Technology for People," is a call to action for business and technology leaders to actively design and direct technology to augment and amplify human capabilities. The report states that we are beginning to see the emergence of technology for people, by people — technology that seamlessly anticipates our needs and delivers hyper-personalized experiences.

Mike Sutcliff, group chief executive of Accenture Digital, said: "With the rapid pace of technological innovation we are witnessing today, companies are charting a new course and seeking to reshape their business models to compete in this digital world. Some have assumed that technological prowess will become the dominant source of competitive advantage. However, we believe that companies must strive to find the right balance between investing in their people and investing in technology.  The winners of tomorrow will be characterized by their ability to put people first and use technology to amplify their capabilities."

The Technology Vision details how — with advances in areas such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and big data analytics — humans can now design technology that's capable of learning to think more like people and to constantly align to and help advance their wants and needs. This human-centered approach to technology pays off for businesses, as leading companies will transform relationships from provider to partner — simultaneously transforming internally.

The Technology Vision identifies five emerging technology trends that are essential to business success in today's digital economy:

AI is the new UI. Artificial intelligence (AI) is coming of age, tackling problems both big and small by making interactions simple and smart. AI is becoming the new user interface (UI), underpinning the way we transact and interact with systems. Seventy-nine percent of survey respondents agree that AI will revolutionize the way they gain information from and interact with customers. In the UAE, 90 percent of respondents agree that offering products/ services through centralized platforms or assistants will be extremely or very important to the future success of their organization.

Design for Humans. Technology design decisions are being made by humans, for humans. Technology adapts to how we behave and learns from us to enhance our lives, making them richer and more fulfilling. Eighty percent of executives surveyed agree that organizations need to understand not only where people are today, but also where they want to be — and shape technology to act as their guide to realize desired outcomes. Almost 78 percent of UAE respondents agree that organizations that can truly tap into what motivates human behaviour and design the customer experience accordingly will be the next industry leaders.

Ecosystem Power Plays. Platform companies that provide a single point of access to multiple services have completely broken the rules for how companies operate and compete. Companies don't just need a platform strategy, they need a rich and robust ecosystem approach to lead in this new era of intelligence. Already, more than one-quarter (27 percent) of executives surveyed reported that digital ecosystems are transforming the way their organizations deliver value. Meanwhile, 77 percent of UAE respondents agree that competitive advantage will not be determined by their organization alone, but by the strength of their chosen partners and ecosystems.

Workforce Marketplace. The number of on-demand labor platforms and online work-management solutions is surging.  Thus, leading companies are dissolving traditional hierarchies and replacing them with talent marketplaces, which in turn is driving the most profound economic transformation since the Industrial Revolution. Case in point: 85 percent of executives surveyed said they plan to increase their organization's use of independent freelance workers over the next year. In the UAE, respondents say that around 17 percent of their workforce is already made up of independent freelance workers, and more than a third (34 percent) expect their organization's use of freelance workers to increase by more than 51 percent over the next year.

The Uncharted. To succeed in today's ecosystem-driven digital economy, businesses must delve into uncharted territory. Instead of focusing solely on introducing new products and services, they should think much bigger — seizing opportunities to establish rules and standards for entirely new industries. In fact, 74 percent of the executives surveyed said that their organization is entering entirely new digital industries that have yet to be defined. Locally, almost 80 percent of UAE respondents surveyed agree that they have a duty to be proactive in writing the rules for emerging industries.  

Omar Boulos, regional managing director for Accenture in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey said: "Success depends on a company's agility and willingness to embrace change. In the region, there is a real push towards increased digitalization, thanks to the leadership's visionary agenda. However, while the region strives to become the smartest in the world, the findings of Accenture's Technology Vision 2017 are clear: technology must not replace humans, instead both must work together symbiotically to complement each other's aptitudes. As problems become more abstract, local business leaders must seize new opportunities, embrace new solutions and leverage strategic partnerships and this can only happen if they use technology to support their most valuable asset, their human capital."

For nearly 17 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 #TechVision2017.

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