Technology for People, by People

By Guest Author
Tech for people

Technology for People, by People

By Marc Carrel-Billiard

The nature of technology as we know it is changing: People are no longer adapting to technology. Instead, people now have the power to shape technology so that it adapts to us.

This shift is ushering in an age of human empowerment in which technology is designed for people, by people. Personalized experiences anticipate our wants and needs, putting us firmly in control—whether it’s a music service that customizes a playlist based on individual preferences, or a freelance labor platform that enables a parent to conduct work based on the schedule that best suits his or her family.

We’re shaping technology to fit our wants and needs, and businesses are enabling people via technology to build on opportunities that are both grand and granular. The forces of disruption are still in full effect, but humans are now putting technology to work to disrupt ourselves.

By taking a "technology for people" approach, we are seeing leading organizations embed humanity into the very core of technology. As a result, digital tools are now adapting to us by interacting in more human ways, using elements such as touch displays, mixed reality and natural-language processing interfaces.

Meanwhile, technology is being made to "think" more like humans, through machine learning, contextual analysis and image recognition. This people-first approach to technology is enabling us to shape our lives, our industries and our societies to fit our needs.

In the just-released "Accenture Technology Vision 2017" report, our annual forecast of global technology trends, we’ve identified five emerging trends that are shaping this shift to human-centric technology. Tomorrow’s leaders are already taking these trends on board and executing strategies to secure a clear digital advantage.

AI Is the New UI

Artificial Intelligence is moving beyond a backend enterprise tool to take on larger roles in every technology interface. AI’s mainstream breakthrough is reflective of the natural and simple interactions it brings to consumers and enterprises to drive faster, wider adoption of technology and better outcomes for people.

AI is set to become the enterprise’s digital spokesperson by acting as the face of the digital brand and a key differentiator in interactions with customers. In doing so, it will become a core competency demanding of C-level investment and strategy.

Ecosystems' Power Plays

As more companies join the "platform revolution," the way leaders choose to build their portfolio of digital partners is more important than ever. Today’s forward-thinking enterprises across industries are integrating mission-critical activities with digital platforms.

This is resulting in core business functions that rely heavily on third parties and their platforms. As a result, they are designing future value chains that will transform their businesses, products and the market itself, unlocking new waves of strategic growth.

Technology for People, by People

Workforce Marketplace

The future of work has arrived. Driven by technology, companies are radically reinventing the way businesses are designed, built and run. With a surge in on-demand labor platforms and online work management solutions, digital leaders are fundamentally changing their workforce structure by dissolving traditional hierarchies and replacing them with open talent marketplaces.

The resulting on-demand enterprise will be the key to the rapid innovation and organizational changes companies need to transform into truly digital businesses. Such enterprises will drive the most profound economic transformation since the Industrial Revolution.

Design for Humans

The next frontier of digital experiences includes technology that's designed specifically for individual behavior. Today’s digital leaders have already come to realize that accounting for unique human behavior in the design of machine interfaces expands the quality of the experience and the effectiveness of the technology.

When technology works with people—operating at a more human level to understand behaviors and goals, and respond appropriately—companies suddenly have access to a level of personalized customer insight never before possible.

The Uncharted

"Business as usual" is no longer enough to even maintain the status quo, nevertheless succeed. In today’s ecosystem-driven digital economy, businesses need to transcend disparate markets to define the rules and standards for entirely new digital industries.

To thrive, companies must shift from market taker to market shaper, seizing leadership roles to establish clear guideposts—including ethical, technology and government mandates. Those who take the lead will find a place at or near the center of their new ecosystem, while those that do not risk being left behind.

The pace of change being felt across industries and the market overall is not abating. Businesses are realizing that maintaining transactional relationships with people—customers, employees, partners and stakeholders—is not enough to effectively compete in today’s landscape.

To capitalize on these changes, enterprises must create a human-centric holistic approach, to effectively work with people and for people. In doing so, leading companies will employ new strategies, models and technologies to propel their businesses forward. With every business clamoring to claim a position for itself in this new digital world, the question that remains is: How will you get the most out of your people?

Marc Carrel-Billiard is a senior managing director of Accenture Labs.  Follow him on @mcarrelb.

This article was originally published on 03-28-2017