Companies are weaving themselves seamlessly into
the fabric of how people live today through the use of technology, according to 84% of companies surveyed by Accenture this year.
Look no further than Amazon's artificial intelligence-powered Alexa smart home hub as a perfect example. Unlike technological disruptions of the past, this is the first time a tech change is a two-way street, according to Accenture 's Technology Visions 2018 report.
"People aren't just using companies' products and services, but feeding information and access back to them," the report says. This type of relationship requires companies to have vast amounts of data about their customers, as well as a personal relationship of trust.
Accenture makes the great point that this new model of "partnership" with your customers raises the level of expectation for companies and can cause a lot of damage when the expectations are not met. It means, the consulting firm says, that enterprises must develop a new and explicit corporate social contract.
This is a social contract with the customers they serve, but also with their own employees. Accenture pointed to AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) as an example of a company that is rising to the challenge. When the carrier's own research found that almost half of its 240,000 workers could no longer be needed within a decade and that only half had training in STEM fields, which were projected to be needed amongst 95% of its workforce, it launched a Workforce 2020 Initiative to retrain and prepare a quarter of its workforce for radically new jobs. In 2016, it said it managed to fill more than 40% of its open positions with internal candidates.
Digital transformations are affecting enterprises of all kinds, but the responsibility is even more acute for the network operators who are driving technological innovation and who own customer relationships with vast amounts of personal data involved. It's a big opportunity, but also a big challenge.
Accenture outlines five key trends driving transformations and changing how companies do business. They include "citizen artificial intelligence," or using AI responsibly for the benefit of business and society; "extended reality," virtual and augmented reality that is changing how people interact with information; "data veracity," the avoidance of inaccurate or biased data in business; "frictionless business," re-architecting internal legacy systems to form technology-based partnerships for growth; and what it calls the "Internet of Thinking," overall existing infrastructures and updating employee skills for the digital transformation.
— Sarah Thomas, Contributing Editor, Telco Transformation