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Digital Transformation is over, all hail the post-digital age

Written by Thu 7 Feb 2019

The enterprise’s relationship with digital technologies is entering an entirely new phase, where simply “doing digital” doesn’t cut it, says Accenture

Just when you start getting bored of one neologism, another comes along and takes its place, or least that is what Accenture will hope, after it released a report yesterday proclaiming the start of a new enterprise era dubbed “post-digital”.

The report “The Post-Digital Era is Upon Us — Are you Ready for What’s Next” claims the business’s relationship with digital has changed. No longer are digital technologies a differentiator — they are non-negotiable.

In other words, digital represents an exhaustive end-to-end necessity, and the differentiator is now what you do differently with digital that others aren’t. Hence post-digital.

In its press release, Accenture was very careful to ensure no one misinterpreted their siren call as meaning the denouement of digital. “A post-digital world doesn’t mean the digital is over,” said Paul Daugherty, Accenture’s CTO, just in case you weren’t entirely sure.

New opportunities

Post-digital may sound like an awful new music genre, but unlike embryonic musical categories which definitions are frustratingly vague and contradictory, Accenture has done a good job of describing the parameters of this new era.

Accenture says businesses in this phase will be successful to the extent that they master social, mobile, analytics and cloud to deliver hyper-personalised experiences for its customers, employees and business partners. Doing this right it says will lead to more channels to reach customers, and an expanded ecosystem with new potential partners.

Accenture arrived at this conclusion after interviewing 6,600 global business and IT executives, an overwhelming majority of which (79 percent) believe that digital technologies have ‘moved beyond adoption silo to become a core technology foundation’.

Essentially Accenture is predicting an explosion in the granularity of products and services as firms use technologies to cater to every aspect of an individual’s life or job, literally remoulding a person’s lived experience so it feels like everything around them is tailor-made for them.

This sounds brilliant of course, but it is a dream that can only be achieved if present data harvesting continues as usual, or is even accelerated.

Accenture does acknowledge these worries in the report, saying: “As companies move toward serving the market of one, they must toe the line between “useful” and “creepy”— and bear in mind that the line will vary for each person.”

However, it puts a lot of faith in the market for routing out invasive firms: “Going beyond the red line for an individual customer could mean all is lost. Case in point one in five consumers report that they would switch to another brand if a personalization experience was too creepy,” reads the report.

“Our Technology Vision highlights the ways in which organizations must use powerful new technologies to innovate in their business models and personalize experiences for their customers,” added Daugherty.

“At the same time, leaders must recognize that human values, such as trust and responsibility, are not just buzzwords but critical enablers of their success.”

Written by Thu 7 Feb 2019


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