Tech game changers: What companies must act on now


With global economic pressures continuing to impact companies, 99% of Australian executives believe emerging technologies will help their businesses remain resilient on the global stage. But how quickly and efficiently the act will determine their success or failure in the future.
Emerging tech such as AI is on the agenda for Australian executives, but they must act now | Source: Getty Images

The growing influence of new technology on the physical world has never been so prominent. In fact, 97% of Australian executives believe that the convergence of digital and physical worlds over the next decade will completely transform their industry, according to Accenture’s 2023 Technology Vision.

With change comes challenges. 97% of leaders believe their organisations need a “more systematic way” of managing emerging technologies, and how they manage that change will determine their success.

The quest to be data-driven and insight-led is one of the key issues on the minds of today’s leaders, Accenture Technology Lead, ANZ, Matt Coates says. But capturing the data isn’t the problem – knowing how to use it in a meaningful, insightful way is, he told Forbes Australia.

“As the world becomes increasingly digitised, a staggering amount of data is captured by organisations each day. The challenge lies in being able to unlock the value in that data and use it effectively to drive business decisions. In fact, Gartner reports that 97% of data sits unused by organisations, which is a huge source of frustration for Australian executives,” Coates says.

But with increased accessibility of data comes security risks and greater levels of company responsibility. Companies that understand and respond to the challenges around the transparent use of data will have a competitive advantage in the future, Coates says.

“Having witnessed some serious breaches in the last year, Australian consumers are expecting their data to be kept safe. This expectation is likely to increase, and be mandated by government regulation.”

According to Accenture, organisations will need to “rethink their data collection and architecture design to begin exposing the data that matters”. “Leaders have an unprecedented opportunity to build trust with partners and customers by proactively becoming more transparent – or risk having someone else do it for them,” the report said.

Accenture Technology Lead, ANZ, Matt Coates
Matt Coates, Accenture Technology Lead ANZ | Image source: supplied
Multi-billion-dollar digital identity market to boom

Accenture describes digital identity as the “quiet catalyst of this next generation of innovation”. Accenture research shows that the digital identity market is expected to increase threefold from $28 billion in 2022 to $71 billion in 2027.

But innovation advancements are “being held back by old models of identity”, it said. Nine-five per cent of executives say their companies are innovating around digital identity via tokenism.

“The physical-digital convergence will only be sparked when people and things have an identity that can traverse both sides. And emerging forms of foundational ID are finally breaking down the walls that divide enterprises and people’s physical and digital lives, sparking a torrent of change.”

There is still a long way to go when it comes to perfecting digital identity authentication. More than 9 out of 10 executives say that authenticating customers’ identity is negatively impacting their bottom line and 96% say changes constricting third-party tracking data are hurting their customer engagement.  

The report found more than 8 out of 10 executives believe that the ability to authenticate digital users and assets is now a “strategic business imperative, not a technical issue”.

“To be able to use data to inform critical decision-making within an organisation, you need to be able to trust that the data is good quality and accurate. That means establishing trusted forms of identity for customers you are interacting with digitally is critical.”

Tech: where they’re putting the money

Australia executives say that artificial Intelligence (95%) and Intelligent digital twins (79%) are inspiring their organisations’ vision or long[1]term strategy, according to Accenture’s latest report, When Atoms Meet Bits: The Foundations of Our New Reality. Other top areas of motivation are next-generation computing, robotics, energy innovation and the metaverse, the global report of more than 4,700 c-level executives and directors found.

When it comes to investments in economic uncertainty, the key areas companies expect to gain effectiveness from are AI (46%), digital twin (40%) and next-generation computing (38%).

AI, a new reality

The report found that 36% of executives believed investments in AI would lead to greater innovation within their company and almost half said it would lead to greater effectiveness. Almost one in five executives said investment in AI would lead to greater efficiencies within their business.

Coates says through his role he is seeing much greater awareness of the potential of AI to enhance the way businesses are operating and improving the customer and employee experiences they can offer.

“This rapidly increasing awareness is driving adoption and we are seeing so many Australian organisations now embedding AI into their operations.

“This has been facilitated by the uptake of Cloud-based technology. While different organisations are at different parts of this journey, it’s no longer a question of if they are going to migrate and establish their technology systems in the Cloud, it’s more a question of how fast they are able to do so.”

The merging of the digital and physical worlds is happening now and the trend will “shape the next wave of business transformation”, Coates says.  

“We are already seeing early adopters moving into this space – some are coming up with bespoke solutions, some are collaborating on industry solutions – however most organisations are looking for guidance around where they need to start.”

More from Forbes Australia