Pandemic has resulted in exponential tech growth, acceleration: Accenture’s Paul Daugherty

Pune: If the pandemic had happened a few years earlier, it would have been far more catastrophic as we didn’t have the technology keeping us together today, said Paul Daugherty, chief technology officer, Accenture. The exponential acceleration in technology and the new possibilities it continues to create, along with the pandemic has fast-forwarded us into the future, resulting in the great acceleration, he said.

Speaking at the Nasscom Technology and Leadership Forum 2022 on Friday, Daugherty outlined the pandemic has widened the gap between how technology leaders and laggards perform. “The top 10% are outperforming the rest not just by 2x, but by five times. And we also see the new category of companies emerging who are leapfrogging the rest,” he said.

Because not all companies are accelerating at the same pace, they need to think about four new realities to incorporate into their business.

“The first is the new reality of human experience… the pandemic caused people to instantaneously change their behaviour, and that has never happened before in human history,” he said. The second is around technology itself. “If the pandemic happened just a few years earlier. It would have been far more catastrophic if we didn’t have technology, keeping us all together, keeping the world together, keeping the economies together in the way it did. And the reality of this means that every business is becoming a technology business,” said Daugherty. IT companies have gone from running things behind the scenes to driving how business is done.

The other key changes are around work, and sustainability. “Sustainability needs to be part of the core of our thinking of everything we do in business and everything we do around technology… technology is in many cases the answer to solving sustainability challenges we talked about,” he said. Further, technology is also emerging as a problem for sustainability, with IT and ICT going from 1% of global emissions to 4%, and projected to go to 14% by 2040.

Daugherty suggests a five point ideas framework to deal with the new reality, where the first part is about intelligence and human applications of artificial intelligence, followed by data and how we use data will be a differentiator. The next is experience, architecture and strategy. “We’re all technology companies now, and as a result, strategy needs to be approached differently… It’s not about developing the strategy and executing it’s been continually adapting and having an agile adaptable strategy itself. It’s about a radically human approach,” he said.

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