COVID-19 has strengthened the intertwined relationship between business and technology, in fact it has expanded the possibilities for implementing technology across more operations and processes.
According to the Accenture Technology Vision 2020 Report (released February 2020), nineteen percent of those surveyed feel that technology is an extension of themselves. Sixty-four percent reported being online an average of 6.4 hours. This data is before the COVID-19 pandemic. One can imagine what it is now.
Paul Daugherty, Accenture's Chief Technology and Innovative Officer, author of "Human + Machine", and co-author of the Accenture Technology Vision 2020 Report believes that companies must have a deep empathy and personal connection with humans. COVID-19 proved itself to be a different crisis. Never in history have a couple of billion people changed their behavior instantaneously. At the same time, there has been an exponential technology change altering the way companies do business. COVID-19 requires technology to react differently and companies to move fast.
Ninety percent of the companies surveyed feel that they are not getting value from their technology investments. On the flip side, the top 10% that feel they are getting value from their technology investments have also doubled the performance of the rest. Well-thought-out technological investments are key.
A digital foundation and cloud infrastructure are necessary for business adaptability and relevance. Businesses must react quickly to changing global conditions. Cloud adaptation helps a business to be resilient. Businesses must be aware of what is going on both locally and globally and have the necessary equipment and talent ready and available for changing conditions.
Daugherty rejects the term "social distancing". People must be physically distant but must be also bought together socially now more than ever. Companies must make sure that their employees are safe, connected, and their overall well-being is looked after. Meanwhile, clients now have more needs than ever and must be able to talk to someone.
Overall, Daugherty feels that today's environment requires three skills from business leaders: (1) They must be involved from the top-down, (2) They must have a deep empathy and a personal connection with the human condition, and (3) They must grow, adjust, and partner with other businesses and the ecosystem depending on the current environment.