DARQ days ahead as business enters ‘post-digital’ world

Published on the 28/02/2019 | Written by Heather Wright

DARQ digital days_Accenture

New rules apply as privacy and individualism take centre stage…

Distributed, Artificial, Reality and Quantum.

Those are the key words behind a new acronym being touted by Accenture signalling that just being digital is no longer a competitive advantage, it’s simply the price of admission. A ‘post digital world’ is upon us requiring new business rules, greater trust and the embracing of the DARQ technology stack.

It’s the new world view according to the consulting and professional services company, which has just released its annual Technology Vision report, predicting key technology trends that will ‘redefine’ business over the next three years.

This year’s report, The Post-Digital Era is Upon Us – Are You Ready for What’s Next?, says business is at a turning point with the traditional digital technologies of social, mobile, analytics and cloud, having moved beyond adoption silos to become part of the core technology foundation for 79 percent of the 6,600 business and IT execs surveyed globally.

“Ambitious companies are looking at DARQ technologies for the next source of differentiation and disruption.”

Moving forward, the battle field will become DARQ – distributed ledger technology, AI, extended reality and quantum computing – and trust.

Justin Gray, Accenture New Zealand country managing director, says as everything becomes digital – becoming core to the way we shop, work, learn, communicate, decide, respond and even elect our leaders – a new generation of advanced technologies will drive the next level of growth and innovation. Digital technology, he says, will no longer be a competitive advantage and there will be whole new levels of expectations from customers, employees and partners.

“We call this the post digital world – and it offers tremendous opportunities and value for New Zealand,” Gray says.

“However, these opportunities and value will only be realised if applied responsibly and through establishing trust.”

While the report outlines five trends, Gray says three in particular are especially relevant to New Zealand businesses.

The rules of the ‘post digital era’ will be different.
“It doesn’t mean digital will be over, but the opposite. Most of the digital journey still lies ahead – it will be about what digital technologies are applied, and how,” Gray says.

“There’s a new set of rules for businesses in this post-digital world, which requires using powerful new technologies to innovate their business models; personalise experiences for their customers; and customise products, services, and even people’s surroundings, on-demand.

“But with these new rules come new and deeper responsibilities. In other words, post-digital is where opportunity and responsibility meet.”

Building trust among stakeholders is crucial to this journey.
Gray says leaders must consider themselves guardians of the digital revolution, with a focus on embracing new technologies in an ethical way, recognising that human values, such as trust and responsibility, are not just buzzwords but critical enablers of their success.

The post-digital world will require that companies master a new set of technologies to differentiate themselves.
This is where DARQ comes in, Gray says, with companies needing to look to the next generation of technologies to drive growth and innovation.

“While each of the DARQ technologies will be powerful on its own, enabling businesses to differentiate their products and services, collectively they will push each other forward and open unimagined new pathways into the future—which is why ambitious companies are looking at DARQ technologies for the next source of differentiation and disruption.”

Gray says only a limited number of Kiwi companies have actually adopted DARQ technologies, though many are experimenting.

He cites Fonterra and New Zealand Post’s trials of blockchain technology to stop exported food fraud and increase China’s trust in New Zealand products, respectively, on the distributed ledger technology front and Mercedes-Benz $7 million investment in Kiwi company Soul Machines, on the AI front.

Starship Foundation is another which has introduced extended reality technology to enable children stuck in hospital to virtually visit attractions such as Sealife Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium, and Kiwi researchers are running experiments using quantum computing.

Gray says New Zealand business leaders need to be asking themselves whether they’re ready for what’s next.

“Persistent change, challenged assumptions, and disruption are now the norm, rather than the exception, in business and society,” he says. “These indicators will only accelerate and multiply as we progress into the future. The lightning-speed of change, driven by technology, is taking us from the digital age toward a new reality – the post-digital world.

“The next epic disruption is coming and this post-digital era offers tremendous opportunities and value for business in New Zealand, if enterprises proceed responsibly and establish trust.”

All of that, and a healthy dose of dust from the darq star.

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