Winners in the digital age do much more than tick off a checklist of technology capabilities. They know their success hinges on people. 

Global consulting firm Accenture has released its top tech trends for 2016, highlighting changes that will impact enterprises in the next three to five years.

The report finds that digital economy now accounts for 22 per cent of the world’s total economy, up from 15 per cent in 2005. That percentage will grow to 25 percent by 2020.

Accenture says that winners in the digital age do much more than tick off a checklist of technology capabilities. They know their success hinges on people.

The ability to understand changing customer needs and behaviours is, of course, vital.

But the real deciding factor in the era of intelligence will be a company’s ability to evolve its corporate culture to not only take advantage of emerging technologies, but also, critically, embrace the new business strategies that those technologies drive.

Here are the five trends identified in the report

Trend 1: Intelligent Automation

Intelligent automation is the launching pad for new growth and innovation, but it won’t simply be about replacing people with technology, the report says.

Powered by artificial intelligence, the next wave of solutions will gather unprecedented amounts of data from disparate systems and — by weaving systems, data, and people together — create solutions that fundamentally change the organisation, as well as what it does and how it does it, Accenture says.

Find out how intelligent automation could impact the workforce of tomorrow.

Trend 2: Liquid Workforce

The changes from the digital revolution will create a state of culture shock for workers and corporations.

Companies have to invest in the tools and technologies they need to keep pace with constant change in the digital era. But there is typically a critical factor that is falling behind: the workforce.

Companies need more than the right technology; they need to harness that technology to enable the right people to do the right things in an adaptable, change-ready, and responsive liquid workforce. 

Trend 3: Platform Economy 

The next wave of disruptive innovation will arise from the technology-enabled, platform-driven ecosystems now taking shape across industries.

Having strategically harnessed technology to produce digital businesses, leaders are now creating the adaptable, scalable, and interconnected platform economy that underpins success in an ecosystem-based digital economy.

Trend 4: Predictable Disruption

Every business now understands the transformational power of digital.  

What few, though, have grasped is quite how dramatic and ongoing the changes arising from new platform-based ecosystems will be.

It’s not just business models that will be turned on their heads.

As these ecosystems produce powerful, predictable disruption, whole industries and economic segments will be utterly redefined and reinvented.

Trend 5: Digital Trust

The Accenture report acknowledges that pervasive new technologies also raise potent new digital risk issues.

Without trust, businesses cannot share and use the data that underpins their operations.

That’s why the most advanced security systems today go well beyond establishing perimeter security and incorporate a powerful commitment to the highest ethical standards for data.

New products and services must be ethical, and secure-by-design. Businesses that get this right will enjoy such high levels of trust that their customers will look to them as guides for the digital future.

In a digital economy where businesses can reach vastly more people, iterate quicker, and make faster, better decisions than ever before, trust attracts customers. But these same capabilities also amplify mistakes and make exposure to business risk more systemic. That could mean losing customers, market share, and value.

Boards’ recognition of new digital trusts has already spurred cybersecurity investment, with global spend set to top $100 billion by 2019, according to Gartner. Now, digital and data ethics are also becoming boardroom conversations.

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