By Kimberly Weisul
Accenture says these are the trends that will affect big companies in 2014. They’re going to influence you, too
File this under “Know Your Customer:” Accenture recently released its Technology Vision 2014 report, detailing the six big technology trends that the global consutling firm thinks will soon transform large companies.
At first glance, you might not care too terribly much about what’s going on at big companies. But if you sell into a large company of any type, you know that whatever affects it sooner or later affects you. And since many of these trends have their roots in the consumer world (wearable technology, for instance), they’re likely to affect businesses of all sizes before long.
1. The digital-physical blur
What this really means is that we’ll increasingly get information exactly when we need it, rather than stopping mid-project to Google that missing fact or pausing mid-run to see how our vital signs are doing. We already see beginnings of this in products such as a Fitband or Google’s Glass. Smart businesses of all sizes that can take advantage of this same instant, integrated access to information will use it to empower their workforces and re-engineer their processes.
2. From workforce to crowdsource
When big companies talk about crowdsourcing, it often means they’re more open to ideas from their smaller suppliers and from entrepreneurs. Procter & Gamble had a stunning success in so-called outsourced innovation with the Swiffer. A small design company actually came up with the idea, and then P&G worked with them to license, develop and market it. A similar process led to the Olay Regenerist product. Expect to see more willingness to pursue deals like this from the big companies in your ecosystem.
3. Data supply chain
Big companies, like smaller ones, often have more data than they know what to do with, and certainly more than they can analyze in a timely, competent, and useful way. The key to getting the most from “Big Data,” says Accenture, is in treating it like a supply chain issue. Data is just one more input that has to be processed and delivered to the right people at the right time to enable them to do their jobs–whether they’re vendors, employees, or customers.
4. Harnessing hyperscale
In search of higher efficiency and lower costs, companies are looking to optimize their power consumption and get more out of their processors, solid state memory, and infrastructure architectures. Sounds like a great opportunity for entrepreneurs with expertise in these areas.
5. Business of applications
Accenture says 54 percent of the highest-performing IT teams already have in-house app stores. If you’re selling a tech-related product or service to a big customer, do you have an app to help them use and manage it? And would it make sense to make that app available to a wider range of people through the customer’s own app store?
6. Architecting resilience
Businesses of all size increasingly have to be prepared to run 24/7, but most operations aren’t designed to run non-stop. Accenture says that means systems must be ‘designed for failure,’ not designed to spec. In other words, the product or service you’re selling needs to be rock-steady. And then you need a plan B and C.