Digital revolution is a blessing and curse for businesses

Pierre Nanterme, Chairman and CEO of Accenture, believes organisations face great opportunities and risks in the digital age   

A world where people can download data to their brains or appear at meetings as holograms presents both great opportunities and challenges for businesses, according to Pierre Nanterme, CEO of Accenture. 
Nanterme told attendees at a student-led London Business School event that the digital revolution, expected to provide US$100 trillion globally to industry and society by 2025, will change how companies in every continent do business. 
Digitally-savvy organisations will thrive in a world driven by social and mobile devices, analytics and the cloud, while others that fail to harness the technology are set to struggle. 
“The digital revolution really could kill many companies off – that’s what some business owners will be thinking,” he said. “Our research shows that 80% of leaders think digital technology will change their business, but only 30% have plans in place for it.”
He added that different generations had opposing views on the effects of the revolution. 
“Younger generations have zero fear about the changes, but the levels of anxiety among people in middle management and at CEO level is high. 
“Managers are worried about losing their jobs, while chief executives are concerned about how to restructure their businesses. Some people believe machines will eventually replace us all.”   
New technology will enable companies to develop customer profiles that tap into someone’s shopping habits, by capturing marketing data from everyday devices such as cars, fridges, glasses or toothbrushes.  
“Stores will have facial recognition technology, meaning they will know who you are as soon as you walk in,” Nanterme said. “The retailer can use the information they have on file to see what you bought on your last visit and use that information to tailor your latest shopping experience.”
The digital revolution will also have a major impact on the healthcare industry, giving doctors the ability to monitor someone’s physical state through smartphone technology or devices that can scan their internal organs. 
“The healthcare industry will be completely reinvented,” Nanterme said. “Hospitals will have instant access to our medical records through new technology.”

Nanterme recently spoke with students about his company's business as well as career opportunities with Accenture Strategy.