Big business next digital disrupter, says Accenture CTO (video)

21 Mar 2014

Accenture CTO Paul Daugherty

The next big things in digital will be driven not solely by young start-ups but large established traditional businesses, such as Ford, Tesco and GE. That’s the view of Accenture’s chief technology officer Paul Daugherty, who was in Dublin this week.

As well as being Accenture’s chief technology officer, Daugherty also serves as managing director of Accenture’s Technology, Strategy and Innovation group.

He also oversees Accenture Technology Labs, Accenture’s Cloud and Mobility businesses and groups that incubate emerging technology capabilities.

Speaking with Silicon Republic this week, Daugherty said that the next big wave of innovation or digital disruption in digital business will be heralded by innovations within large, established businesses.

“We’ve done a lot of work looking back at prior technology waves that have happened,” he explains.

“A lot of the focus to date has been around the digital leaders we hear a lot about, the start-ups, the exciting new companies developing great products.

“We’re not saying that those aren’t relevant because they clearly are relevant and very important companies and we’ll continue to see innovation, entrepreneurship, start-ups, etc, but we believe that it is really the time for big organisations to chart their course and take a leadership role in figuring out how they can disrupt their own businesses, how they can disrupt the markets they operate in and often how they can cross into new markets with their products and services.

“So the phrase we use is big is the next big thing – big companies we believe will be the next thing we talk about when we talk about the big developments in digital.

“So we’re going to see big companies like Tesco continue to do very interesting things. They are even selling a tablet to their consumers because they really want to provide that end-to-end digital experience driving a much greater proportion of their sales through online channels.

“Look at GE with the industrial internet and what they are driving by connecting their medical equipment, their jet engines, their turbines, the equipment they sell through industrial internets so that they could sell digitally to their customers that they serve.

Big companies innovating and disrupting in that way we believe is the next big thing.”

Mobile first

Daugherty said that many traditional companies around the world are beginning to echo the ICT strategies currently being espoused by players like Google, Facebook and more recently Microsoft about technologies strategies being increasingly “mobile first.”

“Every business is a digital business and when you think about a digital business and the consumer you are serving, the consumer is on the go they want access to information, where they are, when they need it at the point of need and that’s where mobile first really comes in.

“In our sense, we’re not just thinking about the mobility application; it’s thinking about the experience you want to create for the consumer, your customer and making sure making the right information and application available to them.

“When we work with our customers that’s the perspective we try to bring and try to break the mould of where you develop an app and then you think of what the global add-on for it should be –  that’s the backwards way of doing it.

“What we really need to be thinking of is what’s the experience you want to create for your customer, for your employer, consumer or citizen in the digital world.

“How do you want to create that world and what elements do you need to bring to bear and what needs to be mobile, what needs to be on a tablet, what needs to be available on PCs and other devices.

“And that’s how you bring that mobile first, that digital experience to life for people,” Daugherty said.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years