As you take a moment to look around you, it’s clear that we’re in the midst of a digital revolution. Digital technologies are having an impact on every aspect of our lives, changing how we work as employees, how we interact with companies as consumers, and how we spend our leisure time as social beings.

In 2005, the global digital economy accounted for 15 percent of the world’s economy. By 2020, that figure is expected to reach 25 percent. Among the more than 3,100 IT and business executives we surveyed for the Accenture Technology Vision 2016 study, 86 percent anticipate that technology will change at a rapid or unprecedented pace in their industry over the next three years. The capital markets industry is no exception and in many ways continues to be a digital leader.

What does that mean for businesses?

Capital markets firms know that succeeding in this new digital world is perhaps less about how much technology you have as an organization and more about how well you use the tools you do have. That, in turn, hinges on people.

Keeping up with new innovations and understanding how consumer needs are evolving are key and important. But an organization’s ability to develop a corporate culture that can take advantage of emerging technologies—and embrace the new business strategies they enable—is what is likely to separate industry leaders from the rest of the pack.

Developing a digital corporate culture

Regardless of industry, companies with vibrant digital cultures share four key qualities. They are:

  1. Built for change. Digital leaders expect change, understand its impact and are prepared to move quickly to capitalize on new opportunities. That requires HR policies that support talent development and continuous learning, and agile architectures that facilitate collaboration.
  1. Driven by data. Digital leaders do more than gather data, they analyze it and act on it. That requires integrating data analytics tools, making data insights accessible and changing how decisions are made at every level of the organization.
  1. Ready to embrace disruption. While many companies are focused on efficiency gains from digital technologies, digital pioneers tend to focus on transformational ideas. People in those organizations are equipped and empowered to look for ways to transform processes—to do things differently and better.
  1. Aware of digital risk. The nature and scale of new digital technologies exposes businesses to new risks and new ethical questions. Finding ways to establish and maintain digital trust with every new technology is a top priority for digital leaders.

Putting people first

The notion that “every business is a digital business” is something we introduced in the Accenture Technology Vision 2013 report. That idea still holds true today. We’re seeing it in capital markets with the adoption of robo-advice services in wealth and asset management, and investment in blockchain-enabled distributed ledgers in investment banking—just to name a few of many examples in an industry that is already embracing digital and automation.

What’s become clear in the last several years, however, is the important role that people play in an organization’s digital success. That’s the common thread in the top five digital trends highlighted in this year’s Technology Vision report. Join me next time when I take a closer look at each trend in the context of capital markets.

Visit the Accenture Technology Vision 2016 website

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