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Digital Twins, Human Experience Platforms, and Ethical Technology and Trust, are Redefining African Enterprises, Annual Deloitte Tech Trends Report Finds

Tech Trends 2020 Dives into the Emerging Technologies Reshaping the Modern Enterprise

Johannesburg – The convergence of enterprise technology trends will continue to profoundly transform all businesses and unlock potential for innovation, Deloitte’s 2020 Tech Trends report reveals.

The report, and accompanying insights from Deloitte’s annual CIO survey and Tech Trends— that give a global view of trends — was launched at a pan-African virtual event, hosted by Deloitte, with more than 500 sub-Saharan clients and employees on 21 July 2020.

Redefining African Enterprises

The 11th annual Tech Trends Report captures the intersection of digital technologies, human experiences, and increasingly sophisticated analytics and artificial intelligence technologies, in the modern enterprise. It explores digital twins; the new role technology architects play in business outcomes; affective computing-driven “human experience platforms” that are redefining the way humans and machines interact; and ethical technology and trust.
“Last year’s Tech Trends Report explored nine macro technology forces that form the backbone of business innovation and transformation. This year’s update takes a fresh look at enterprise adoption of these macro forces and explores how they are shaping the tech trends we predict will disrupt businesses over the next 18 to 24 months,” says Kevin Govender, Deloitte Africa CIO Programme Leader.
Also included in the report is an update on the symbiotic benefits derived from the macro technology forces that serve as the foundation for business transformation, as well as a look at “what’s next” beyond the near-term.
“As the POPI Act has finally been enacted into law as of 01 July 2020, ethical technology and trust have become more important than ever. Customers and employees need to know that they can place their trust in the organisation with their personal information when using the different emerging technologies,” says Govender. “It is the responsibility of service providers and organisations to ensure that they are providing a safe, secure, and trustworthy technology environment or platform for people to transact on. This is an important area to focus on in South Africa right now.”

Three of the trends which are of particular interest and relevance across Africa include:

  • Digital Twins – Bridging the physical and digital: Organisations across Africa are finding that increasingly sophisticated simulation and modeling capabilities, power visualisation, better interoperability and IoT sensors, and more widely available platforms and tools are making it possible to create simulations that are more detailed and dynamic than ever. Digital twins can increase efficiency in manufacturing, optimise supply chains, transform predictive field maintenance, aid in traffic congestion remediation, and much more. Organisations making the transition from selling products to selling bundled products and services, or selling as-a-service, are increasing use of digital twins. As capabilities and sophistication grow, expect to see more organisations use digital twins to optimise processes, make data-driven decisions in real time, and design new products, services, and business models. In the long term, realising digital twins’ full promise may require integrating systems and data across entire ecosystems.
  • Human Experience Platforms: In the coming months, more companies will ramp up their responses to a growing, yet largely unmet demand for technology to better understand humans, and to respond more appropriately. To address the lack of connection that humans often experience with daily digital interactions, a growing number of African organisations are injecting emotional intelligence into their systems. These include artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities such as machine learning, voice and facial recognition which can better detect and appropriately respond to human emotions. The net result is emotionally intelligent human experiences that leverage connections between people, systems, data, and products. This ability to leverage emotionally intelligent platforms to recognize, and use emotional data at scale, is one of the biggest, most important opportunities for companies going forward.
  • Ethical Technology and Trust: Organisations in Africa are realising that every aspect of their organisation that is disrupted by technology represents an opportunity to gain or lose trust, and with it, their customers’ business, and brand loyalty. They are approaching trust — not as a compliance or public relations issue — but as a business-critical goal to be pursued. Chief Information Officers (CIOs) will emphasise ethical tech in the coming years – and create processes to help solve ethical dilemmas related to disruptive technologies.

“We live in a world that is changing constantly, operating in an unprecedented and unpredictable environment,” says Govender. “Now more than ever it is imperative that Kinetic leaders work towards reinventing and reimaging their organisations. They need to be resilient, agile, and future proof their organisations. While previously we were used to seeing companies built to last with lengthy legacies, today we need to build organisations that are built to evolve. It is predicted that 40 percent of S&P 500 companies will be extinct in 10 years and will no longer be a part of the S&P by 2024. It is therefore essential that organisations are built to evolve so that they can navigate the constant changes and external pressures.”

According to Deloitte, this is the time for transformational, not incremental change. The influence and impact of disruptive technologies is a strategic issue of our time, particularly given the current market’s economic and social conditions. Entire industries are being disrupted and business as we know it will be redefined over the next decade. While some of the trends covered in this report may not come to fruition exactly as envisioned, the technologies underpinning them will fundamentally change the way we work, interact, live and play.