To achieve the promise of frictionless business, companies need to break down technology architecture and security barriers that prevent them from communicating seamlessly with their digital ecosystems. Micro-services and blockchain architectures provide welcome solutions.
Companies in the midst of digital transformation are growing rapidly by building digital partnerships both inside and outside of their industries. Technology is the backbone that makes these relationships work—whether through digital platforms, cloud or APIs.
Think of when grocery stores partner with delivery services to get fresh food to people faster, or when insurance companies partner with wearable device companies to encourage healthier lifestyles. In each case, these companies use technology partnerships to combine products and services innovatively in order to meet people’s needs—and the smoother it is, the more frictionless, the better.
As discussed in Accenture Technology Vision 2018 , our annual tech trend report, it’s imperative that enterprises also recognize that the foundation for these strategic relationships is their organization’s technology—and it could be holding them back.
Ninety-five percent of IT executives report their organizations’ use of microservices will increase over the next two years.
Sixty percent of executives report that blockchain and smart contracts will be critical to their organizations over the next three years.
Simply put: Technology is accelerating faster than ever. As companies expand into more and more technology ecosystems, and shift rapidly between them, outdated systems that can’t keep pace will be the biggest barrier to growth. To leverage the power of technology-based partnerships, companies must prepare their technology to integrate with others.
New approaches to architecture
In the Frictionless Business chapter, we discuss two technologies that can make it easier for businesses to form strong and plentiful digital partnerships: micro-services and blockchain.
Micro-services—Internally, a micro-services approach will foster agility as applications become more modular, enabling rapid integration with many new partners. Micro-services is not a single piece of technology, but rather an approach to architecture. It uses a suite of tools like APIs, containers, and cloud to break applications into simple, discrete services.
With this granularity of control, businesses have more opportunities to uncover latent demand for services and data that may lead to additional revenue channels. Foursquare, the location-based discovery app, has shifted from being an exclusively consumer-focused company to integrating its underlying geo-tagging services with partners including popular apps such as Snapchat, Twitter, Uber, Pinterest and Apple Maps.i,ii
Blockchain—Externally, as each company’s portfolio of partnerships grows, it will be challenging to maintain a higher volume of relationships, and even rapidly pivot between partners, without sacrificing the integrity or security of their products and services. Blockchain will play a key role in creating, scaling and managing these relationships by holding partners accountable without the need to first build trust.
By using blockchain as the single source of truth, any enterprise with a vast logistics network can pinpoint sources of potential risks—contaminated produce, faulty parts, or fraudulent vendors—and react, ultimately enhancing operational speed while protecting the public and mitigating corporate risk.
Not one iota of friction in the future
Tomorrow’s leading businesses will be those that enable enterprise partnerships through technology today. To get started, companies should evaluate their applications and services, finding key places to move toward micro-services for faster, more effective business partnerships with a broader range of players—and better, deeper access to more customers.
At the same time, companies need to invest in the relevant blockchain skills and tools to enable future transactions with the widest group of business partners possible. It will be the way to manage and sustain those relationships at scale.
Those that empower technology-based relationships will find a clear path to growth, and new opportunities for innovation.
What’s your company’s path to micro-services? Are you exploring blockchain technologies and opportunities now?
To learn more about this IT trend, I encourage you to:
Read the Accenture Technology Vision 2018 overview and trend highlights
View the essential slide shares, videos and infographics
Share your thoughts at #techvision2018
Reach out to us to put these innovation-led ideas to work in your enterprise
i Walters, N. (2017, July 21). Foursquare Wants to Team Up With Amazon’s Alexa As It Becomes a Powerful Data Player. Retrieved October 13, 2017, from https://www.thestreet.com/story/14237363/1/foursquare-eyes-amazon-alexa-partnership-as-its-tech-is-quietly-built-into-snapchat-and-apple-maps.html
ii Lynley, M. (2016, May 9). How Foursquare hopes to hit profitability. Retrieved October 13, 2017, from http://social.techcrunch.com/2016/05/09/how-foursquare-hopes-to-hit-profitability/