Feb 22, 2021

Accenture: train employees to think like technologists

Paddy Smith
3 min
accenture tech trends 2021
Accenture’s Technology Trends Report 2021 advances digital twins, remote working and tech-minded employees for business success...

Accenture has released its Technology Trends Report 2021 , which advocates training employees to think like technologists for future business success.

It says that:

  • 77 per cent of executives state that their technology architecture is becoming very critical or critical to the overall success of their organization.
  • 87 per cent of executives agree digital twins are becoming essential to their organization’s ability to collaborate in strategic ecosystem partnerships.
  • 86 per cent of executives agree their organization must train its people to think like technologists—to use and customize technology solutions at the individual level, but without highly technical skills.
  • 87 per cent of executives believe the remote workforce opens up the market for difficult to find talent and expands the competition for talent among organizations.
  • 90 per cent of executives state that multiparty systems will enable their ecosystems to forge a more resilient and adaptable foundation to create new value with their organization’s partners.

The report breaks down five key areas where companies should focus their attention to exploit a new era of digital-first leadership.

Technology architecture

Business and technology strategies have become intertwined to the point of fusion. Cloud spending is up threefold and 70 per cent of companies already using cloud intend to increase spending. The report also identifies a “battle between technology stacks” as cloud, AI and edge vie for business investment, alongside broad decisions about technology architecture and an explosion in Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS).

Digital twins

Entire factories, product cycles, supply chains, ports and cities are being modelled using advances in digital twin complexity. The report says, “When built on comprehensive, compatible and trusted data, intelligent twins and mirrored environments will help enterprises optimise operations, detect and predict anomalies, pivot to prevent unplanned downtime, enable greater autonomy, and dynamically adjust their designs and strategies with every new piece of data they collect or new test that they run.”

Democratised technology

An array of technology is now available to laypeople, with the rise of natural language processing, low-code platforms and RPA, to name a few. The report notes, “Democratised technology lets people optimise their work or fix pain points on their own. Without having to request major IT projects, people can create a custom dashboard for a group’s finances, build an app to approve and automatically fulfill purchase orders and much more. Suddenly, the ability to create technology solutions belongs to people all across the enterprise.”

Working from home – or anywhere

Accenture envisions a BYOD 2.0 where technology platforms support a totally fluid working environment, employees thrive and companies succeed off the back of rethinking their workforce model. It says: “Think back to the early days of the “bring your own device” (BYOD) movement, when companies allowed employees to bring their own laptops or smartphones into the office. Employers had to implement new policies and tech solutions, enabling flexibility while mitigating the risk of devices that weren’t entirely within their control. But it also gave employees a chance for a better work experience and ultimately saved companies money. Now we’ve moved beyond BYOD and into BYOE: employees are bringing entire environments to work.”

Complex ecosystems

Multiparty systems (MPS) include blockchain, distributed ledger, distributed database and tokenization, among others. Accenture says: “Even as companies were making drastic cuts and scrambling to keep operating during the height of the pandemic, organisations across industries doubled down on exploration and investment in MPS. From contact tracing to frictionless payments, applications for technologies that were once considered too complicated, far from maturity or niche suddenly took centre stage.”

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May 14, 2021

Dark Wolf: accelerating security for USAF

U.S Air Force
Dark Wolf Solutions
2 min
Dark Wolf Solutions is small and agile, its partnership with the US Air Force is helping to deliver critical security faster and better than ever before

As a small company whose biggest customers are the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community, Dark Wolf Solutions (Dark Wolf) is a triple-threat, specializing in Cybersecurity, Software and DevOps, and Management Solutions. Dark Wolf secures and tests cloud platforms, develops and deploys applications, and offers consultancy services performing system engineering, system integration, and mission support.

The break for Dark Wolf came when the Department of Defense decided to explore software factories. Rick Tossavainen, Dark Wolf’s CEO, thinks it was an inspired path for the DoD to take. “It was a really great decision,” he says, “Let’s pull our people together as part of this digital transformation and recreate what Silicon Valley startup firms typically have. Let’s get into commercial facilities where we have open windows and big whiteboards and just promote ideation and collaboration. And it creates this collaborative environment where people start creating things much more rapidly than before.”

It has been, Tossavainen says, “amazing to watch” and has energized the Federal Contracting Sector with an influx of new talent and improved working environments that foster creativity and innovative ways of approaching traditional problems.

“We originally started working with the US Air Force about three years ago. The problem was at the time you could develop all the software you wanted but you couldn’t get it into production – you had to go through the traditional assessment and authorization process. I talked to Lauren Knausenberger and she told me about Kessel Run and what eventually came out of this was the DoD’s first continuous ATO [Authority To Operate].”

The secret to Dark Wolf’s success – and its partnerships with USAF and Space Force – lies in a client-first attitude. “We’re not looking to maximise revenue,” Tossavainen explains. “We tell all of our employees, if you’re ever faced with an issue and you don’t know how to resolve it, and one solution is better for the customer and the second is better for Dark Wolf, you always do number one. We’ve just got to take care of our customers, and I look for other partners that want to do that. And let’s work together so that we can bring them the best answer we can.”

Rapid releases and constant evolution of software are common themes among USAF’s partners. Like many firms operating in the commercial and public sector spaces, Dark Wolf leads with a DevSecOps approach.

“Failure is tolerated,” says Tossavainen. “If it’s not going the right way in three months, let’s adjust. Let’s rapidly change course. And you can tell really quickly if something’s going to be successful or not, because they’re doing deployments multiple times a day – to the customer.”

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