Only a decade ago, businesses who operated seamlessly across both the digital and physical worlds had a hugely competitive marketplace advantage. Now, that level of integration, along with digital transformation advocacy has become standard -- those who haven't face inevitable obsolescence. Increasingly, companies -- small and large alike -- are digital at their core, and as such, are tasked with staying abreast of developing technologies and further mastering the ones they already employ.

Each year a slew of new technological trends emerges, but only a handful promise to effect large-scale change in the enterprise. As such, here are 3 trends from Accenture's 2019 Technology Vision report that highlight where and how changes are occurring within the workplace -- and the potential impact to businesses. 

1. Embracing the DARQ

Gone are the days where artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) were considered trends. The DARQ is a collection of relevant emerging technologies, each of which represents significant advances in their own right, but when taken together, are powerful enough to completely transform entire industries. Accenture's survey revealed that 89% of executives are already experimenting with at least one of these technologies. So what are they?

  • Distributed ledger technology

  • Artificial intelligence 

  • Reality, extended (both virtual and augmented)

  • Quantum computing

Distributed ledgers decrease the 'trust cost' of doing business while simultaneously maximizing the value of databases. Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing our idea of efficiency in terms of input, output, and analysis, as well as driving higher ROIs. Extended reality encourages the reimagining of countless products and services. The quantum computing era is rapidly approaching and where there are positive implications, businesses need to be aware of the quantum-threat exists.

Organizations are no longer embracing and preparing for one emerging technology (or threat) -- the DARQ-side is here to stay. 

2. Cross-functional awareness, ownership, and distribution of cybersecurity threats

The Internet of Things (IoT), along with the industries and economies that it makes possible, could hardly be more beautiful to behold. Its power, though, arises out of its incredible complexity, and complexity breeds vulnerability.

The digital world is basically comprised of a vast collection of devices just waiting to be mobilized for a given purpose, granting threat actors both an unlimited number of targets and access points. As supply chains and business ecosystems grow, so does the risk of organizations being either victimized, used as a threat vector, or both. Invulnerability to cyber threats is essentially a pipe dream. However, resilience in the face of security breaches is becoming ever more important.

What we're seeing is a redistribution of cybersecurity responsibility. In other words, it's about enacting an upward shift to help educate, empower, and activate cross-functional teams and leaders about these growing threats and how to prepare for them.

Shared ownership across cross-functional lines -- it's happening (and needs to).

3.  Workplaces are adapting to the

Returning to the Accenture survey results, 71% of respondents admitted to their employees being 'more digitally mature' than their organizations as a whole. Of course, this isn't surprising, given that it's much easier for an individual to evolve digitally than it is for an entire enterprise. As a result, workforces are becoming increasingly empowered through the use of technologically enabled skills, knowledge, and connectedness, while workplaces continue to play catch-up.

Breaking down this trend involves identifying the shifts that businesses are making in order to keep their model efficient, their culture appealing, and their workforce loyal. Here are a handful of such shifts that represent just the tip of the iceberg:

Once upon a time, running a successful business was as simple as offering a competitive product to a reliable customer base.

In modern times, profitability is short-lived unless accompanied by a willingness to constantly assess and adjust according to available technologies.

It's not a matter of if legacy companies will be left behind, but when.