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Blockchain an ‘essential’ tech for CEOs, states PwC

Saheli August 6, 2016 Real Estate Comments Off on Blockchain an ‘essential’ tech for CEOs, states PwC

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is one of the world’s largest professional services firms in the world. With headquarters in London, the company operates in 157 countries, boasts 756 locations and employs 200,000 people. The company ended 2015 with global revenues reaching US $35.4b.

“In the last year, we have helped 443 of the companies in the FT Global 500 list and 418 of those in the Fortune Global 500 list. We also advise and work with more than 100,000 entrepreneurial and private businesses around the world.”

– PwC Global Annual Review 2015

“When we talked to CEOs as part of our annual Global CEO Survey, 61% of them told us they were concerned about the speed of technological change in their industries,” states the firm’s most recent emerging technology report, “Tech Breakthroughs Megatrend: how to prepare for its impact.”

“Technological breakthroughs are the original megatrend,” states PwC. “What’s unique in the 21st century, though, is the ubiquity of technology, together with its accessibility, reach, depth, and impact. The technological breakthroughs megatrend directly impacts every other megatrend. Every industry feels its influence now, and so does every company, of every size—everywhere.”

Although CEOs and their teams are making a considerable effort to keep up with  groundbreaking technology, PwC states “that most struggle to find the time and energy necessary to keep up with the technologies driving transformation across every industry and in every part of the world.”

“Given the sheer pace and acceleration of technological advances in recent years, business leaders can be forgiven for feeling dazed and perhaps a little frustrated.”

– PwC Tech Breakthroughs Megatrend

To help CEOs on their technology journeys, PwC analysed more than 150 emerging technologies for the recent senior executive report. The company has been developing a methodology to help identify the ones most pertinent to a given company or industry: “Additionally, we’ve been filtering for those that will have the greatest impact on the widest range of industries over the coming years.”

The “Essential Eight technologies that matter” are; Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Drones, the Internet of Things, Robots, Virtual Reality, 3D Printing and Blockchain.

Blockchain is described as a “distributed electronic ledger that uses software algorithms to record and confirm transactions with reliability and anonymity. The record of events is shared between many parties and information once entered cannot be altered, as the downstream chain reinforces upstream transactions.”

PwC has written several reports on the subject, which can be used as tools for understanding blockchain and its potential; A Strategist’s Guide to Blockchain, Blockchain and Smart Contract Automation, and What is Blockchain.

“When a technology moves so quickly, it’s dangerous to sit on the sidelines,” states the company. “We’re watching blockchain move from a startup idea to an established technology in a tiny fraction of the time it took for the Internet or even the PC to be accepted as a standard tool. Blockchain technology could result in a radically different competitive future for the financial services industry.”

“The specific technologies most impactful to a company can – and likely will – vary, of course, but when we analysed for technologies with the most cross-industry and global impact over the coming years, eight technologies emerged.”

– PwC Tech Breakthroughs Megatrend

Each of the Essential Eight technologies are at varying degrees of maturity, states the report. Some have been around for many years, and are now beginning to flourish, others are newer but developing quickly: “None will be surprising to CEOs; they are regular subjects of often breathless coverage in popular newspaper coverage.”

The company believes that these technologies will shake things up across every business model, “some in very beneficial ways, and some in quite challenging ways.”

These technologies are opening up a slew of new opportunities and corresponding considerations for strategy: “In some cases, these new offerings require a comprehensive rethink of innovation and portfolio strategies. In other cases, they may necessitate fresh go-to-market and even merger and acquisition strategies.”

The Essential Eight technologies are described as reshaping almost every dimension of companies’ interactions with their customers, “from sales and marketing to billing and after-sales support.”

Artificial intelligence, robots, drones, and 3D printing can all improve operational efficiency and provide significant competitive advantage, claims PwC. A recent Citibank report contended that the banking industry could lose up to 30% of its workforce over the next 10 years owing to technologies such as AI and blockchain.

Compliance is described an, “often overlooked aspect of the business model.” Where the shortlisted technologies will see many companies scrambling to adapt to – and trying to influence – the resulting regulatory landscapes.

“We anticipate that new blockchain technology will do much to transform the compliance practices of enterprises large and small,” states the report. “Blockchain enables a ‘central, immutable ledger of transactions’ that ‘would allow auditors and regulators to rapidly monitor the flow of financial data, avoiding after-the-fact verification.” However, there is still significant debate about how this technology gets monitored and regulated.

“The tracking, evaluation, and action plan development for these emerging technologies, while a complex and involved undertaking, should now be an integral component of the overall corporate strategy.”

– PwC Tech Breakthroughs Megatrend

Going forward, PwC states that tracking, evaluating, and developing an action plan for emerging technologies should be an integral component of the overall corporate strategy.

In order to achieve this, there are three questions that a CEO must find effective answers to. Do we have a sustainable innovation strategy and process? Have we quantified the impact of new technologies? If not, how can we do that – and how soon? Do we have an emerging-technologies road map? If so, are we keeping it up to date?

The company conceded that staying ahead of emerging technology is no easy feat, but there really is no choice but to try. Organizations must adapt. “By winnowing down the welter of possible technologies to a starting list of the Essential Eight.

[Source:-Brave new Coin]

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