Not only does the use of AI in automated processes have the potential to improve things like customer experience, it also presents the opportunity to replace real people with technology.
While Griffiths does not shy away from the likelihood that such technology will lead to the loss of certain roles, he stresses that it won’t necessarily lead to additional unemployment.
“In the next three years, this technology is likely to impact around 20 per cent of the jobs in the market, but I would expect that 20 per cent to be reinvested in new jobs and new opportunities,” he said.
“Digital creates that new opportunity, and it creates so much more agility for businesses to get into new services and new products, so it’s not that it won’t be reinvested, they just will be different jobs.
“A accounting and auditing – very clearly, they are process driven, driven by rules – and those rules evolve and learn over time. They are perfectly suited to artificial intelligence.
“The jobs that are clearly going to continue in Australia, will be artists, creative roles, and roles that involve meeting with people."
Accenture’s adventures in AI are just a small part of the company’s broader technology push, which has seen it acquire a number of smaller technology players to build out its offering, and enter a raft of technical partnerships with other organisations to extend its breadth of expertise and bolster its capabilities.
In addition to IP Soft, Accenture claims around 10 other core partners that it works with in the automation space, including Automation Anywhere and Blue Prism.
Even its relationships with more traditional partners like SAP and Oracle have helped the company push into the AI and automation space.
Meanwhile, the company has not been shy about forking out to buy technology companies it likes the look of.
In 2013, Accenture completed its acquisition of service design consultancy, Fjord while locally, the company bought digital agency, Reactive.
It also bought cloud advisory and technology services firm, Cloud Sherpas, in 2015 and, more recently, acquired Australian consulting company, Redcore, which plays in the security space.
“We’re continuing to evolve our business and spending, globally, a significant amount of money in ventures – which is what we call acquisitions, and sometimes in strategic partnerships,” Griffiths added.
“We’re investing in the bits that are unique to the industry or the client challenge that we focus on. Some of these partners that we leverage, they’ve got the capabilities that cover multi-industries, and therefore that allows us to invest specifically on a problem."
It is no secret that Accenture is continuing to evolve its business. It is pushing “very hard” into innovation, according to Griffiths, who views the company as no longer a traditional player, but rather a facilitator of overall strategy execution, which might involve consulting, technology, operations, and digital -- or all of the above.
The evolution of the “new Accenture”, however, does take some customer education, according to Griffiths.
“Often, we take the time to educate our clients, because often our clients think of us as being only a consulting company, or just as a technology company," he said.
"Sometimes, now, people think of us as a digital company. We are a bit of a fabric of a whole bunch of different companies that have come together to support our clients."
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