Digital has become pervasive throughout our lives; there’s no longer a ‘wow’ factor from speaking with a chatbot or completing a transaction with an app. Accenture’s Technology Vision 2019 calls this the Post-Digital Era – when digital is no longer a differentiating advantage, but something expected from every organisation. This new digital era has also created new digital threats. We’re currently witnessing industrial scale cyber-attacks, interference with elections and social media manipulation. In future, this could lead to threats to critical infrastructure and the digital components of warfare fighting capabilities. These cyber and operational concerns have slowed adoption of new digital solutions in Defence organisations.
Under the umbrella of the Post-Digital Era, the Technology Vision highlights five emerging trends that will affect Defence organisations over the next few years.
Distributed ledger, AI, extended reality and quantum computing (DARQ) promise to offer Defence organisations extraordinary new capabilities. Sixty four per cent of public service leaders believe that the combined impact of these technologies will be transformational or extensive for their organisation over the next three years. For example, extended reality use in training is already happening today and will increase dramatically in the coming years.
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Technology-driven interactions are creating expanding digital footprints for warfighters, giving Defence organisations an unprecedented opportunity to unlock that data and provide new, personalised services. Much like extended reality, we are likely to see a purposeful shift to digitally enabled individual experiences in the training environment, for example, synthetic training environments for soldiers.
Empowered by new technological capabilities integrated with their own skills, workers are becoming “human+”. They want and expect to use the latest technology, but organisations are struggling to keep up. Closing this gap will provide significant opportunities for Defence organisations, particularly in areas such as processing the data provided by UAVs to support decision making.
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Cybersecurity continues to be the biggest threat. You’re only as strong as your weakest link. As ecosystem partnerships become more common in the Defence space, particularly for weapon systems and coalitions, extra steps should be taken to manage the potential risks that being part of an ecosystem open up. Interconnectedness presents an interesting dichotomy for Defence and security organisations. While the panacea may appear to be IOT at a battlespace scale, does this open up more vulnerabilities than opportunities?
Citizens no longer want to choose between an on-demand service or a personalised one – they want both at the same time. Although currently more applicable to commercial companies, it’s only a matter of time before private sector expectations trickle down to the public sector. Defence organisations will find this demand for more personalised services will impact their recruitment process. In order to attract future talent, they will need to ensure they are ready to provide a customised experience for candidates.
Defence organisations are on the cusp of significant change. Civilians and soldiers alike expect most of what they do, and every organisation they deal with, to provide digital services and experiences on demand and personalised to their needs.
So how do Defence organisations defend in the Post-Digital society? What are the threats, what needs to be defended and how do you defend it?
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