Voices from Accenture Public Service


The rate of technology change, and the impact it’s having on every organization in both the public and private sector, is very much at the forefront of this year’s Technology Vision. In my first blog I discussed the overall theme of the post-digital era and I’m looking forward to delving into one of the most topical themes of the report, “DARQ Power”. It really brings home just how rapid and disruptive new technologies are. DARQ encompasses the next wave of technology evolution:

  • Distributed ledger
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Extended reality
  • Quantum computing

Rather than seeing each of these as separate and self-contained developments, their game-changing power lies in the impact they can have in combination. Sixty-four percent of public service leaders we surveyed for the Technology Vision see the combination of these technologies having either transformational or extensive impact across their organization within the next three years.

Despite awareness of the change DARQ will bring, many public service CIOs still feel that they are on an evolutionary journey with social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC); the technologies that are currently changing the way we work and live. While CIOs are conscious of new technologies coming down the line, many are understandably wary of implementing them too quickly and without good cause. But just as was the case with SMAC, the speed with which technologies will move from outlier to mainstream can take organizations by surprise, leaving them to play catch up. By investigating and experimenting now, public service organizations can get ahead of the curve.

There are already plenty of instances where public service organizations are doing just that. Extended reality is being used to provide training for case workers dealing with challenging child welfare cases. Accenture’s Virtual Experience Solution (AVEnueS), replicates environments caseworkers are likely to experience in the field, making them more alert and aware of the many signals and safety indicators they might see or hear.

We’re also seeing distributed ledger technology being used to track and trace the cross-border transit of goods, providing reassurance of provenance and trade security between multiple different actors and agencies. AI is helping to create new, more personalized and efficient ways for citizens to interact with the services they use. We recently worked with The Office of the Revenue Commissioners in Ireland to develop a first-of-a-kind, AI powered voicebot that gives citizens the chance to phone their tax agency outside of standard 9-5 call center hours. While the day-to-day impact of quantum computing is still a way off, public service organizations should start trying to understand the impact that such techniques could have on their organizations, for example in the fields of encryption and security.

The exact rate at which these new technologies will disrupt the public service space is difficult to measure, but there’s no doubt that we are already seeing their effect. And it’s not just about the opportunities they bring, but also ensuring public service organizations are equipped to operate securely in a world where DARQ technologies won’t always be used for good.

Are you already piloting DARQ technologies? What have been your challenges and how have you prepared your organization for these innovative changes?

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