We find ourselves in very challenging times, making it more difficult for leaders to know what decisions to make on their innovation journeys. In the wake of scarce resources, operational disruptions, and with increasing sustainability commitments, we must be smart when selecting, implementing, and delivering technology. So, how can we carefully balance innovation with delivering a positive societal impact?
Well, if a global pandemic and a looming economic crisis can teach us anything, it’s that we must continue to react rapidly and with agility. Yet when it comes to tech, the narrative has switched from the concept of ‘Can we build it?’ to ‘Should we build it?’
We already know that emissions generated by the IT industry are responsible for 4 percent of CO2 emissions globally, which is one and a half times more than those generated by the aviation industry. What’s more, this level of emissions is projected to grow by up to 14 percent in the coming years (Assessing ICT global emissions footprint: Trends to 2040 & recommendations).
Those are some sobering numbers, yet it would be foolish to presume we should simply be operating with less technology to address the issue.
Capgemini’s annual report, Technovision, explores how to make the right technology choices today to help businesses thrive and survive external factors that can shake any enterprise. It pulls into question how to create the fine balance between technology, human and natural resources, which are becoming increasingly limited, and achieve all this while creating a positive societal impact – both environmentally and ethically. GDS Group explored this concept in more detail during a showcase with Capgemini and thought leaders from Forrester and innovative car brand, Lynk & Co.
Making the right tech choice
One key area was becoming more mindful of technology choices. James McQuivey, VP Principal Analyst at Forrester, recommended taking a portfolio approach. “You can’t decide based on what your peers are doing or the headlines: you need to do this based on what’s working for your customer,” he elaborates. “That isn’t always easy to determine. You need to try and test technologies quickly, experiment over a month and see what delivers. If it doesn’t work, it’s time to move onto the next attempt – and thankfully this doesn’t take a year like it used to in the past. Just cutting investment in technology is to do it wrong – we must learn how to be quick to reduce the amount of resources we’re using.”
Lynk & Co can be considered one such organisation who have tested, learnt, and iterated rapidly on their quest to change the shape of the car industry. Their mobility membership means customers can have access to as much car as they need and lease it out when it would otherwise be parked on a driveway. Their Chief Technology Officer, David Green, says: “We have set out to make a seamless digital customer journey from exploration on the web to owning using and sharing a vehicle. The key then is not to focus on sourcing the best individual components but instead, focus on creating a technology landscape that fits together in the most efficient way.” So, how do we put that into practice? Capgemini suggests IT leaders ‘drink their own champagne’ or, in other words, ask themselves how they can be more creative with the resources they already have. This might involve upcycling technology to create a system that offers more value but sits on the same foundations, or consider energy consumption as a core competency when selecting a new technology.
Navigating reducing resources
Human skills, natural resources and time are all scarce, but in high demand across the enterprise, adding a sense of urgency to our innovation journeys. We discussed what technologies can best support us through challenging times. The general conclusion was, moving anything physical to virtual, or spending less time on something, means you can be consuming less.
- Intelligent automation can help us do more with less, for example reduce the time knowledge workers spend on manual tasks or even improve customer experience
- Real-time algorithms enable us to make split second decisions
- Generative AI can supercharge teams experiencing a talent shortage
- Industry specific clouds allow organisations to reduce the weight of their traditional IT landscapes and fast track their journey to cloud.
Top trends of 2023
The vast expanse of technology available is overwhelming. In a bid to pinpoint what deserves our focus for the rest of the year, we turned our attention to the trends likely to stand the test of time.
We must understand how to work together, to meet customers’ and each other’s needs while taking risks. That means working across technical and cultural siloes and collaborating with third parties and customers to the best of our abilities.
The idea of ‘Data for net zero,’ in other words, how data can help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions, has a key role in the sustainability journey. After all, if you can’t measure your sustainability impact, you can’t improve on it. And while you’re gathering sustainability data, you’re simultaneously getting better data management and understanding how to share data in a better way.
Green software engineering
This is an approach to innovation that can minimize the environmental impact of both existing and new applications. By engineering them to use less energy and resources, applications services can contribute towards your sustainability goals.
The concept of advanced AI chatbot, Chat GPT, has taken the world by storm. When done right, and ethically, it can help augment some of the heavy lifting by creating foundations such as text, testing and development. Coupled with human decisioning, is has the capacity to make something truly special.
Want to find out more about Capgemini’s Technovision 2023? You can watch the full show here.