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Smart machines are reinventing how work is done, but there is significant untapped potential in reimagining business processes from the ground up as self-improving procedures that can sense, comprehend, act and learn — all in real time.

This exponential leap will also unlock entirely new roles and new ways for humans and machines to work together. This third era of process change is already delivering profound results, across industries and for the economy as a whole.

We conducted research with more than 1,000 business process professionals to help develop insights for this report and for the new book, Human+Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI, published in March 2018 by Harvard Business Review Press.

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THE THREE
OVERLAPPING LENSES

The maximum value is unlocked at the intersection of 3 lenses. It is at the center where the true potential of human and machine alliances is realized. The research discovered that:

PROCESS CHANGE

PROCESS CHANGE

27%

use AI to create new
processes

DATA & DATA MODELS

DATA & DATA MODELS

34%

use AI to find hidden
value in dark data

WORKFORCE

WORKFORCE

39%

are rethinking the human and
machine relationship


MAXIMIZED IMPACT

= PROCESS REIMAGINED

 


9%

of organizations are taking a proactive
approach to AI and are doing all three
simultaneously—putting them in a
position to gain the most from AI.

31%

of reimagined processes
are getting 10X KPI improvements
as opposed to 15% for process
that do not apply all three elements.

 


HUMAN AND MACHINE ALLIANCES

While 90 percent of organizations believe that machine learning will personalize work to individual preferences, only 39 percent are truly embracing the full potential and forging alliances between people and machine to realize a significant change in enterprise process KPIs, job satisfaction and retention.

We have identified six such human-machine alliances that will reshape the ways people will work in the future.

TRAINERS

TRAINERS

Humans train AI for performance

EXPLAINERS

EXPLAINERS

Humans make AI explainable

SUSTAINERS

SUSTAINERS

Humans make AI sustainable

AMPLIFIERS

AMPLIFIERS

Machines augment with insight

INTERACTORS

INTERACTORS

Machines give user interface a personality

EMBODIERS

EMBODIERS

Machines provide physical aid


READ THE REPORT

THE THIRD ERA OF PROCESS CHANGE

We are on the vanguard of the third era of process change, in which business leaders have an opportunity to employ AI to make a systematic shift that affects every process, piece of data and worker.

FORD
ASSEMBLY
LINE

Reduced the time to build a car
from 12 hours to 2.5 hours.

timeline

1913

DESKTOP
COMPUTING

Revolutionizes business
processes by allowing increased
productivity and lower costs.

timeline

1990s

ERA OF
LIVING
PROCESSES

New human/AI alliances reshape
businesses from the ground up.

timeline

2017


READ THE REPORT

HUMAN +
MACHINE:
REIMAGINING
WORK IN THE
AGE OF AI

by Accenture’s Paul Daugherty and H. James Wilson - explores process reimagined and the missing middle in greater depth. Purchase this management guide for AI now on Amazon.

Human+machine: Reimagining work in the age of AI

ABOUT ACCENTURE RESEARCH

Accenture Research shapes trends and creates data-driven insights about the most pressing issues global organizations face. Combining the power of innovative research techniques with a deep understanding of our clients’ industries, our team of 250 researchers and analysts spans 23 countries and publishes hundreds of reports, articles and points of view every year. Our thought-provoking research—supported by proprietary data and partnerships with leading organizations such as MIT and Singularity—guides our innovations and allows us to transform theories and fresh ideas into real-world solutions for our clients.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Paul Daugherty

PAUL DAUGHERTY

Chief Technology and
Innovation Officer, Accenture

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About Paul Daugherty

Paul Daugherty is Accenture’s Chief Technology and Innovation Officer. Over his career, he has worked with thousands of business and government leaders around the globe, helping them apply technology to transform their organizations. He has also been instrumental in evolving Accenture’s business to respond to the exponential changes in technology.

Daugherty oversees Accenture’s technology strategy and innovation architecture, and he leads Accenture’s research and development, ventures, advanced technology, and ecosystem groups. He recently founded Accenture’s artificial intelligence business and has led Accenture’s research into artificial intelligence over many years.

Daugherty studied computer engineering at the University of Michigan in the early 1980s, and on a whim took a course with Douglas Hofstadter on cognitive science and psychology. He was hooked, and this led to a career-long pursuit of AI.

A frequent speaker and writer on industry and technology issues, Daugherty has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including the Financial Times, MIT Sloan Management Review, Forbes, Fast Company, USA Today, Fortune, Harvard Business Review, Cheddar financial news network, Bloomberg Television, and CNBC. He was recently named as one of Computerworld’s Premier 100 Technology Leaders for 2017 for his extraordinary technology leadership.

Daugherty is a passionate advocate for equal opportunity and access to technology and computer science. He serves on the board of directors of Girls Who Code and is a strong advocate and sponsor of Code.org. He was also recognized with an Institute for Women’s Leadership award, honoring business leaders who have supported diversity in the workplace and the advancement of women.

In addition, Daugherty serves as chairman of the board of Avanade, is on the board of trustees of the Computer History Museum and is on the advisory board for Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan.

Daugherty lives in Maplewood, New Jersey, with his wife, Beth. He has four children, Emma, Jesse, Johnny, and Lucy, who are all charting their own courses for the human + machine future.

 

H. James Wilson

H. JAMES WILSON

Managing Director, Information
Technology and Business Research, Accenture

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About James Wilson

H. James (Jim) Wilson leads Accenture’s Information Technology and Business Research. He has dedicated his career to research and innovation, having led programs at Babson Executive and Enterprise Education, Bain & Company, and several business think tanks. Wilson is a coauthor of The New Entrepreneurial Leader, which pioneered a new approach—entrepreneurial leadership—developed by him and a team of experts at Babson College.

A long-time contributor to Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, and The Wall Street Journal, Wilson has written extensively on how smart machines can enhance worker performance, including some of the first HBR articles on personal analytics, social IT, wearables, and natural user interfaces.

Wilson has worked with governments, policy makers, and university and business leaders in applying these technologies to empower and augment people—from NASA to the NFL Players Association. 

An avid triathlete, Wilson enjoys teaching friends and family his geeky techniques for boosting health and fitness using bike power meters, heart rate monitors, and GPS distance and pace trackers. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Susan, and two children, Ben and Brooke.

 

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