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From Me to We: Partnerships & multiparty systems in the post-COVID-19 age

By Sara Barker, 07 Apr 2021

When organisations removed ‘normal’ from the business equation last year in the face of mass disruption, it stirred up new ways of working and interaction, of adaptability and resilience, and of digital transformation - and the world has never seen anything else quite like it.

Two truths quickly became apparent: The adage that every business is a technology business; and through technology, organisations can reshape industries and the human experience. But only if those organisations learn to master change.

That is the overarching message from Accenture’s Technology Trends 2021: Leaders Wanted report, which delves into five key trends that will shape the future.

  • Stack strategically: IT architecture becomes a crucial differentiator for businesses competing in their industries
  • Mirrored world: Digital twins, AI, and data generate new possibilities for business and intelligence
  • I, Technologist: Automation, natural language processing, low-code and other tools are democratising data and technology
  • Anywhere, everywhere: Businesses take advantage of the rise of remote and hybrid workplaces 
  • From Me to We: A new take on partnerships and multiparty systems in the post-COVID-19 landscape.

Of the five trends, one of these encapsulates the very meaning of business success in the modern environment. This trend is From Me to We.

Multiparty systems are defined as a way of sharing data infrastructure between people and organisations - think along the lines of blockchain, distributed databases and ledgers, and tokenisation. This act of sharing can drive efficiency, build new business and revenue models.

The efficacy of multiparty systems can be been in Singapore’s Digital Health Passport, a blockchain-based medical record system that allowed the government to track COVID-19 infection levels, provide verifiable test results, and hospital discharge papers people needed to return to work. All of this was built to maintain privacy.

The Digital Health Passport is far from being the only MPS initiative in the last year, but it is a defining example of how organisations have leveraged MPS to navigate disruption and uncertainty. They knew they couldn’t do it alone.

“When you’re better able to transact, share data, and shift between partners seamlessly and securely, you have an advantage in driving not just business, but industry-level change,” the report notes.

As part of the study, Australian respondents were asked what technologies organisations plan to use to enable ecosystem partnerships. The results are diverse: 27% point to 5G, as well as cybersecurity (24%), AI (23%), robotics (22%), and cloud (22%). Other responses included digital twins, edge computing, IoT, blockchain, and 4% even said neuromorphic computing.

Blockchain provides an interesting perspective on MPS - according to the survey, ecosystem partners will help to preserve data integrity, and will help to make data management more transparent.

One 2019 study by BIS Research found that blockchain adoption, as well as the related ecosystems of data exchanges and fraud protection, could save healthcare organisations up to US$150 billion.

But it’s not just healthcare that is set to benefit - 92% of respondents agree that blockchain provides an unparalleled resilience to supply chains and corresponding MPS.

When asked if MPS could become the centre of commerce, supply chain and all transactions between customers and partners, 91% of Australian respondents agree, 9% remain neutral and not one respondent disagrees.

There are several factors driving tech-enabled ecosystems for organisations - the top three factors include better technologies available to support ecosystems, a better understanding of how to make them successful, and the way in which technology fosters trust.

Furthermore, customer demand for traceability and accountability will drive the development of multiparty systems, as 92% of Australian respondents agree. 

So how can organisations leverage MPS for their business? The report provides two key pieces of advice:

“Designate a team to scan prominent MPS emerging in your industry, their current and long-term impacts, and the enterprise’s relative preparedness to engage them. Make understanding the technology, identifying technical partners and providers, and addressing skills gaps a priority.”

“MPS also is more than technology—it reshapes business practices and models. Determine if MPS is the right solution by evaluating the business case that will drive your participation. This could include areas where transactional data has yet to be digitised or complex networks that would benefit from a common and trusted platform.”

Read more in Accenture’s Technology Trends 2021: Leaders Wanted report here.

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