Companies approach technology investment in 1 of 3 ways, says Accenture CEO

When it comes to making the decision to invest in and adopt new technologies, Accenture CEO Julie Sweet said there are three types of companies.

“There are the leaders, the leap froggers, and everyone else,” Sweet said at Fortune Brainstorm A.I. in Boston on Tuesday morning.

While Sweet said transformation doesn’t happen fast, some companies decided to play catch-up during the pandemic by investing in new digital technologies and A.I. 

“Cloud is the enabler. Data is the driver, but A.I. is the differentiator. That’s how you win,” she said.

However, there’s still a disconnect between A.I. and how to scale. According to Accenture’s research, 84% of executives believe they must leverage A.I., however 76% said they struggle with the question of how to scale the technology across their organizations.

During the pandemic, Sweet said Accenture was able to leverage A.I. to help meet customer needs. The consulting firm keeps a database of client-facing employees and their skills. A.I. was used to identify people who could be retrained to help meet the increased demand around cloud and collaboration tools as clients shifted to remote work. 

Sweet said she has also noticed a change in how CEOs are starting to talk about A.I. and I.T. investments.

“CEOs go pretty deep. Pre-pandemic they were not going deep to understand the tech itself. but in the last three months, there has been a significant shift in the tone of the conversation,” she said.

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