A wide scope of rules have yet to be defined for the new ecosystem-driven, digital economy of today, and it’s up to businesses to help shape them.

For the Technology Vision 2017 survey, Accenture queried more than 5,400 business and IT executives across 31 countries in an effort to pinpoint the emerging IT developments that we expect to have the greatest impact on companies, government agencies, and organizations over the next few years. In this series, I will share our insights and predictions with regard to the many areas of the future digital economy that remain to be defined. We call these areas The Uncharted.

Shaping emerging digital industries

Whether it’s technology standards, ethical norms, or government mandates—a lot of rules and regulations have yet to be defined in today’s digital economy. Because of this, companies now have the opportunity to take the lead when helping to shape the new rules of the game.

78% of surveyed executives agree that their organization feels it has a duty to be proactive in writing the rules for emerging industries.1

Participating in the prevailing markets is not enough. Instead, companies should work to shape the digital markets of tomorrow to grow and remain relevant.

It is important to note that the industries emerging today are not just “version 2.0” of industries that existed before. The change is much more dramatic in that these new digital ecosystems are transcending disparate markets to create entirely new industries.

Leading on multiple fronts

Existing operating rules were likely written prior to the dawn of the digital era, and long before any new digital industries or technologies were created. As a result, they’re consistently incomplete, often irrelevant, and can act as a limitation to progress when applied to new hybrid ecosystems.

For instance, in our Technology Vision 2017 survey, the majority of surveyed banking executives agreed that they need to help write the new rules of engagement or risk being regulated out. Specifically:2

  • 66 percent of global and 82 percent of US banking executives said that industry regulations have not kept pace with technology advancement.
  • 61 percent of global and 73 percent of US banking executives said that the industry regulatory environment is outdated.
  • 75 percent of banking executives overall agree that they have to be proactive in writing the rules.

In some cases, no guidance exists that is relevant to the challenges of a new industry’s products, services, or value chains, as is often the case with ethical guidelines. And in digital industries, competitors are joined by “partners” from completely different areas of business, meaning the rules for a new industry should be written to both consider and apply to every alliance.

But regardless of the circumstances that lead to the formation of a new industry, the relationships within it are likely to define the contours of what’s to come.

To set the guideposts for a new digital industry, companies should collaborate with:

  • Ecosystem stakeholders who do not share the same industrial heritage.
  • Industry organizations.
  • Consumer protection organizations.
  • Open source communities.

In addition, companies should outline the new industry’s ethics and preferred practices, and in some cases, heavily influence the social contract.

New ecosystem for digital industry pioneers
Source: Technology Vision 2017: Technology for People – The Era of the Intelligent Enterprise. Accenture, 2017.

In my next post, I will discuss how businesses can help define public policy and opinion in the digital era.

Until then, take a look at our The Uncharted page, or discover our latest Technology Vision 2018 page to learn more.



  1. “Technology Vision 2017: Technology for People – The Era of the Intelligent Enterprise,” Accenture, 2017. Access at: https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-disruptive-technology-trends-2017.
  2. “Technology by People, for People.” 2017 Technology Vision Trends Pre-Read. Accenture, 2017.

Kelley Conway

Managing Director, Accenture Financial Services Technology Advisory, North America lead

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