Accenture is betting a lot on the emergence of the “metaverse”, a concept that is still unclear but that the consulting giant situates in the continuity of the digital transformation as companies and the economy in general have been experiencing it for decades. It is therefore unsurprising that it is at the heart of its annual report “Tech Vision”, which combines the expertise of Accenture Research and Accenture Labs and is based, among other things, on a survey of 4,600 executives and 25,000 consumers in 35 countries and 25 industries.
In short, Accenture perceives the advent of the metaverse as a major upheaval to come, along the same lines as the emergence of the Internet in the 90s. And if it is still very early and its impact will not necessarily be felt for years, the technological bricks that will form the basis are already there. These are technologies that are already familiar to us, such as digital twins, virtual and augmented reality, blockchain, 5G or the Internet of Things.
A new entity focused on the “metaverse continuum”…
Accenture brings them together in a single “metaverse continuum”, which he believes will eventually profoundly transform the way companies operate. As proof that he takes the subject seriously, a new dedicated entity has been created, called Accenture Metaverse Continuum Business Group. “We want to have dedicated capabilities for the metaverse, with specialists who focus solely on it,” Christophe Jeantet, Executive Director of Accenture Technology France, tells L’Usine Digitale. The structure is currently being created at a global level, but will eventually be replicated at a European and national level.
This “Metaverse Continuum” division is modeled on Accenture’s dozen entities dedicated to specific platforms (AWS, Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, ServiceNow…), but is unique due to the transverse nature of the metaver and therefore the specialties it implies. “It started with our strategy consultants, but it also involves Accenture Interactive, Accenture Technology and Accenture Operations,” continues Christophe Jeantet. We are lucky to already have the skills for the technologies that form the basis of the metaverse, from real-time 3D to blockchain and cybersecurity.”
The consulting company will also engage in targeted acquisitions in order to accelerate on technologies or platforms that it may lack. “We completed the acquisition of the German company Umlaut, a specialist in digital twins, on March 1st,” Christophe Jeantet gives as an example. Others will follow, always with a focus on talent. In October 2021, Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture, revealed that her company had hired more than 125,000 people in 12 months, and that to better accommodate them, she had equipped herself with 60,000 Meta Quest 2 virtual reality headsets and to access a virtual collaborative space called the “Nth floor”.
…In response to customers’ request
A practical implementation that makes it possible to better answer the questions of the partners. “We have had a lot of requests from our customers, who are legitimately curious about this new paradigm, emphasizes Christophe Jeantet. Obviously, we are only at the beginning, we do not have an answer to everything. But we do a lot of proof-of-concept and demonstrations so that they can have concrete examples of the potential of these technologies.”This can be, for example, the fact of immersively projecting oneself into the digital twin of an industrial production line.
Accenture also mentions the experiments of Nike or Gucci in the sale of virtual goods and highlights the emergence of a category of companies, called “leapfroggers”, which have quickly adopted new technologies to adapt to the pandemic and which consequently report performance four to five times higher than their competitors in 2021. This is the message that emerges from this study: as was the case for e-commerce, the next phase of digital transformation will erode some competitive advantages and open windows of opportunity for companies agile enough to take the lead over their rivals.