• Mark Meuldijk, Partner |

The impact of emerging technologies on businesses in Switzerland is huge, and the pace of change shows no sign of slowing. From Intelligent Automation to Artificial Intelligence, from IoT to blockchain to the Cloud, fundamental changes are taking place. But how to distinguish real potential from hype?

Where would we be without technology? This fusion of science and creativity is the backbone of innovation, and the only limit is our imagination. I am captivated by the pace at which new developments arise, hooked on discovering the almost unlimited possibilities that are opening up to us as a society and as businesses. 

While I cannot get enough of these developments, I often find myself wondering which technologies will really make a difference, how they will add value, and what is needed to scale them up for impact. My clients ask the same questions, especially what these technologies mean for them in practical terms, and whether they should act now or wait to see how things develop.

That’s why we decided to produce Clarity on Emerging Technologies: Shaping the future to explore the implications for businesses in Switzerland of five areas in particular: Intelligent automation, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, blockchain, and the Cloud.

What does the potential look like?

Switzerland has the opportunity to be a leader in some emerging technologies. It has invested heavily in technical education, an innovation culture and interesting start-ups. We see the results in places like ETH and Crypto Valley Zug. These investments have attracted technology companies such as Facebook, Microsoft and Google to Switzerland, and will continue to do so. 

Switzerland also has established, world leading industries and multi-national businesses, such as in financial services and pharmaceuticals. These companies have the strategies and budgets to generate powerful innovation, which in turn attracts technology talent and creates a positive spiral.

Where should you focus your attention?

Most of our clients are eager to understand which technologies are going to make it and which are just hype. In general, they understand the strategic importance of technological change and are on the look-out for innovations that can boost or protect their business. 

Technology is typically high up on the strategic agenda at our larger clients, who have innovation teams in place and are continuously trying out or implementing new technologies. Even for them, however, we see that clearer business cases and more careful consideration of investment spend are needed to ensure a sharper focus on strategic priority and value.

Are Swiss businesses ahead of the international curve or behind it?

Multiple Swiss industries and businesses are ahead of the technology curve. Financial services and pharmaceuticals are just two sectors that are investing heavily. The start-up climate is also excellent. Not all business are on par with their industry peers, of course: all businesses, irrespective of industry or size, should be focus on benchmarking and exploring the potential and risks of emerging technologies.

What if you don’t know where to start?

In order to stay competitive and ensure a profitable business, managers should keep up to date with the world of technology. If you are not technology savvy, I recommend investing in your innovation culture and securing the support of a trusted technology advisor who understands your business and can bridge the gap with the technology landscape.

Where can you find support?

Research companies such as Forrester and Gartner recognize KPMG as a top technology consultant globally. Bridging the business and technology gap is the basis of our added value. In practice, this means helping you turn your investments in technology and data into value, de-risking your technology projects, and guiding you through successful implementations. In short, so that you are best positioned to drive most value from the continuous stream of emerging technologies that is coming over the horizon.

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