Voices from Accenture Public Service


There’s a fundamental shift in the role that pension agencies play, moving from systems of record to systems of interaction. Our research shows that 75 percent of public pension plan employees want more help with their retirement options, including coaching and advice that run throughout their working life and beyond. 

Members see retirement as the next stage of their career or even their next career, and they want help planning for it. That means pension and retirement agencies need to start connecting with their members and participants in new ways. To do that, they’ll need to make greater use of innovative digital technologies as well as harnessing all the data they hold on members/participants and employers. But they also need to draw on other data sources, like social media, to develop and support a truly holistic view of each member’s financial life journey providing one-to-one support at every stage.  

Every year, Accenture publishes a report exploring key technology trends that will have the most impact on the way we live and work over the next few years. The 2018 Technology Vision looks at how new relationships between people and digital technologies are unleashing the intelligent enterprise – organizations that interact and collaborate with their customers, partners, and employees to create valuable new outcomes. Accenture’s Fjord team also issues an annual trend report highlighting future design, technology and business trends and their impact on how all organizations create and deliver products and services. It’s clear that both these reports hold enormous relevance for today’s pension and retirement industry.  

We’re launching this blog series to look at the implications of both this year’s Tech Vision and Fjord Trends for our industry. As a taste of what’s to come, let me outline each of the five trends and highlight where we see the greatest impact.  

The first trend, Citizen AI, is all about making sure that artificial intelligence is trained and deployed in a responsible way that builds trust. For pension agencies, that means ensuring transparency in how they use AI technologies, like chatbots, in interactions with members/participants and employers. In a resource-strapped environment, there’s a huge value for agencies in using these new technologies to provide consistent, reliable and accurate member support 24/7. But agencies will only realize that potential through using AI responsibly. 

Extended Reality, the second trend, is all about creating immersive user experiences through virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies. This creates opportunities for agencies to educate and captivate members/participants. For example, engaging new employees to enroll.  

Next is Data Veracity. As we move towards frictionless environments, data becomes the new oil for every organization. And as agencies gather, store and use increasing volumes of data from multiple sources, it’s going to be essential for them to develop the right filters to ensure the data they use is as clean and reliable as possible. That’s not all. Agencies will also need the right governance and processes to guarantee that, as trusted custodians, they’re using and sharing data ethically and transparently.  

Frictionless Enterprise is the fourth trend. This is all about interacting with partners and creating new ecosystems of trusted, seamless relationships. Technologies such as blockchain are reinventing what’s possible. Pension agencies and employers will be able to safely and securely share information on members that is tamper-proof, fully auditable and trackable. This will help eliminate errors and enable frictionless data flows from one organization to another.  

Finally, the Internet of Thinking describes how digital devices are bringing intelligence into the physical world. With information flowing through multiple new channels – from Amazon and Alexa to Fitbits and smart watches – agencies will have access to a wealth of data sources they can use to understand members’ lives and aspirations and create truly personalized services and support.  

That’s a quick read on the Tech Vision trends for pension and retirement agencies. The Fjord report draws on many of the same developments, tracking the evolving relationship between the physical and digital worlds. The report addresses AI, computer vision, digital branding and much more. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be diving deeper into both reports. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your views on how you see these new influences playing out for your organization. Please share your thoughts and comments below.  

To learn more, visit www.accenture.com/pension and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter. 

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