Just under a third (32%) of CFOs surveyed believe the newer virtual technologies of the metaverse will amount to a breakthrough or transformational change in their own organizations even as 70% of them believe it will have a positive impact, according to an Accenture survey of 325 financial leaders.
Looking more broadly ahead the executives signaled they have high expectations that the next iteration of the internet and developments in 3-D technologies will play a key role in businesses, with 91% agreeing that leading organizations will push to make the virtual world more real and 92% agreeing that the realization of Web3 over the next decade will fundamentally change how businesses engage with users online.
“While the mainstream focus has centered on consumer applications, the metaverse will have a far-reaching impact across every business and every part of every business,” Yusuf Tayob, group chief executive of Accenture Operations, wrote in an email, adding that a growing number of companies across industries such as Nike, Chevron, and CVS Health Care are filing metaverse-related trademark applications.
The metaverse, described as the next stage of the internet or a network of virtual 3-D worlds in which people will play and work, is drawing mixed responses from the corporate world even as it gains momentum.
Mark Zuckerberg has thrown his considerable weight behind it, with Facebook being renamed as Meta, though last month the company reported the division which makes virtual-reality goggles and other metaverse products dragged down profits. By contrast, Elon Musk has said he did not see the idea of people strapping a screen to their face as compelling.
It’s perhaps not surprising that some financial leaders are treading cautiously when it comes to the metaverse. Many financial executives are just coming off having made major investments in digital transformation during the pandemic as their companies transitioned to cloud computing, which supported remote work and enabled corporations to adapt to a surge in online demand.
But many large companies both inside and outside of Silicon Valley are making moves into the metaverse space already, according to Yusuf Tayob of Accenture. For example, food giant Mars Inc. has sought to reduce packaging waste in its plants by creating virtual replicas of its product life cycle, CVS Health is looking to establish an online store with virtual goods and Nike has posted metaverse job openings for such positions as virtual material designers.
For executives who want to prepare their businesses for the new metaverse technologies, cloud computing will be essential, according to a recent report from Accenture, Accenture Technology Vision 2022. Companies will need to rebuild applications with microservices architectures and APIs that are easily usable by others and should start identifying talent such as 3D artists and game designers to help them create new platforms and “because of the distributed nature of Web3, they must also find partners to go to market with,” according to the report.
As a first step, Tayob wrote that companies should start with a specific tangible issue they would like to address with the new technologies. “Think of the real-world problem you are trying to solve, what technologies you’ll need and how your organization will adapt and scale to fully capitalize on the potential,” he wrote. “It is really about building a roadmap that gets you into the future of how your enterprise will work.”