July 26, 2016

Chief Strategy Officers Say Digital Disruption is Inevitable, But Few Are Prepared, Finds Accenture Report

A winning business strategy will be built on cross-industry platforms, deeper alliances, and more collaborative operating models

NEW YORK; Jul 26, 2016 – Nearly all of the Chief Strategy Officers (CSOs) surveyed by Accenture (NYSE: ACN) around the world acknowledge that digital disruption will reshape their industries, but very few are equipped to navigate the change. Those who feel most prepared are embracing new strategic alliances, devising more collaborative ways of operating with partners, and making themselves indispensable within a broader ecosystem.

For the report ‘Thriving on Disruption’, the Accenture Institute for High Performance surveyed 561 CSOs across 10 industries in 11 countries, and found that while 93 percent agree that new technologies will rapidly change their industry in the next five years, only 20 percent are well prepared for sudden industry disruption.

“Rapid and disruptive change is coming, regardless of the industry that you operate in,” said Paul Nunes, managing director, Accenture Institute for High Performance. “Current economic outlook suggests that based on the declining lifespan of companies, 75 percent of today’s leading industry players will be gone within the next decade. Our research shows that although some companies aren’t ready for this disruption, they can borrow from the playbook of those who are by ensuring they don’t face it alone and make strategic investments in technology platforms that support more collaborative operating models.”

Don’t face #disruption alone – collaborate to innovate! See what leading CSOs do differently, #platformeconomy

Companies that are better prepared for industry disruption are much more engaged in growing and broadening their ecosystem partnerships. Almost all of the best-prepared CSOs (95 percent) say that their company growth agendas over the next five years rely on collaborative partnerships and that they actively use this strategy to support innovation and research and development, as compared to only half of those who admit they are less prepared.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that the companies that are disruption-ready are also 34 percent more likely than those less prepared to partner with advertising agencies, innovation companies (26 percent more likely), design service providers (24 percent more likely) and even customers (26 percent more likely). They are also 36 percent more likely to collaborate with companies beyond their traditional industry boundaries, and 32 percent more likely to align with companies they consider direct competitors. This collaboration gap has only increased in the past five years.

“As digital disruption breaks down the walls of established industries, it’s time for companies to rethink their approach to business strategy,” said Peter Lacy, managing director, Accenture Strategy. “In order to successfully navigate industry convergence and strengthen their network of alliances to build truly collaborative operating models, they must shift their mindset to compete as a ‘cluster’, not as a single company, creating shared value for their alliance partners and customers.”

A significant majority (88 percent) of CSOs who claim to be very well prepared for industry disruption have already begun investing heavily in platform-based business models and will continue to do so into the future. This compares to only 42 percent of those who admit they are less prepared.

Among the group of CSOs who are actively investing in these platforms, those that achieve the greatest benefits are far more likely than their peers to build operating models that are collaborative and open. They embed collaboration into their culture through incentives, and revise their internal processes and technologies to make external collaboration ever more seamless.

“Platform companies are successful because they capitalize on the innovation of an entire ecosystem versus only leveraging resources within a company,” Peter Lacy continued. “Business that are well prepared for disruption are building their growth strategy on platforms and, as a result, are more likely to survive the disruption and gain competitive advantage.”

The Accenture Institute for High Performance surveyed 561 CSOs, or their direct reports, at companies with revenues greater than $1 billion spanning 10 industries, including automotive, banking, chemicals, consumer goods and services, insurance, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, retail, telecommunications and utilities. The online and phone survey was conducted between December 2015 and February 2016 and included 11 countries – Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

About Accenture
Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network – Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With more than 375,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at www.accenture.com.

Accenture Strategy operates at the intersection of business and technology. We bring together our capabilities in business, technology, operations and function strategy to help our clients envision and execute industry-specific strategies that support enterprise wide transformation. Our focus on issues related to digital disruption, competitiveness, global operating models, talent and leadership help drive both efficiencies and growth. For more information, visit www.accenture.com/strategy.

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Justyna Gnyp
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