January 12, 2024

Businesses Anticipate Unprecedented Rate of Change in 2024, New Accenture ‘Pulse of Change Index’ Shows

Fueled by Generative AI Advances, Technology Leaps from No. 6 to No. 1 Cause of Business Disruption in One Year, According to Key Indicators
While Optimistic, C-Suite Leaders Question Their Readiness to Respond

DAVOS, Switzerland; Jan. 12, 2024 – Business leaders faced an all-time-high rate of change in 2023 and now expect it to accelerate further in 2024, according to Accenture’s (NYSE: ACN) Pulse of Change: 2024 Index, released today ahead of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.

The new annual Index ranks six factors of change affecting businesses—Technology, Talent, Economic, Geopolitical, Climate and Consumer & Social—using a range of key business indicators, such as labor productivity and IT spending. It then compares this data to a survey of 3,400 C-suite leaders on how they view the impact of each factor on their organizations, as well as their preparedness to respond.

The Index indicator analysis reveals that technology disruption increased the most in 2023, rising to No. 1 from No. 6 in 2022, catapulted by advances in generative AI. In the survey, C-suite executives also ranked technology as the No. 1 cause of change.

According to the indicator analysis, Talent was the No. 2 cause of business change (including issues such as skills shortages and lack of employee engagement); yet in the survey, C-suite leaders ranked Talent at No. 4. However, 42% of C-suite leaders say skills shortage is one of the top three challenges that would hold back their organizations’ ability to respond to change, underscoring the importance for businesses of making their talent strategy a priority—especially as they work to tap the potential of new technologies.

The Index indicator analysis found that overall, across all six factors, the rate of change has risen sharply since 2019—183% over the past four years and 33% in the past year alone.

“The level of change has dramatically increased over the last few years, and it requires a structural change in how businesses operate—incremental changes in ways of working and performance are no longer sufficient to compete,” said Jack Azagury, Group Chief Executive—Strategy & Consulting, Accenture. “The most significant source of change and disruption—technology—is also the key to this structural change. We believe that the companies that will succeed in the next decade are those that embrace a strategy of continuously reinventing every part of their business using technology, data and AI, including harnessing the power of generative AI, and ensuring their people are at the center of their transformations.”

The C-suite survey reveals that rapid pace of change holds continued potential for wide-ranging impact on leaders in the year ahead:

Technology disruption seen as opportunity, with caution about responsible use
Sixty-one percent of C-suite leaders expect the pace of technology disruption to accelerate even further in 2024, and 76% see generative AI as more of an opportunity than a threat and more beneficial to revenue growth than costs reduction.

However, nearly half (47%) say they are not fully prepared for the accelerating rate of technology change, and 72% are now approaching investments with more caution because of societal concerns about the responsible use of AI.

Research Methodology
Accenture’s Pulse of Change Index compares findings from two major inputs.

  1. An analysis of change affecting businesses globally, caused by six major factors:
  1. A global survey of more than 3,400 C-suite executives, conducted from October 2023 to November 2023, across 20 countries, 19 industries and a full range of corporate functions, to compare their perceptions of change with the analysis of business disruption.

You can explore the report, Pulse of Change: 2024 Index, in Accenture Foresight, our thought leadership app, which provides a personalized feed of our latest insights, data, case studies, blogs and more. Download the app http://www.accenture.com/foresight.

About Accenture
Accenture is a leading global professional services company that helps the world’s leading businesses, governments and other organizations build their digital core, optimize their operations, accelerate revenue growth and enhance citizen services—creating tangible value at speed and scale. We are a talent- and innovation-led company with approximately 743,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Technology is at the core of change today, and we are one of the world’s leaders in helping drive that change, with strong ecosystem relationships. We combine our strength in technology and leadership in cloud, data and AI with unmatched industry experience, functional expertise and global delivery capability. We are uniquely able to deliver tangible outcomes because of our broad range of services, solutions and assets across Strategy & Consulting, Technology, Operations, Industry X and Song. These capabilities, together with our culture of shared success and commitment to creating 360° value, enable us to help our clients reinvent and build trusted, lasting relationships. We measure our success by the 360° value we create for our clients, each other, our shareholders, partners and communities. Visit us at www.accenture.com.

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