Intelligent operations a catalyst for competitive advantage

06 April 2021 4 min. read

A collective effort to become “future-ready” from a digital viewpoint could unlock more than $5 trillion in economic potential, according to a new Accenture study in collaboration with Oxford Economics.

Over 1,000 executives across 13 industries and 11 countries were surveyed – more than 300 of whom were spread across European markets: France, Germany, Spain and the UK. The study aims to evaluate business maturity, and measure its impact on performance. 

In focus is the concept of ‘future-ready’ – a state of full organisational maturity where continual innovation drives better delivery, customer acquisition and new revenue streams,while transformation of people, processes and technology speeds up the entire process. Per the survey, only 7% of businesses today are future-ready. 

Evolving business maturity levels

This is not to negate digital progress: if anything, the last year has turbocharged digital transformation agendas. The problem is that market conditions are changing even faster – as explained by Manish Sharma, group chief executive of Accenture Operations. 

“Many organisations are making slow, steady and incremental changes in their business operations – or more specifically, their core systems, processes or service management capabilities. But they’re often failing to change how the work gets done. And they’re not acting, or scaling, fast enough.” 

Future readiness is minimal across sectors – insurance, banking, high-tech, automotive included – averaging at 7% and not exceeding 10% of businesses in any industry. The good news is that most businesses are just a cut below – using analytics to predict outcomes and inform business decisions, and constantly finding new ways to generate valuable data from their operations. 

Performance benefits of operational maturity

This category of business is labeled “predictive” by Accenture, and is now home to nearly 60% of all businesses – a dramatic step up from 19% three years ago. Only a handful of organisations now use technology in its previous avatar, as an enabler of stability and a driver of business efficiency. In short, significant progress has been clocked in three years.

And remarkably more will unfold in the next three years, per the survey. Consider the benefits being felt by the 7% of businesses that are future-ready, which include faster product and service innovation; more business value from data; better customer experience; higher operational efficiency; more employee engagement and consequently a better mix of skills.

The outcome is that future-ready businesses are able to reduce their time to market, and gain market share. At risk of being edged out, other businesses are rethinking their own approach. Per the survey, more than a third of all businesses worldwide will be future-ready in the next three years, while the remainder will effectively move into the predictive bracket. 

Future-readiness by industry

Some sectors will get there faster than others. Already facing myriad tech disruption, the automotive industry is already in overhaul mode – ready to boost maturity across their business. In the next three years, 40% of automotive companies will be future ready according to the report. 

Insurance, banking and communications are in a similar state of flux, and a third of businesses in these industries will also make a step up in the near future. With other sectors – including consumer goods, high-tech, life sciences, oil & gas and others – also making progress, the post pandemic market is poised for cut-throat competitiveness.

And there’s more than just business survival at stake – business maturity is a tremendous opportunity for the global economy. Growth and strategy lead at Accenture Operations Kaushal Mody explained: “Our modeling analyses indicate that if all organisations around the world moved from the stable, efficient or predictive levels to become future-ready, this would equate to $5.4 trillion in added global profitability.”