A vast new research survey on Future Systems from Accenture (NYSE: ACN) sheds important light on the enormous impact that technology investment and adoption have on a company’s financial performance and most notably, the mindsets and behaviors of companies that are industry leaders. The new research, titled: “Full Value. Full Stop. How to scale innovation and achieve full value with Future Systems,” provides insights on how to scale innovation and achieve full value of technology investments, builds on Accenture’s initial Future Systems report launched last year, and is based on a survey of more than 8,300 organizations across 20 industries and 22 countries. It is designed to help companies understand and close the innovation achievement gap – defined as the difference between potential and realized value from technology investments.
The Future Systems research is Accenture’s largest enterprise IT survey ever conducted and includes measures of both mature and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and extended reality. It scored companies on three important dimensions: technology adoption, depth of technology adoption, and organizational and cultural readiness. By assigning a score for each of these key factors, the study determined which companies were ‘Leaders’ (top 10 percent) and which were ‘Laggards’ (bottom 25 percent). Tracking performance indicators between 2015 and 2023 (projected), the study identifies the relationship between technology adoption and value achieved, finding that Leaders grow revenue at more than twice the rate of Laggards. Moreover, in 2018 alone, Laggards surrendered 15 percent in foregone annual revenue, and stand to potentially miss out on an astonishing 46 percent in revenue gains by 2023 if they do not change their enterprise technology approach.
“Today’s C-suite is investing staggering amounts of money in new technology, but not every company is realizing the benefits of innovation as a result of those investments,” said Bhaskar Ghosh, group chief executive, Accenture Technology Services. “Competing in today’s data-driven, post-digital economy means organizations need to have a carefully calibrated strategy toward technology adoption and a clear vision for what their companies’ future systems should look like. Our newest research reveals that the world’s leading companies are investing in boundaryless, adaptable and radically human systems to maximize innovation, business performance and value.”
Fundamentally, Leaders believe that humans and machines can bring out the best in each other while companies and their ecosystems can form mutual alliances. It’s one reason they’re motivated to build future systems that are boundaryless, adaptable and radically human, which the study defines as follows:
- Boundaryless: Boundaryless systems take advantage of blurring boundaries—within the IT stack, between companies, and between humans and machines—to create new spaces where ideas and partnerships flourish.
- Adaptable: Adaptable systems learn, improve and adapt by themselves, eliminating the friction that hinders business growth and empowering humans to make better decisions, exponentially faster.
- Radically Human: Radically human systems talk, listen, see and understand just like we do, bringing elegant simplicity to every human-machine interaction and creating tomorrow’s advantage.
“To maximize the return on their technology investments, leading organizations are improving their technology quotient, going beyond building pockets of excellence, to implementing a strategy for achieving enterprise-wide transformation,” added Ghosh.
The Future Systems research found that Leaders exhibit a distinct mindset and approach to enterprise-wide technology adoption and organizational transformation – often in stark contrast to Laggards. Specifically, Leaders are:
- Adopting fast, flexible technologies: Leaders are adopting powerful technologies such as AI at a rate of 98 percent compared to just 42 percent of Laggards. Leaders are also using solutions that enable decoupled data, infrastructure and applications. In fact, Leader adoption of technologies such as DevSecOps, microservices and containers outpaces that of Laggards by a vast margin: 97 percent to 30 percent.
- Embracing cloud computing: Leaders are far ahead when it comes to adopting cloud technologies as way to effectively leverage other technologies, including AI and analytics. An overwhelming 95 percent of Leaders see the cloud as a catalyst to innovation, compared to just 30 percent of Laggards.
- Treating data as a corporate asset: A full 90 percent of Leaders take steps to ensure data quality rather than relying on data that is potentially unverified or biased. This means that 94 percent of Leaders trust that their data is reliable enough to drive business change, compared with just 64 percent of Laggards.
- Managing technology investments across the enterprise: Leaders are achieving better business alignment by effectively breaking down barriers between IT and other departments.
- Upskilling their talent: Leaders are using experiential learning at nearly three times the rate of Laggards: 73 percent versus 24 percent. AI and advanced analytics in areas such as personalized learning, predicting worker skills needs, and matching worker skill requirements with training modules are being used by 87 percent of Leaders, but just 35 percent of Laggards.