Leading enterprises that accelerated their technology investments during the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly extended their growth advantage over competitors, according to a new study from Accenture.
The research titled “Make the Leap, Take the Lead,” that surveyed some 4,300 business and IT professionals across 25 countries, including India, and 20 industries, revealed that technology undeniably became indispensable to business success and directly enabled companies to survive and thrive during one of the most disruptive times in history.
According to Annette Rippert, group chief executive, Strategy & Consulting, Accenture, leaders are identified as those who focus not only on the implementation of new technology, but the critical steps needed to ensure successful scaling across the enterprise, including new agile ways of working, making important changes to reinforce an innovation-led culture and upskilling their workforce.
By stepping up investments in cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies, these companies are now growing revenue at five times the rate of ‘laggards,’ exceptionally higher than the doubled growth rate Leaders reported just a few years ago, as per the report.
Over 70% of Leaders increased investments in cloud security and 68% in hybrid cloud. Leaders also dug deeper into Internet of Things technology (70%) and AI and machine learning (59%). Building a foundational cloud platform delivers the costs savings to help flip IT budgets from maintenance to innovation. Both provide a sound basis for aligning technology strategies with business goals that drive 360-degree value for multiple stakeholders across the enterprise.
“Our research scored companies on their ‘Systems Strength’ that is a measure of technology adoption, application of technologies at scale, and organisational and cultural readiness for tech-enabled innovation. Strong Systems Strength pivots IT budgets towards innovation, enables Leaders to greatly extend their growth over Laggards,” said Ramnath Venkataraman, global lead, Integrated Global Services, Accenture Technology.
Many Laggard companies too have invested in newer technologies (recently) for the first time, but it only pushed them further behind their rivals and placed them on a ‘catch-up’ mode, found the study.
Under the changing market landscape, a new category of companies, Leapfroggers, has emerged, reported the study. This group stands out in its ability to quickly master the balance between systems strength and increased innovation. Leapfroggers compressed their digital transformations into a shorter time frame through an aggressive and progressive technology strategy that converted the challenges of the past year into business opportunities and advantages, according to the Accenture study.
“Meanwhile, leapfroggers also show tremendous progress by maintaining Systems Strength and infusing innovation across the enterprise. In fact, leapfroggers are now growing their revenue at four times the rate of Laggards,” Venkataraman added.
Notably, leapfroggers transformed their technology strategies and priorities in a short time frame, using the crisis to increase the use of advanced and emerging technologies by 17% and scaling technology across their enterprises. Leapfroggers also fostered thoughtful organizational change to take further advantage of these technologies and compressed their transformations from years to months.