How will Europe Compete in the future?

Europe has a long term challenge to improve its competitiveness after its economic crisis. Accenture believes that the European Union (EU) can accelerate its return to higher economic growth and reduce its widening competitiveness gap with the rest of the world through widespread adoption of digital technologies.

Read Accenture's research report on the EU's digital potential for higher levels of productivity, innovation and growth.

Download the whitepaper  [2.6 MB]

Accelerating Europe's Comeback: Digital Disruption. Watch the video.

Mark Spelman, managing director, Accenture Strategy, outlines the findings from a study carried out by Accenture to illustrate the ways in which digital disruption is reshaping organizations and remaking entire industries.

Watch Video    02:02

Accelerating Europe’s comeback

Digital opportunities for competitiveness and growth

In 2014, The EU is emerging from the most severe economic crisis in decades. As EU decision makers in business, government and other interest groups work to recapture growth and rebuild competitiveness, they have an opportunity to accelerate progress: The emerging pervasiveness of digital technologies is disrupting industries and economies and creating new opportunities for growth.

Across all industries and the public sector, processes, products and marketing are being transformed by big data, analytics, robotics, intelligent sensors, social media, mobile applications and access to unlimited computing resources through cloud computing.

Crucially, digital technologies directly impact two main levers of competitiveness: productivity and cost, and innovation. New digital processes can radically alter the cost base of companies as well as enable the creation of new kinds of products, services and business models to support new economic growth.

Digital EU: Improving efficiency and driving growth. Watch the video.

Accelerating Europe's Comeback: Adopting New Digital Business Models to Boost Competitiveness

Mark Spelman, Managing Director Accenture Strategy outlines how Europe can accelerate a return to competitiveness and growth through digital technologies.

Watch Video  01:33

Europe's Comeback:
Digital opportunities.

Download the PDF

Five Areas of Opportunity for a Competitive Europe

The digital transformation of European economies can build on existing strengths, supporting new growth and increased global competitiveness. Accenture identifies five areas of opportunity to accelerate a return to growth and competitiveness through the digital transformation of Europe’s economies and businesses:

Opportunity 1: Increased prosperity through higher productivity. Watch the video.

Opportunity 1: Increased prosperity through higher productivity

Achieving strong and sustained productivity growth will not only support the cost competitiveness of businesses, but also allow for an increase in real wages, supporting domestic demand in European economies and increased prosperity.

Watch Video  00:54
Opportunity 2: A digital single market enabled by a digital infrastructure and data protection. Watch the video.

Opportunity 2: A digital single market enabled by a digital infrastructure and data protection

EU-wide digital infrastructure in broadband and mobile data must be accompanied by common, EU-wide harmonisation of data privacy regulation, bringing together strong protection of individual’s privacy and safety while simplifying pan-European business operations.

Watch Video  01:17
Opportunity 3: Digital skills. Watch the video.

Opportunity 3: Digital skills

The digital transformation of work will have a significant impact on the skills European organisations will need, particularly those in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). While the EU currently produces nearly 1 million STEM tertiary education graduates annually, that will not be enough to satisfy demand in the future.

Watch Video  01:26
Opportunity 4: New business start-ups. Watch the video.

Opportunity 4: New business start-ups

New businesses already generate the majority of employment growth in Europe. Supporting entrepreneurship and start-ups in digital businesses through clusters (especially virtual ones), simplified regulation, and a culture that allows for failure as part of the entrepreneurial process will maximise the innovation and growth potential through new businesses.

Watch Video  01:22
Opportunity 5: Building digital businesses. Watch the video.

Opportunity 5: Building digital businesses

Because an economy’s competitiveness is an aggregate of the competitiveness of its businesses, Europe’s business leaders have a defining stake in creating prosperity through new and revitalised digital businesses.

Watch Video  00:59

Digital Strategies for Business

European business leaders recognise the potential for digital to transform their industries and organisations. In fact, nearly half of the business leaders we surveyed in the five largest EU markets expect digital technologies to significantly reshape their industries in the near term. Only 15 percent did not expect major change.

CEO briefing 2014 | The business agenda for Europe: growth in a digital world

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s survey for Accenture’s CEO Briefing 2014, European executives’ enthusiasm for the year ahead is more muted than their global peers and within Europe’s five largest economies - UK, Germany, Italy, France and Spain - an understandable diversity of views prevail.

European executives are looking forward to a year of gradually accelerating growth and the expansion of their businesses. Their plans for the year ahead reveal more ambitious overseas investment strategies than their global peers.

Crucially, respondents in the EU5 are underestimating the role of technology in achieving their goals and are less likely than their global peers to focus on digital technologies as key tools for delivering an improved customer experience or opening up new sales channels.

In this CEO Briefing for Europe, we share insights into the executives’ outlook for the EU for 2014 and discuss their ambitious push for growth, potential investment strategies, the impact of the digital revolution, and ways to manage technological change.

Download the full report  [2.7 MB]

CEO briefing 2014 | The global agenda: competing in a digital world

The CEO briefing 2014 report analyses the views of senior executives on prospects for the global economy and their companies, and defines how digital technology is transforming industries and changing the way business operates.

The corporate mood is on the upswing. Confidence is returning, with many leaders more optimistic about the outlook for their organisations and expressing bold ambitions for growth. Business leaders also understand the significant impact digital technologies will have on transforming their industry and the way they do business.

However, they may need to rebalance their digital business investments from improving internal efficiencies to better supporting their growth ambitions by developing products and reaching customers in new and innovative ways.

Download the infographic
Download the full report  [2.9 MB]

Every business is a digital business.
From digitally disrupted to digital disrupters

Becoming a truly digital business is key to how we innovate and differentiate ourselves from our competitors. And if the last decade has been the playground of the digital start-ups, the coming decade will see the emergence of the traditional companies as the digital giants.

For years, these global giants have been experimenting with social media, mobile, and cloud computing. Now they’re beginning to achieve mastery of those digital domains. Backed by deep resources, enormous scale and process discipline, these new digerati are positioning themselves to rewrite much of the digital playbook. The Technology Vision explores the six key IT trends that hold the most potential to transform businesses over the next three years – read them now.

Go to the Accenture Technology Vision 2014 website
Download the full report  [6.3 MB]

Remaking customer markets
unlocking growth with digital

More than ever, the customer experience is what matters most. Yet thanks to the ability of today’s digital technology to dissolve traditional industrial or economic boundaries and to spark sudden and lasting shifts in what customers come to expect, markets are becoming digitally contestable—created for customers’ overt or latent needs and wants.

The report explores how companies can position themselves for growth and high performance in the years ahead.

Download the full report  [3.6 MB]

The digital customer. It's time to play to win and stop playing not to lose

After years of playing not to lose against the uncertainty and volatility of the global recession, companies are struggling to regain their momentum. They must adapt to the demands of the new digital consumer or face missed opportunities in excess of $5.9 trillion USD globally.

Download the infographic  [641 KB]
Go to the research website

How digital technologies are changing the way we work

One way to trace human history is to follow the evolution of work. The Industrial Revolution provided standardised parts and repeatable processes. More recently, the norm has been adaptable processes, in which the same people and equipment can be adapted to provide more variety. Today, intelligent processes, which have been made possible by the explosion of digital technologies are set to reinvent much of the way that businesses are run.

Download the full report  [337 KB]

Growth strategies for a digital world

Being a digital business is more than equipping the field sales force with iPads or striving for “Likes” on Facebook or even putting more of the organization’s data in the cloud. Although those kinds of moves can be crucial steps on the road to becoming digital, the challenge is, that they may make business leaders feel that their organizations are digital, when they are not. Such basic initiatives can be part of a project to improve discrete business processes, but they will not, by themselves, propel growth and they will certainly not confer lasting strategic advantage.

In this point of view, Accenture explores going beyond the confines of traditional industry, product and customer segmentations to find new customer value opportunities.

Download the full report  [3.33 MB]

European Perspectives


Unlocking industrial opportunities: An EU strategy for competitiveness—European Business Summit 2013

To identify current and future industry trends in Europe, as well as the actions needed to seize the opportunity of the New Industrial Revolution and strengthen the competitiveness of the European economy, we commissioned a survey of more than 500 decision makers across Europe.

The report highlights three waves of change that pose threats, but which European decision makers could turn into growth opportunities:

  • Technology Innovation
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Changing Consumer
Download the full report


New Businesses, new competitors: Germany’s Top500 and the digital challenge

How do the Top500 companies compete against challengers from the digital economy? Who are the pioneers of the digital revolution? Accenture has developed an analysis tool that enables us to make initial projections of winners and losers. Find out what your company can learn from the champions of the digital economy.

Download the study in English language  [329 KB]
Download the study in German language  [407 KB]
Access the Top500 website


Nord-Pas de Calais: Third industrial revolution master plan

The overall goal of the Third Industrial Revolution (TIR) in Nord-Pas de Calais is to make the regional economy one of the most resource-efficient, productive and sustainable in the world.

Nord-Pas de Calais has the opportunity of becoming one of the first regions in the world to produce and share its own locally generated renewable energy at near zero marginal cost on an Energy Internet, making energy nearly free for its thousands of businesses and four million citizens. The impact on productivity and the economy of near-zero marginal cost energy will be every bit as significant as the production and dissemination of information on the communications Internet at near-zero marginal cost. This is power to the people.

Download the study in French language  [4.3 MB]


Divestments in the turmoil

Credit restrictions, the economic slowdown and market turbulence have shaped a complex environment for businesses. For many, these conditions have brought on negative effects such as a loss of return on assets or funding problems. To relieve the tension between the funders and the management team as it aims to maximize long-term value for shareholders, it is necessary to develop a more proactive management of the business portfolio in order to maximize the cash inflow and strengthen the company’s strategy.

Download the study  [4.2 MB]


CBI and Accenture UK employment trends survey 2013

On the Up, the CBI/Accenture Employment Trends Survey, covers businesses employing more than one million people among them. It found that 51% of firms expect their workforce to be larger in 12 months’ time, with private sector workforces anticipated to grow across all regions.

Encouragingly, there is also an increasing number of opportunities for young people to find work, with companies planning to take on more graduates and apprentices.

Download the full report  [343 KB]
Watch Accenture UK and Ireland Managing Director Olly Benzecry speak about the challenges the UK faces in remaining competitive in the global economy

Industry Perspectives

Smart manufacturing and industrialization 4.0

Digital Industry 4.0. What does it mean to you?

Connected, intelligent products tell their user how they are to be best applied. New digital business models harness collected data offering additional services and as-a-service products, work pieces telling the shop floor machinery how they are to be processed, and all supported by a fully digital value chain. That is the core of Digital Industry 4.0 - referring to the 4th industrial revolution - highly intelligent cyber physical systems are connected to create the Internet of Things.

Go to our Industrialization 4.0 website


Opportunities for European communications service providers: Riding the perfect storm

The situation in which European communications service providers find themselves today is challenging indeed. However, in those challenges are also considerable opportunities to grow and generate stronger future value.

Download the full report  [1.2 MB]

Also read: The future communications service provider: A Blueprint for relevance in the converged digital world

Download the full report


The everyday bank. How digital is revolutionizing banking

As technology drives changes in consumer behaviours and expectations, by 2020, more than 30 percent of banking revenues could be at risk, thanks to new competitors and new trends. To win in this environment, banks must become the indispensable Everyday Bank—positioned to fulfil all their customers’ daily financial and non-financial life needs.

Download the infographic  [798 KB]
Download the full report  [1.0 MB]

Also read: Technology that matters. Transform your business model or risk getting left behind:

Read more


Insight driven health
Skyrocketing costs and resulting healthcare reform mandates demand transformation from the healthcare community.

Accenture consumer survey on patient engagement
The patient engagement survey interviewed more than 9,000 people in nine countries. The results show that nearly two in five (39 percent) have taken ownership of their records by self-tracking personal health information, including health history (19 percent), physical activity (19 percent) and health indicators (18 percent), such as blood pressure and weight.

Download the infographic

Accenture doctors survey
An Accenture survey among 3,700 doctors in eight countries (including EU members Germany, France, UK and Spain) reveals that today’s doctors are going digital, increasing adoption of electronic medical records (EMR) and health information exchange (HIE).

Go to the research website Responding to the unprecedented changes under way means using knowledge in new ways—from the back office to the doctor’s office to deliver more effective, efficient and affordable healthcare with Insight Driven Health


Insurers on the path to digital transformation

78% of European insurers plan to increase their investment in digital, averaging € 51M over three years for a multi-line insurer. They are planning to double the share of online sales by 2016. Consumer behaviour is changing with the Digital Generation, in an environment where competition is more severe with the threat of new entrants, and insurers are trying to develop their digital skills.

Download the full report  [1.3 MB]

Energy and Utilities

The new energy consumer handbook: A survival guide to the evolving energy marketplace

A new, more dynamic energy marketplace continues to take shape, driven by shifting consumer preferences and accelerating market disruptions. The changes under way present a series of opportunities and challenges that require providers to relentlessly focus on establishing simplified organizations that are more agile and change capable. Within this environment, providers require a range of new core competencies that will create a foundation for success regardless of how the marketplace evolves. The New Energy Consumer Handbook is a comprehensive guide to the changes occurring in the utilities industry and strategies for long-term success.

Download the full report  [10.4 MB]

Europe’s delivering public service for the future

Accenture’s Delivering Public Service for the Future program aims to inspire government agencies to explore new opportunities to deliver better public services, while meeting increasing citizen demands at sustainable costs.

Delivering public service for the future. Watch the video.

Delivering public service for the future

Watch this video to learn about Accenture’s inaugural Delivering Public Service for the Future program, a series of research papers and perspectives on what public service for the future could mean to governments around the world—and what it will take to get there.

Watch Video  01:38

Delivering Public Service for the Future: Unlocking Public Service Potential

This graphic depicts four profound structural shifts governments can undertake to deliver the public service outcomes citizens want at a cost that can be sustained

Download Infographic
Access the Delivering Public Service for the Future websites

Coup d’état. Radically Rethinking Public Services

Consider this: If 10 key countries increased their aggregate public-sector efficiency a mere 1 percent a year, they would collectively save nearly $2 trillion annually by 2025. Today’s political and economic realities are putting enormous demands on public services. Aging populations, growing fiscal uncertainties and rising citizen expectations have put governments in unsustainable positions. To meet the ever-increasing citizen demand against supply, public service organizations in the EU must do more, and better, with less.

Download the full report  [261 KB]

Delivering public service for the future: Navigating the shifts

Read Accenture’s full global report “Delivering Public Service for the Future: Navigating the Shifts” presenting where governments (including EU countries France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom) currently stand with public service delivery, where they need to be—and how they can get there.

Download the full report  [949 KB]

Delivering employment services for the future

Read Accenture’s future vision of the role of Europe Public Employment Services. We envision future employment services in Europe as more personalized, insight-driven, entrepreneurial and productive.

Download the report  [192 KB]

The emergence of smart borders

Read how a fundamental shift in the approach to border management is taking place across Europe and globally. As EU “smart border” proposals are adopted, border agencies will need to adopt new technologies to facilitate travel in the fast lane.

Download the report  [256 KB]

Achieving digital excellence in public service

Read 2013 Accenture research that explores the maturity of digital government in 30 countries (including EU countries: Austria, Denmark, France, Greece, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, United Kingdom, Spain, Netherlands) and their journeys to deliver public service for the future.

Download the report  [957 KB]

European centre for government transformation

Founded in 2009 by three partners – Accenture, the Lisbon Council and the College of Europe – the Centre has gained a reputation as a distinguished forum for thought-leadership, research and innovation in the public sector in Europe. Throughout the year, the Centre brings together a network of senior-level public service officials from several countries in Europe as well as the European institutions to engage in a constructive dialogue during a series of policy roundtables, case studies and keynote events that explore hot-topics across government today.

Download the Overview Brochure  [895 KB]

European centre for government transformation – 2013 digital government roundtable executive brief

Read European Centre for Government Transformation Report and learn how Europe can improve its digital readiness and deliver public service for the future.

Download the report  [1.25 MB]

European Centre for Government Transformation – 2013 Employment and Skills Roundtable Executive Brief

Read European Centre for Government Transformation Report and learn how Europe’s public employment services can be more personalized, insight-driven, entrepreneurial and productive to deliver public service for the future.

Download the report  [2.0 MB]

Digital Opportunity for Europe Competitiveness & Growth-Accenture 
Five areas of opportunity for Europe competitiveness and growth in manufacturing, banking, energy and utility, public service, healthcare.
Europe competitiveness, Digital business, competitiveness and growth
No  No