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Digital technologies are reshaping every business and industry. When it comes to externally sourced operations and business services, however, too many buyer-provider relationships are still stuck in an analog world. They are transferring existing processes to a provider without transforming those processes and capabilities. In this environment, today’s leading technologies can deliver competitive advantage.
New, Accenture-sponsored research finds that analytics and automation technologies are most relevant to buyers of externally provided business services today, but that other technologies such as cloud, mobility and social media are rising and will continue to rise in importance over the next couple of years.
How can these technologies be integrated into existing operations environments to drive innovation and improved business value? Our analysis points to four pillars of an effective technology strategy:
Executing processes on a resilient digital platform that’s secure, available on demand and easy to set up and use.
Offering anytime, anywhere digital insights, driven by analytics, that improve business performance.
Creating a digital workforce platform of connected information workers, using advanced monitoring, search and analytics tools.
Proactively managing a digital innovation ecosystem comprising multiple partners to incorporate the latest available technologies.
View our infographic to learn more
Digital technologies are disrupting industries and markets in nearly every corner of the world. Yet too many externally sourced business services and operations engagements have yet to catch up to digital. This could slow growth. After all, if every business is a digital business, then the operations that enable and support the business—whether they’re delivered internally or through an external provider—must be digital as well.
Why aren’t innovative technologies being leveraged more often in externally sourced operations programs? In some cases, buyers and some providers may be too focused just on contractual obligations, which may stifle research and innovation regarding today’s game-changing technologies. It is also sometimes the case that when a buyer hands off a process to a provider it is “out of sight, out of mind,” and therefore not considered for additional investments.
Engagements that are focused on using technology to drive business outcomes have a far better chance of delivering improvements in business value, not only process improvements.
According to the Accenture-sponsored research, providing effective analytics solutions is seen as the most urgent capability required. Half of the buyers stated that analytics is a critical component to making the move to value beyond cost.
The second most important technology noted in the research was “automation.” When automation becomes a part of the basic delivery of operational or business process services, increasing amounts of intelligence reside in the infrastructure (and in the applications) which decreases the amount of human intervention required.
Other technologies—cloud, mobile and social—are increasingly important to businesses but have not yet had a major effect on externally sourced operations. But this is changing as more buyers become aware of their potential. Together, these technologies can:
The road ahead is sometimes uncertain, given the rapid pace of change and disruptive marketplace elements. But to get on the right path, companies should bear in mind the four key components of digital operations:
Architecting for resiliency. In the digital era, providers must support wide-ranging demands for nonstop processes, services and systems.
Incorporating analytics and mobility to deliver real-time, digital insights. Predictive analytics technologies offer the promise of helping an operational team look “around the bend” to see what’s coming, and develop their response.
Connecting the digital workforce. Automation removes the need for a great deal of clerical-type work, enabling knowledge workers to make higher-level contributions and experience increased job satisfaction.
Enabling and participating in a digital innovation ecosystem. Outsourcing is by nature a collaborative endeavor, but the larger ecosystem of enterprises, research institutions and other entities needed to keep a competitive edge is significantly larger than just a buyer and provider.
April 22, 2014
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