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In highly uncertain times, an increasing pace of change can spell disaster for science and technology companies that choose to ignore enterprise transformation in favor of equilibrium. Those who embrace disruption find themselves thriving.
Accenture’s experience with successful science and technology companies informs the six crucial characteristics found in companies with staying power.
Uncertainty is a reality in most industries, but when it comes to science and technology, ambiguity is the operative term. The distinction is that the past can inform the future—it can be a predictor—whereas with ambiguity, parameters can be in continual flux.
Companies faced with challenges in the science and technology sector need to invest heavily in research and development but also convert that research into value. All this must happen in the face of increasing market disruption.
Companies are under increasing pressure to not only anticipate the next big disruption, but also make tough decisions that can drastically alter their companies’ equilibrium and still balance shareholder pressure, employee concerns, and ecosystem partner needs.
Understanding the ambiguity facing science and technology companies requires a close examination of the volatility spectrum in which they operate. Traditionally stable left-side spectrum patterns used to allow for predictive growth. This was the case with PC and operating system manufacturing for many years.
The middle of the spectrum allows some degree of prediction, but still include challenges around market and customer behavior predictions. The other end of the spectrum is where ambiguity lies. Interactions are unpredictable and the past may not be able to inform the future. Early warning systems and clear response plans are critical. At a given point, a company can find itself at various points on this spectrum, and needs to adopt varying strategies, tools and approaches to thrive.
Six key attributes are at the core of science and technology companies that survive—and thrive—in ambiguous market circumstances. These attributes are embedded in those companies’ foundations and business models and are critical to their endurance.
Predictive insight: Routine monitoring of potential disruptions.
Focus on customer value: Primary focus on customer, and secondary on technology.
Coherent business model: Aim for a singular model for value.
Disciplined investment: Methodical approach to balancing short and long-term goals.
Agility: Making decision and being ready to adapt.
Courage: Embracing a risk-taking culture.
Michael V. Peterson is the global lead for the Accenture Enterprise Transformation Strategy group. He is based in Chicago.
Reza Firouzbakht is a senior principal in Accenture’s Digital Business group. He is based in Seattle.
Amrita Kimmi Grewal is a senior manager in Accenture’s Enterprise Transformation Strategy group. She is based in Austin.
December 12, 2013
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