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Businesses are increasing agility to fuel growth and competitiveness but face significant challenges executing.


Profitable growth is a strategic priority for most companies. Yet, it is elusive.

To better understand why, Accenture conducted global research among 700 C-level executives and their direct reports. The survey revealed that 82 percent of respondents say their business is now focused on cost reduction to reinvest funds in growth initiatives. The research examined their primary challenges in doing this: They have difficulty executing, there is lack of alignment at the executive level, operating models don’t flex for growth, and executives struggle to prioritize growth investments.

Leading companies can overcome these barriers to fuel profitable growth and enhance their future competitiveness.



Growth Barriers

Digital Recognition

Recognition of digital’s importance
Despite other differences, executives agree on the importance of reinvesting savings into digital. They recognize that digital enables advanced operating models and can enhance profitable growth.


Organize for growth
To successfully execute for growth, companies must first: a) know where growth is coming from, b) understand the long-term growth strategy, c) identify specific goals and where to focus, d) develop the specific execution plan, e) clearly define needed capabilities, and e) establish performance metrics, incentives and performance management tools.

Manage the journey
As the research shows, executing cost reduction programs to fuel growth is hard. Success depends on identifying and preempting any executive resistance to build buy-in across the executive team. Consistent communication across the entire organization - based on value drivers - helps change the culture to be cost-conscious. Additional enablers include: a) a phased rollout, b) change management and c) a transition team.

Digitize to fuel sustainable growth
To increase speed and agility, companies need to commit to building capabilities in critical areas and digitizing traditional processes. Digital effectively helps interpret signals of disruption that will impact the business, and determine when to accelerate innovation. To harness digital: Make full use of and monetize the data available; build digital intelligence; organize digital capabilities for speed; and digitize the front and back office.


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About the Research

View research highlights

What C-suite executives and analysts prioritize
Accenture conducted quantitative and qualitative research across 13 industries and nine geographies to analyze the challenges and opportunities associated with creating cost-competitive operating models and reinvesting in growth. Fifty-four percent of respondents were C-suite executives or CEOs of business units. In parallel, Accenture interviewed 65 industry analysts across these industries to understand what external stakeholders measure, value and expect from the companies they cover.

Industries included: Automotive, Banking, Chemicals, Communications, Consumer Goods, Energy, Health, Hospitality, Industrial Equipment, Pharmaceuticals, Medical Technology, Retail and Utilities.


Don Schulman

Don Schulman
Global Senior Managing Director – Products, Functional Excellence and Integration

Don helps companies with sustainable cost management and creating agile operating models. He has worked with global companies for more two decades helping them drive shareholder value through enhanced digital capabilities and responsive supply chains. Don is a well-known author and speaker regarding enterprise performance management. He is based in New Jersey, USA.


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