Swiss companies adapted to the financial crisis well: They lowered their costs, increased efficiency, and are in even better condition today than before. Business is back on track—but this is no time to relax. The Swiss economy has not yet taken advantage of digitization and the opportunities it offers for sustainable growth. Why so? What possible consequences pose a threat? What do Swiss companies need to do now to avoid losing ground to the global competition? Accenture has explored these questions and more in its analysis of the Swiss Top500 companies.

Three themes

  1. A false sense of security after the financial crisis
    It is undisputed that the Swiss economy withstood the financial crisis much better than many other nations. However, there are have been enormous changes since. Today, threats to the Swiss economy lurk in the global world trade tensions between China and the US, and the swell in foreign exchange reserves at the Swiss National Bank. Further challenges are emerging in the job market as a skills shortage grows and productivity drops. Digitization is the greatest driver of change, and Switzerland is just as affected by digital disruption as the rest of the world.
  1. In the digital world, know your customer
    New technologies enable companies to collect data on an unprecedented level. Those who can identify and really understand their end customers have a clear competitive advantage. To do this, the company must of course come into contact with the end user. This is where a problem arises: The Swiss economy is, to a large extent, a supplier industry. The end customer, and their demands and wishes, are largely unknown to many Swiss businesses. In this regard, American companies with a disproportionately larger domestic market have an exponentially larger digital playground available to them. One thing seems incontestable to me: Those able to identify and understand their end customer have a decisive competitive advantage. The key to that lies in the digital acquisition of customer data. The effects of this for Switzerland are already becoming apparent, such as sluggish profit growth over a period of years that leave it vulnerable to competition.
  1. Digital growth formula for new opportunities
    Some Swiss companies are already attempting to secure their status as a fast-growing and profitable business in the digital environment. They are doing this by strengthening their core business and entering new areas of the market through digitization and innovation. We describe this process as a smart pivot towards digital innovation. For this, an organization must be redesigned, along with its processes for investment and recruiting employees. It’s challenging to maintain the balance between traditional business and a new business model as it takes shape.
"Every company needs to adopt a start-up spirit - not by setting up a digital lab. Digital transformation must be embraced into the core of the company."

– THOMAS D. MEYER, Senior Country Managing Director –  Accenture Switzerland

Thomas D. Meyer

Senior Country Managing Director – Accenture Switzerland​

Mauro Centonze

Research Manager – Accenture Switzerland


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