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Digital transforms business. This is increasingly apparent both in the strategies of Switzerland’s largest companies and in the Swiss economy as a whole. Swiss Growth Champions stand apart by consistently outperforming their peers—often by a wide margin. While there are several reasons for their success, findings from a recent survey conducted by Accenture and the IMD World Competitiveness Centre suggest that one of the most important factors is their willingness to embrace the opportunities that exist in today’s digital age.

Of course, those winning digital strategies differ by industry, and even by company. But the Growth Champions have this in common: A clear understanding of digital’s potential to transform value-creation strategies and business models that have not changed since the industrial age. As a result, they are generating larger proportions of sales and profits from their digital activities. What can other companies learn from their example? This report is intended to help them find out.

Swiss Growth Champions

Growth Champions are exceptionally successful companies that have outperformed average growth rates over the past five years. This year Accenture identified 44 Growth Champions among Switzerland’s Top500 companies. These Growth Champions grew at an average annual growth rate of 6.1 percent in 2010–2014, outperforming their direct competitors and the overall economy.

Digitization Survey

Accenture carried out a survey in association with the IMD World Competitiveness Centre to assess the impacts of digital technologies on Swiss industries and companies. Here are our 10 key findings:

Industry-level Findings

  • Digital products and services are on the rise

  • Industry clockspeeds increase as product innovation cycles become shorter

  • Entry barriers erode

  • Several industries feel digital pressures to ‘rightsize’

  • Value-creation strategies are revised along digital lines in all industries

  • New competitors increase the pressure to transform

Company-level Findings

  • More Growth Champions are disruptors

  • Growth Champions make digital an essential part of their business strategy

  • The C-level shapes the digital strategy of Growth Champions

  • Growth Champions set ambitious digital net revenue targets

Digital Showcases

AXA Winterthur

Axa Winterthur, a part of the Axa Group, is the digital champion among Swiss insurance companies. From its founding of Axa Lab, which aims to foster innovation and digital culture companywide, to its strategic partnerships with digital champions such as Facebook and LinkedIn, to its introduction of digital products and services, Axa Winterthur shows what is possible when a company makes digital a strategic priority.


Specialty chemical company SIKA has invested in digital tools and processes to create and manage stakeholder networks that are interconnected, dynamic and powerful. Its digital platforms not only enable information access and communications, but also underpin five pillars of the company’s growth strategy: Market penetration, innovation, emerging markets, acquisitions and values.

SIX Group

SIX Group, which operates Switzerland’s financial market infrastructure and offers infrastructure and information services to international markets, is inherently a digital business. Digital capabilities have helped the company achieve market efficiencies and international growth by adding volume to its platforms. It’s also a critical enabler of the SIX Group’s recently established F10 FinTech Incubator, which aims to make Zurich a global hub of FinTech innovation.


How can companies better prepare for a digital future? Here are our top 5 recommendations:

  1. Digitize operations with a focus on reducing costs and increasing flexibility

  2. Develop more holistic customer value propositions

  3. Engage in ecosystems for product/service manufacturing, innovation and distribution, and systematically integrate outside knowledge flows to boost innovation

  4. Do not shy away from cannibalizing your own business

  5. Ground your initiatives in rapidly advancing digital technologies

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