Digital operations for the digital business: Technology for competitive advantage

This paper explores the path to digital operations and a digital BPO model—what that means and why it is important.


Digital is here. But when it comes to externally sourced operations and services, many buyer-provider relationships are stuck in an analog world.

While analytics and automation remain important, other tools, such as cloud computing, mobility and social media are increasingly taking center stage.

How to get your arms around this and stay competitive? Our analysis points to four strategic pillars:

  • 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.

  • Creating a digital workforce platform of connected workers, using advanced monitoring, search and analytics tools.

  • Proactively managing a digital innovation ecosystem comprising multiple partners to incorporate the latest technologies.

Digital technologies are disrupting industries and markets everywhere.
Yet, too many externally sourced services and engagements have yet to catch up.


According to Accenture-sponsored research, providing effective analytics solutions is the most urgent capability required.

Half of buyers surveyed said 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 the applications. That decreases the amount of human intervention required.

Cloud computing, mobile and social media 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:

  • Reduce costs and errors in compliance.

  • Improve job satisfaction for staff.

  • Provide insights into process and business performance.

  • Set an organization on the path to truly intelligent IT.

  • Provide an opportunity to re-shape engagements around business outcomes.


Business leaders should recognize four keycomponents of digital operations:

  • Architecting for resiliency—Providers must support wide-ranging demands for non-stop 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 respond.

  • Connecting the digital workforce—Automation removes the need for a lot of clerical-type work, enabling knowledge workers to make higher-level contributions and gain 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 goes far beyond just the buyer and provider.


Do you know how many businesses plan to transform through operations and processes? Are you one of them?