RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Companies are investing in new technologies, but are unable to realize the full value of technology innovation at scale.
  • Leading companies take a “Living Systems” approach, driving continuous business value through a series of transformations.
  • The approach creates value by moving five levers of change, including strategy, organization, practices, technology and talent, in an agile way.
  • It’s called Living Systems, because it’s not static; it’s incrementally evolving a company’s capabilities and skills in a world of constant change.


A gap between investment and value

Technology is everywhere, but value is not. Even before COVID-19, most companies struggled to fully harness technology to power growth through innovation, according to Accenture’s Future Systems research. Now, the gap between leaders (the top 10% companies) and laggards has widened. Leaders are doubling down on their technology investments and lead the pack in customer centricity, profitability and agility. And, laggards recognize they urgently need to accelerate their digital transformations to become competitive, technology-driven businesses.

Leaders are head of the pack on revenue growth, customer centricity, profitability and agility.
Laggards are more likely to face growth stagnation and financial constraints, as well as be more vulnerable to industry disruption.

Lagging the field has consequences—now more than ever.

Living Systems reinvents every company as a technology company

Living Systems is an approach that helps companies accelerate digital transformation by breaking down a complex journey into manageable, prioritized steps. It is an innovation multiplier that focuses on five key levers of change—strategy, organization, practices, technology and talent—to drive growth and business agility.

Living Systems help companies:

Reimagine a growth strategy powered by technology

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Organizations that want to unlock the full value of technology need a growth strategy that is unified across business and technology. The focus is on exploring how technology can make the business strategy a reality and identifying new greenfield opportunities in products, services and competitive positions. This requires a strategic mindset to help transform the legacy business while positioning for future growth.

Realign the organization to put technology at the heart of every business

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Today’s IT departments are usually organized horizontally, in technology and functional teams. And performance is measured through traditional IT service level agreements. By restructuring to vertical teams that are aligned by business processes, IT services focus on business value and are measured by business KPIs. With these integrated teams what was once a series of disconnected efforts deviating from business objectives and driven by subjective priorities is now unified under a common vision with clear prioritization and full transparency.

Adopt new practices for agility and experimentation

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Companies should take steps to make sure the cycle of innovation is continuous through modern engineering capabilities. This approach is a transition from the typical software development life cycle that used to take 18-24 months to one that employs design thinking capabilities to co-create solutions with the business and quickly delivers a minimum viable product.

Create a flexible technology core for sustainable change

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A flexible technology core provides a secure cloud architecture that is resilient and adaptive to accelerate innovation, data-driven analytics, sustainability and business value. A modern technology foundation might seem to resemble a collection of smaller systems and services; binding these together is what drives differentiation, resilience, speed-to-market and agility.

Empower people to innovate with technology

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With Living Systems, leaders believe in a “human + machine” approach, where humans and technology bring out the best in each other and improve workforce efficiency. With a culture of innovation an agile mindset, and continuous learning, employees will be equipped to capitalize on new and changing opportunities as the business evolves.

Reinvention in the midst of disruption

For at least the last five years, every company has aspired to become a technology company. But our research indicates that most organizations are still a long way from thinking and operating with technology at the heart of everything they do. And, then came the pandemic.

Leading companies that embraced transformation before the crisis have shown greater business resilience, with the ability to adapt and outmaneuver uncertainty. They’re now well positioned to emerge stronger. There has never been a more crucial moment to discover the sustainable success that comes from digital transformation through Living Systems.

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