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HIGH PERFORMANCE BUSINESS FORUM RESEARCH


From strategy to execution: Closing the Nordic digital divide

Every business with ambitions to make digital advances – which means nearly all – should take note.

Features

Peter Ekdahl

Peter Ekdahl
Accenture Strategy Nordics Lead

Click to watch Peter Ekdahl’s introduction to this year’s Nordic High Performance Business Forum research

This year’s Nordic High Performance Business Forum research, titled From Strategy to Execution: Closing the Nordics’ Digital Divide, reveals that the majority of large Nordic businesses have a digital strategy in place, many are struggling to realize that potential and put their strategy into action, achieving the outcomes they believe digital can deliver.

Overview

Nordic businesses’ good and bad news: Digital strategies set, execution lagging

  • 56% of large Nordic businesses now have a digital strategy in place, compared with 48% in 2015

  • 70% agree that digital will disrupt their business in the next 1-2 years

The majority of large Nordic businesses have a digital strategy in place. That’s the good news from Accenture’s survey. However, many are struggling to realize that potential and put their strategy into action, achieving the outcomes they believe digital can deliver. And for them to achieve their goals they need to develop the right digital operating models.

By examining the digital operating models that leaders favor, and understanding the capabilities they are cultivating, we’ve been able to identify some key lessons for digital business development in the Nordic region. Every business with ambitions to make digital advances – which means nearly all – should take note.

READ THE RESEARCH [PDF]

Operating Model Choices

Selecting a digital operating model for speed and scale

  • 32% of Nordic businesses target a Centre of Excellence digital operating model

  • 66% of digital leaders leverage new technologies early compared with 38% of digital followers

The majority of leading digital businesses in the Nordics identify the Center of Excellence (CoE) model as most relevant to achieving their business’s digital goals. This model supports the execution of individual business units’ digital strategy with a central function providing expertise and guidelines, skills and capacity.

Many businesses surveyed also target the CoE as a future digital operating model. However, most face some common challenges in moving forward. Typically, include factors such as a lack of available talent, resistance from legacy non-digital business, and the difficulty of finding the right balance between local influence and group synergies.

READ THE RESEARCH [PDF]

People For Digital Success

Developing digital people

  • 59% of digital leaders provide formal digital training to all or most of their employees. Only 26% of digital followers do the same.

  • Digital leaders are more likely to follow a ‘fail fast’ approach, with a gap of 25 percentage points over digital followers

The choice of operating model is important. But other critical factors are also needed to exploit digital opportunities successfully. Perhaps the most important is people. Our findings show that digital leaders are four times more likely than digital followers to have provided formal digital training to all their staff. Leaders take very deliberate steps to develop their peoples’ ‘digital intelligence quotient’ or ‘Digital IQ’.

And their approach to digital development and innovation is differentiated from businesses that are yet to make significant progress. Digital leaders embrace new forms of collaboration, failing fast and customer engagement are all characteristic.

READ THE RESEARCH [PDF]

Digital Leaders Characteristics

How to get ahead in digital

  • 73% of digital leaders rate their ability to sense and generate new ideas for products and services as excellent or great, only 44% of digital followers rate themselves in the same way

  • 61% of digital leaders can quickly scale ideas into marketable products and services compared with 31% of followers

Having a strategy in place is necessary. But it’s not sufficient for digital success. That requires a clear approach to execution. And that means making some decisive structural changes. The optimal operating model needs to balance speed and scale so that digital ideas can reach the market as sustainable commercial products and services. And businesses need the right capabilities, appropriate resources and clear priorities for activity within the portfolio of digital projects. People need to be prepared and equipped to execute. And, in a dynamic digital environment in which constant change is more or less a given, strategies require constant monitoring and adaption.

READ THE RESEARCH [PDF]

Actions to take

Six key capabilities to accelerate digital progress
Accenture’s analysis identifies six critical capabilities that we believe can accelerate businesses’ digital performance:

  • Seek, sense and understand disruption

  • Build digital IQ

  • Unleash ideas, fail fast, scale what works

  • Make the most of all data, old and new

  • Create pervasive digital trust

  • Think (and act) ecosystem

READ THE RESEARCH [PDF]