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Traits of truly agile businesses

The key success factors to becoming a more agile business

Overview

Many organizations, in pursuit of growth, understand the need to be agile in every aspect of their business—from faster decision making to more flexible operations to collaborative ventures. Yet, there is often a gap between that awareness and cohesive action. The Accenture study on agility explores the common characteristics of agile businesses.

Executive Summary

Accenture surveyed 1,300 C-suite and senior-level executives in 13 industries and 16 countries in mature and emerging markets about business agility as it relates to strategy, organization, marketing, operations and finance.

Our findings? Leaders stand apart from the laggards on nearly every dimension of business agility in our research.

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Conversations

Accenture interviewed leaders in academia and industry to glean their insights and as to what it takes to be agile and succeed in today’s business environment. Topics range from building leadership credibility with a skeptical workforce (Peter Cappelli, director, Wharton Center for Human Resources) to essential qualities of tomorrow’s leaders (Michael Useem, director, Wharton Center for Leadership and Change Management) to leadership insights on talent (Mark Shapiro, president, Cleveland Indians) to leadership advice for today’s complex world (Sandy Ogg, operating partner, Blackstone). You can view all videos below or on YouTube.

About The Research

Accenture surveyed 1,300 C-suite and senior-level executives in 13 industries and 16 countries in mature and emerging markets in the second half of 2013. This research builds on our special report, Corporate agility: Six ways to make volatility your friend, published in 2012, in which we spoke with executives to get their thoughts on agility coming out of the global downturn.

The substantive quantitative online survey, administered in the respondents’ native languages, probed into business agility in dimensions such as strategy, organization, marketing, operations and finance.

In this analysis, leaders are defined as those companies that self-reported an increase in sales of greater than 10 percent in the past fiscal year, and laggards are those that self-reported a decrease in sales in the past fiscal year.

Characteristics of the research sample:

  • Nearly one-fourth of respondents are CEOs and one-third of respondents are business unit heads.

  • Approximately one-fourth of respondents reported prior fiscal year revenues of greater than US$20 billion, and more than half reported prior fiscal year revenues of greater than US$5 billion.

  • Close to 40 percent of companies operate in eleven or more countries and nearly 80 percent operate in four or more countries.