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November 22, 2018
Unlocking trapped value for agility and growth
By: Chris Wegmann

Accelerating Innovation: Unlocking trapped value for agility and growth

Let’s face it: True innovation is a challenge for most companies. In fact, recent Accenture research has found that the return on companies’ innovation spending has declined by 27 percent over the past five years. This might be shocking because innovation is all we hear about. What’s going on?

Despite their investments, many companies are just tinkering at the edges of innovation. Sixty-four percent of survey respondents in our research claimed that most of their spending will be directed toward incremental innovation. Based on Accenture’s experience, that kind of “small steps” focus is not enough to seize the opportunities created by leveraging new technologies and business models. This is like being in “Innovation Stop-and-Go Traffic.” You will get there, but you might be too late.

How AWS can play an important role in speeding up innovation and unlocking value

The cloud has become an important enabler to unlocking trapped business value through innovation. Consider Amazon Web Services (AWS). For years, enterprises saw AWS primarily as a way to reduce cost by leveraging services like EC2 and S3. Today, though, we’re helping enterprises not only move to cloud but also leverage the full breadth of the AWS platform to develop cloud-native architectures and new, innovative solutions on AWS—finding new ways to harness data insights and interact with customers.

For example, Accenture is using AWS in our Liquid Studios and Innovation Hubs to stand up scaled prototypes for clients to very quickly see if they succeed and what the impact might be on the broader business, not just on a pilot set of data. As most of us know, one of the core tenets of innovation is: Whether you succeed or do not succeed, do it quickly, learn and move on. Leveraging the full AWS platform for these prototypes also helps answer the question of whether the ideas will scale technically and create the business value expected.

A second thing to highlight is that with AWS, we can more easily apply innovative technologies—things like artificial intelligence, analytics, Internet of Things (IoT) and serverless to these prototypes.

So, again, you can:

  1. Innovate faster yourself
  2. More easily apply market-leading innovations to your own environment at scale.

What high-growth companies know about innovation

Our research uncovered hopeful news about the link between innovation and growth. A select group of companies (14 percent of C-level executives we surveyed) is turning innovation investments into value with success. These companies are truly in the “Innovation Fast Lane.”

Such companies (which we call “high-growth” companies) display three characteristics in their approach to innovation.

#Cloud has become key to unlocking trapped value through innovation. @ChrisCWegmann tees up #reInvent:

  1. Change-oriented

  2. They have the courage to apply innovation with greater intensity to reinvent existing ways of working, and thus achieve deep organizational change. For example, Vodafone UK, working with Accenture, embraced a comprehensive, broad-spectrum cloud solution on AWS. The transition to cloud as the foundation for its IT model has enabled the company to deliver innovative new services and solutions more quickly and at scale. It has also achieved significant savings and reduced its legacy infrastructure footprint.

  3. Outcome-led

  4. High-growth companies foster innovation efforts across the business, and they have the discipline to rigorously tie those efforts to financial performance. Mutual of Omaha insurance began a journey to realize a new contact center vision. The company emphasized an improved customer experience as the critical driver for its modernization program, and they partnered with Accenture to deliver on that vision. By implementing an innovative new call center approach on Amazon Connect, Mutual of Omaha has released trapped innovation value in customer service to help grow their business. Business outcomes have been significant. Mutual has been able to improve customer engagement, develop self-service tools with leading-edge speech recognition, and gather powerful real-time and historical reporting metrics to continuously drive positive change.

  5. Disruption-minded

  6. High-growth companies commit to invest more aggressively, over time, in truly disruptive innovation initiatives that have the potential to create entirely new markets. For example, to remain at the forefront of the TV market in the United Kingdom, YouView launched a transformative program aimed at creating intelligent operations that harness diverse data sets, applied intelligence and human ingenuity to deliver unbeatable customer experiences. The transformation involved enhancing its existing AWS cloud architecture to accelerate application development processes.

    With its faster, more flexible DevOps capability and cloud-based analytics platform, YouView became the first broadcast platform of scale in the United Kingdom to fully embrace the technology across the entire platform and device base. The company is now able to introduce new features and functionality more frequently and adapt to ongoing changes in viewer behaviors. As a result, customer satisfaction scores have increased.

Launching innovative ideas

One obstacle we see clients needing to overcome is translating ideas into outcomes. There’s no lack of ideas out there, and no lack of small experiments and proofs of concept taking place. The issue is translating those smaller-scale efforts into real-life benefits. That’s why the Accenture AWS Business Group (AABG) created “Launchpad,” an Accenture and AWS jointly funded and staffed mechanism designed to accelerate the development of proofs of concept and prototypes, and to support the incubation of vertical solutions on AWS.

AABG has also embedded deeply skilled AWS Solution Architects into Accenture Innovation Hub, Liquid Studios and Labs to support our customers that leverage these Accenture locations to drive their innovations.

We should also highlight the Accenture Innovation Architecture, which helps our clients develop and deliver disruptive innovations, and then scale them faster. It combines capabilities from across the company including research, labs, studios, innovation centers and ventures.

With the right kind of platform, assets and solution partner, we believe almost every organization has the potential to move into the “Innovation Fast Lane” and join the ranks of the high-growth companies who have become masters at using innovation to unlock trapped value.

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