It is one thing to acknowledge that digital technologies create new threats and even more opportunities. It is quite another to be sure that you have the right digital strategy in place to handle the curveballs along the way. Business leaders across the world are seeing how digital is changing everything—from customer expectations to distribution channels and production models. And these changes are happening at an unprecedented scale, imposing a new sense of urgency. We discovered it’s a clarion call that has already been heard by many business leaders. Recent worldwide research found that 39 percent of executives want to be a digital leader in their industry and 59 percent expect to become a digital business in the next three years. But these aspirations are not necessarily translating into actions. More than half of the business leaders said they do not yet have an enterprise-level digital strategy to support their corporate strategy and many feel ill-prepared to transition to a digital business.
Clearly, there is work to do before business leaders are ready to use digital to help their organizations not only compete, but also drive new value and growth. It is a topic that was much debated at the recent Accenture Strategy Digital Forum—an invitation-only meeting on digital disruption that took place ahead of the European Business Summit 2015 and saw contributions from business leaders and industry experts. Alongside lively debate from open panel sessions, we heard from Larry Downes, co-author of the Big Bang Disruption: Strategy in the Age of Devastating Disruption how a combination of new rules and different skill sets is determining competitive advantage in the digital world. We discussed the mega trends and new rules for digital. We examined the role of policy makers and explored the impact on jobs with Jyrki Katainen, the European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness. And we took a deep dive into seven “no-regret” capabilities that business leaders can apply today to make the right strategic choices and realize their digital goals.
As I have touched on before, being digital needs a keen understanding of your starting point—an assessment of an organization’s digital density, the extent to which it exploits digital across its various functions, both internal and market-facing. This helps determine the quantifiable improvements in productivity that can accelerate competitiveness and economic growth. Once that assessment has been made you can then focus on the “how” behind being digital—a challenge even for those who are putting digital at the heart of their goals and ambitions.
I encourage you to take advantage of our research-based report that explores the practicalities of being digital in more depth. In “Being digital: Fast forward to the right digital strategy” we look at how business leaders can adopt digital strategies that set a clear direction while working at multiple speeds and layers, and execute effectively through intelligent experimentation. It might seem like a challenging combination, but such an approach can help ease the doubts of any business leaders out there who are unsure if they have the right strategy for digital business today—and one that can handle the rapidly approaching and volatile future.