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November 23, 2016
Tackling the problems facing business strategy
By: Mary Lyons, Managing Director, Talent & Organization, Accenture Strategy

There’s no doubt that technology innovation can provide a wide spectrum of opportunities for businesses. However, the fast pace at which technological transformations are taking place can prove to be problematic too. The nut our clients have to crack is how to adapt their strategy as their businesses are constantly changing in light of new technology.

Previously, a company’s strategy might have been reviewed every ten years. Now, business plans must be reviewed at least every three years. The velocity of change has increased threefold and it’s our job to help these companies keep up and stay ahead of the curve. It’s a challenging time for strategy consulting as a whole. For women in leadership roles, tackling these changes and the speed at which they occur is something we focus on particularly closely at Accenture Strategy.

This era of technological change can affect us on both a personal and business level. I take heart from what Klaus Schwab (executive chairman of the World Economic Forum) recently said. Essentially, his view is that the scale, scope and complexity of this transformation is unlike anything humankind has experienced. How we lived 20 years ago — ten years, even — is a world away from how we live today. We’ve coped with that change on a personal level, so why shouldn’t our clients’ businesses? In fact, we want to go beyond coping; we want our clients to thrive in this new world.

On a tactical level, our clients need to inspire and deliver significant change within the workforce. Those that understand their capabilities need to evolve to keep pace. It’s about recognizing the talent that they need for the future and building this into their business strategy. It’s about being aware of the talent ecosystem and how it can meet these needs — be that retaining and developing the people they have or hiring new talent to keep their propositions fresh.

Forward planning is key, as people don’t always change until they need to. It’s the exact same thing with organizations. Those who want to maintain their competitive advantage need to implement their changes ahead of their competitors. As far as Accenture is concerned, our role and ability to deliver depends on our insight into our clients’ needs. To optimize the effect we have, we must stay on top of everything from market conditions and industry differentiators to an organization’s specific strategies, goals and objectives. It is only by helping our clients to prioritize those and think about why they truly need to change that we can deliver real strategic value against this backdrop of constant transformation.

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