To get to a state of Exponential IT, companies must boost their IT Agility to respond fast to change, capitalize on new opportunities, create new revenue and reduce costs. It means mastering new technologies to enable innovation—better and faster than the competition.

IT Agility is essential for three reasons:

  1. The nature of technology is changing. New technology, like cloud, has radically improved IT price and performance, enabling you to quickly scale small experiments to tens or hundreds of millions of customers.
  2. Technology is changing the nature of innovation. Adopting Exponential IT enables you to rapidly create new business models, products, and services.
  3. Innovation is key to creating value, and IT Agility is key to innovation. Our economic analysis of Fortune 500 companies found that IT Agility is highly correlated with innovation.


greater profit margin delivered by the most innovative companies in the past 5 years.


higher shareholder returns delivered by the most innovative companies in the past 5 years.

The era of shark fin innovation

The conventional technology adoption bell curve of has been replaced by the shark fin model*. First, an early adopter seizes on an innovator’s product or service. Others soon follow. The curve rises fast and peaks quickly. Suddenly, another burst when the innovator capitalizes on the next opportunity. It’s how companies like Airbnb built billion-dollar businesses so fast. IT Agility then allows you to relentlessly pursue second acts—short bursts of success, followed by ever-briefer windows of opportunity.

Under Big Bang Disruption, a disrupter reaches a majority of users quickly. So instead of a traditional bell curve of use, the curve rises and falls more like a shark’s fin. Now, there are only two market segments: trial users and everybody else.

*Larry Downes and Accenture’s Paul Nunes, Big Bang Disruption

The decoupling difference

To survive and thrive in the era of shark fin innovation, it’s essential to resolve technical debt—the cost to rework your IT to meet today’s needs. In our survey, 72% of C-suite execs said technical debt restricts their ability to migrate to new technology. Yet despite these issues, legacy systems have great value and years of data. It’s no wonder 70% of the executives we surveyed also want to keep their core systems as long as possible.

Help is at hand with digital decoupling. It’s our approach to increase your IT Agility and evolve your core systems to a state of Exponential IT, while eliminating technical debt and leveraging value in old systems. How? By taking advantage of new approaches to design and engineering.

Architectural Design.
Historically, a company’s IT kept everything bunched up in big, monolithic systems. Now you can separate out and leverage key parts of the core without limiting agility.

Engineering Practices.
Now you can combine new technologies that speed up development and delivery, enabling you to launch online applications and new processes that were once hard to build and scale.

Six steps to IT freedom

Precisely geared to today’s pace of technology change, we address your urgent business needs by decoupling data and applications. And long term, transform your IT environment to ensure continuous agility and innovation. So you can accelerate to Exponential IT, while retaining all the value in your old systems and enjoying the flexibility to easily change business strategies.

In the short term, we increase IT Agility by:

  • Decoupling data from legacy IT systems to reduce the burden on legacy back-end systems
  • Decoupling apps from legacy infrastructure, creating flexibility to scale offerings and workloads

In the long term, we put you on a path to Exponential IT by:

  • Decoupling tightly integrated systems into loosely coupled systems, to break up dependencies
  • Decoupling organizations from traditional structures by focusing on business outcomes
  • Decoupling investments from individual projects so you can invest on improving systems
  • Decoupling essential differentiation from unnecessary differentiation to avoid needless effort
83% of C-Suite executives want to maintain the best of legacy while moving to new technologies, whilst 74% of C-Suite executives believe legacy systems contain trapped value.

IT agility in action

We have applied these techniques to over 100 major organizations, empowering them to execute their own strategies much more efficiently and effectively.

After 300 acquisitions in 20 years, insurance broker Towergate embarked on one of the most comprehensive IT reboots and ambitious cloud migration transformations in the financial services industry. It took just 12 months to connect 4,500 employees, unite 300 businesses and lead to 30% annual savings.

Goldman Sachs
These techniques were used to create the new Marquee banking platform for Goldman Sachs. Marquee instantly pulls data about transactions, markets, research and emails into a data lake and applies machine learning algorithms to derive new insights and solutions to drive new value.

Evolve to Exponential IT

Every Exponential IT journey is unique. But the goal is the same: to increase IT agility in the short term, and evolve the core to a state of world-class IT agility where an organization’s technology and people create industry-leading innovation at a shark-fin pace without technical constraints—in the long term.

Are you ready to accelerate to Exponential IT?

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Edwin Van der Ouderaa

Senior Managing Director – Accenture Digital


The post-digital era is upon us
Driving new levels of efficiency and agility

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