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Being digital: Fast-forward to the right digital strategy

Business leaders seeking to respond rapidly to digital disruption need the right digital strategy to compete and win.


Today, business leaders recognize that digital technologies create new threats and opportunities. In Accenture Strategy research among 700 business leaders globally, a majority identified large digital players or start-ups as the greatest competitive threat to profitable growth.

Business leaders have aspirations for their organization to be a “digital leader” in their particular industry. But these aspirations are not necessarily translating into actions.

Business leaders must consider a strategic approach that takes account of:

  • One direction, multiple speeds and layers

  • Several horizons, sequencing multiple bets

  • Direct actions, experimenting intelligently

Accenture Strategy identifies what makes digital leaders different and how to build digital strategy confidence and competency to drive value and grow.


39 percent of executives want their organizations to be digital leaders in their industries.

Key Findings

Accenture Strategy asked business leaders about their approach to digital strategy and found differences between those with the ambition to be digital leaders and those with a fast follower or “wait and see” attitude. Digital leaders demonstrate three core differences:

  • Growth focus: Digital leaders set digital strategies for revenue growth and new business models—while followers focus on fixing the short-term cost and efficiency issues.

  • External empathy: Digital leaders are proactively and provocatively engaging customers and start-ups—while followers tend to react to incumbents’ digital efforts.

  • Agility: Digital leaders organize for speed and adaptability. They appoint senior leaders, they create new digital governance structures and leverage external partners—while followers treat digital investments as functional issues and prefer to “go it alone.”


Build digital strategy confidence and competency by keeping the following factors in mind:

  • Think in actions, not just ambitions: An implementation mind-set that prioritizes value is at the heart of digital strategy. Do not wait by being a follower.

  • Win through a series of sprints: Match the external rate of change with an internal ability to change by being too focused to fail. Executing multiple initiatives enables success to become viral, which is the essence of agility.

  • Embrace change at the edge: Customer experience occurs at the front line, not in the back office. Adapt to new ways of working in real time, blending human and digital resources and frequently experimenting.

  • Place a premium on results and experience: Be prepared to identify failure—understand what to pursue and when to move on. Reckon on disregarding 80 percent of ideas and nurture the ones that deserve to grow.

Learn more about Accenture Strategy