New research from Accenture shows that Canadian companies with a carefully calibrated strategy toward technology adoption and a clear vision for what their companies' future systems should look like, are growing revenue at 2.5 times the rate of companies that are struggling to scale innovation.
The global report, Full Value. Full Stop. How to scale innovation and achieve full value with Future Systems, tracked performance indicators between 2015 and 2023 (projected). It compares companies that are "Leaders," those building enterprise systems capable of scaling innovations repeatedly, with "Laggards," those adopting technologies, but in a piecemeal fashion.
Looking at an illustrative model of a company with US$10 billion in revenue in 2015, the research found that between 2015 and 2018, a Laggard in Canada would have surrendered US$4 billion in annual revenue and stands to potentially miss out on an astonishing 43 percent – US$22 billion – in revenue gains by 2023 if it does not change its enterprise technology approach.
The report is based on a global survey of more than 8,300 organizations across 20 countries, including 313 companies in Canada. It is designed to help companies understand and close the innovation achievement gap, which is the difference between potential and realized value from technology investments. The research sheds important light on the enormous impact that technology investment and adoption have on a company's financial performance and most notably, the mindsets and behaviors of companies that are industry leaders.
"Today's C-suite is investing staggering amounts of money into new technology, but not every company realizes the benefits of innovation that results from those investments," said Nicholas Bayley, managing director and head of Accenture Strategy in Canada. "Canadian companies that want to be successful in today's post-digital, data-driven economy need future enterprise systems that allow them to innovate at scale while unlocking value currently trapped by legacy systems and processes."
The report scored companies on three important dimensions: technology adoption, depth of technology adoption, and organizational and cultural readiness. By assigning a score for each of these key factors, the study determined which companies were 'Leaders' (top 10 percent) and which were 'Laggards' (bottom 25 percent).
Fundamentally, Leaders believe that humans and machines can bring out the best in each other while companies and their ecosystems can form mutual alliances. It's one reason they're motivated to build future systems that are boundaryless, adaptable and radically human, which the study defines as follows:
• Boundaryless: Boundaryless systems take advantage of blurring boundaries—within the IT stack, between companies, and between humans and machines—to create new spaces where ideas and partnerships flourish.
• Adaptable: Adaptable systems learn, improve and adapt by themselves, eliminating the friction that hinders business growth and empowering humans to make better decisions, exponentially faster.
• Radically Human: Radically human systems talk, listen, see and understand just like we do, bringing elegant simplicity to every human-machine interaction and creating tomorrow's advantage.
The Future Systems research found that Leaders exhibit a distinct mindset and approach to enterprise-wide technology adoption and organizational transformation – often in stark contrast to Laggards.
Specifically, Leaders are:
• Adopting fast, flexible technologies: In Canada, Leaders are adopting powerful technologies such as microservice architectures, containers and Kubernetes at a rate of 100 percent compared to just 20 percent of Laggards. Leaders are also using solutions that enable decoupled data, infrastructure and applications.
• Embracing cloud computing: Leaders are far ahead when it comes to adopting cloud technologies as way to effectively leverage other technologies, including AI and analytics. A full 100 percent of Canadian Leaders see the cloud as a catalyst to innovation, compared to just 33 percent of Laggards.
• Treating data as a corporate asset: A full 94 percent of Leaders in Canada take steps to ensure data quality rather than relying on data that is potentially unverified or biased. This means that Leaders trust that their data is reliable enough to drive business change, compared with just 35 percent of Laggards.
• Managing technology investments across the enterprise: Leaders in Canada – 100 percent of them – are achieving better business alignment by effectively breaking down barriers between IT and other departments.
• Upskilling their talent: Leaders are using experiential learning at more than three times the rate of Laggards in Canada and globally. AI and advanced analytics in areas such as personalized learning, predicting worker skills needs, and matching worker skill requirements with training modules are being used by 88 percent of Leaders, but just 27 percent of Laggards in Canada.