Most firms face limited growth due to ‘innovation achievement gap’

Photo by Razvan Chisu

While a majority of CEOs express strong confidence in the effectiveness of their current information technology (IT) systems, most are struggling to achieve levels of innovation that drive growth and revenue, according to a report by Accenture.

Titled “Your Legacy or Your Legend? A CEO’s Guide to Getting the Most Out of New Technologies,” the report is based survey data from more than 8,300 organisations across 20 countries and 885 CEOs.

Results show that just 10% of companies are making optimal technology investment and adoption decisions and realising the full value of those investments.

By adopting new technologies more aggressively and breaking down barriers to effectively scale innovation across their organisations, these leading companies are generating more than twice the rate of revenue growth than those on the lower end of the spectrum. 

At the same time, the study found that 80% of CEOs believe they have the right technologies in place to innovate at scale, and 70% claim to be very knowledgeable of their organisation’s investments in innovation.

“Most companies are risking significant future revenue growth because of the gap between the potential and realised value of their technology investments,” said Paul Daugherty, Accenture’s chief technology and innovation officer.

As part of its study, Accenture identified five key factors — or “PATHS” — that distinguish the top 10% of companies from the rest:

First is Progress, the extent to which companies apply new technology to evolve business processes across the enterprise. One example is the use of cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) to increase the effectiveness of multiple business processes rather than working in silos.

Second is Adaptation, ensuring that IT systems can adapt and respond to changing market conditions with actions such as decoupling from legacy systems and using cloud services as a catalyst for innovation.

Third is Timing, Creating an appropriate sequence and roadmaps for deploying new technology. This begins with identifying foundational technologies and prioritising adoption based on their enterprise-wide impact.

Fourth is Human + machine workforce, using technologies to augment employees and make work more engaging while simultaneously realising efficiency gains. This could entail delivering technology augmented training that is personalised and experiential for working with technologies of the future.

Fifth is Strategy, actively aligning business strategy and IT strategy and weaving technology investments together to better seize opportunities.