The Post-Digital Era is Upon Us - Insights from Accenture’s Analyst Conference 2019

"The Post-Digital Era is Upon Us" – This was the key message from two days at Accenture's Global Industry Analyst Conference 2019 and is also the headline of Accenture’s Technology Vision 2019.

Accenture is thinking about (and preparing for) what is coming after digital transformation while many companies are still stuck on their digitalization journey. This is the case for many industrial enterprises as well as public authorities, but also several consultancies and systems integrators still haven’t found their key to success in the new, digital era.

So, what does this mean for Accenture and its current strategy? The answer was given at the Global Analyst Conference on May 1 and 2, 2019 in San Francisco. Gene Reznik, Accenture’s Chief Strategy Officer, and Paul Daugherty, Chief Technology & Innovation Officer, shared their views on how the industries are changing. Notably, the speed of change will massively accelerate in the near future: It is expected that, over the next five years, enterprises will have to change even more than they did over the last two decades. It will be more of a disruption across all industries than a change.

Accenture positions itself as the partner of choice for this disruptive transformation. Its key strength is to support ongoing, continuous change – and Accenture is changing itself every single day.

The key element of Accenture’s strategy to position itself as the right partner for this transformation challenge is the concept of “the Wise Pivot”, focusing on two elements: first transforming the “core” and thus scaling the core of an enterprise business, and in parallel also building and scaling the “New” to develop and succeed in new business models. Accenture has a clear focus on client value and the delivery of (business) results.

Its approach is to increasingly address the business lines and IT, which, in Accenture's view, can no longer be considered as separate units. The aim is to drive end-to-end transformation for clients with multi-disciplinary teams working in iterative mode, and across Accenture's five businesses (representing the service value chain): strategy, consulting, digital, technology, and operations. In addition, we see Accenture Security, which is not a formal business unit but an approach that is embedded in all offerings and adapted to the respective industry's specific risk profiles and value chains.

Accenture puts innovation at the core of its business model – and it could provide a range of real-life references where it drove innovation for clients. Accenture sees its Innovation Formula as a combination of its vision (of the post-digital era) plus innovation architecture plus ecosystem. Accenture considers itself as a ‘platform’ that combines different elements into an innovative solution. Its innovation strength is manifested through the Accenture Innovation Architecture, which consists of six parts, each of which has been (and continues to be) significantly built out, namely:

  • Accenture Research: 300+ researchers to identify and anticipate industry and technology trends;
  • Accenture Ventures: partnerships with start-ups, entrepreneurs, investors, academic and corporate R&D groups, operating in 39 countries, engaged with 1,000+ start-ups and handling 33 focused minority investments with the aim of shaping emerging technologies;
  • Accenture Labs: running 7 major labs and a further 25 nano labs, focused on prototyping and applied R&D projects;
  • Accenture Studios: 50+ studios and 23 ‘Liquid’ studios across the globe for rapid development and prototyping of solutions/applications and the design/creation of digital services;
  • Accenture Innovation Centers: 100+ locations across technologies and 40+ across industries, focused on the demonstration and reuse of innovations as well as building and scaling industry solutions;
  • Accenture Delivery Centers: 50+ locations focused on scaling (industrializing) innovation.

A further key element of Accenture’s strategy to support change is its partner ecosystem, which not only is an incredibly broad partner network. The role Accenture is playing for several of its partners also underlines its strong strategic position for the tech giants. For example, Accenture is number one partner for:

  • AWS
  • SAP
  • Oracle
  • Salesforce
  • Microsoft
  • Alibaba Cloud

The relevance Accenture has for these key partners clearly helps it to be always at the heart of the tech players’ new strategic initiatives.

A third key pillar of how Accenture prepares itself and its customers for the “New” is talent management. Accenture invested $1 billion in new skilling and, interestingly, 60% of what Accenture is saving internally due to automation is invested into people skilling. This is not perceived as training costs, but as an investment in the future success of the company. Moreover, talent management is not only an internal topic for Accenture. Accenture Strategy's Talent & Organization Group comprises 5,000+ consultants helping customers realize what is considered the “winning experience”, notably the successful combination of employee experience plus customer experience plus workplace experience.

In this blog post I will not go into more detail about all the investment areas the Accenture execs shared with the analyst community, it would fill a report. However, I’d like to invite you to read teknowlogy Group’s vendor profile on Accenture (available to SITSI® subscribers).

Let me close with my personal view of what makes Accenture outstanding and why it is extremely well positioned to accompany large and upper midsized companies on their transformation journey and prepare them for upcoming disruptions:

  • Accenture is very fast in anticipating upcoming trends and changes, and is extremely focused on and committed to the measures needed to react to them.
  • Accenture is a ‘liquid’ organization, which is in an ongoing change mode. Considering the size of the company, it is even more impressive how fast Accenture is reacting internally but also in the way they make their customers successful.
  • Accenture created an innovation culture across the entire organization and is co-innovating with all leading tech companies but also embracing and leveraging the tremendous innovation power coming out of the start-up scene.

The combination of innovation and ecosystem with its own DNA to deliver business-oriented results (which is still their core belief) forms a core strength and brings Accenture into a top position as a transformation partner.