Photo: Nick Taylor, ASEAN Technology Lead, Accenture
In the world of technology, a lot has happened in five years—especially when you consider most of it has been clouded by economic uncertainty. When Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, 11 million iPhones had been sold. Today the figure has reached 400 million. In 2008, there were no Android apps, Spotify didn't exist, and printers printed in two dimensions. But it's not just the rapid adoption of new digital technologies that impresses. It's what they are being used for and how they are transforming traditional sectors beyond recognition.
There's no doubt that digital technology has made it easier for companies to respond more quickly, improve productivity, exercise more control over inventories and boost efficiency. Yet, even as we see how effective cloud, social, mobile and analytics technologies can be in automating routine processes and turning vast amounts of data into actionable intelligence, these technologies are but a prelude to something more profound.
Companies are using digitally fuelled technology to create new, visionary business models that are unlocking opportunities in entirely new industry segments and opening doors to new customer markets. This is resulting in higher growth than would be possible by remaining tethered to traditional business models.
Recognising the potential that digital can offer, many top executives are quickly moving beyond questioning how to get the most out of cloud and mobility and asking bigger, broader questions, such as "How do I reinvent my company?" and "How do I become the leader in digital customer engagement in my industry?"
The research, published by Accenture at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, revealed not just how companies are open to new technologies, but more significantly, how they are changing their entire business and operating models on the back of them. While 64 percent of the C-level executives we surveyed expect their companies to continue to focus on growth within their current industry, almost as many—60 percent—plan to pursue growth in or in collaboration with other sectors.
It is precisely by joining forces with once distinct industries that is creating what we call digitally contestable markets. As companies from multiple sectors collaborate to provide new value and new customer experiences, the boundaries dividing these sectors are dissolving. Consumers are becoming less interested in which company or sector is providing these experiences and services. And we are finding that these new markets are offering higher growth than is being enjoyed within traditional sectors.
Collaboration between sectors often starts when digitally-enabled companies find new life through enhancements that expand their products or services well beyond their originally intended use, which attracts new buyers in new industries.
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