Even though chief strategy officers globally know that digital disruption will reshape their industries, few are ready for the change, according to a survey by Accenture. In a decade, 75 percent of today’s leading industry players will be gone.

For the report ‘Thriving on Disruption’, the Accenture Institute for High Performance surveyed 561 CSOs across 10 industries in 11 countries, and found that while 93 percent agree that new technologies will rapidly change their industry in the next five years, only 20 percent are well prepared for sudden industry disruption.

“Rapid and disruptive change is coming, regardless of the industry that you operate in,” said Paul Nunes, managing director, Accenture Institute for High Performance. “Current economic outlook suggests that based on the declining lifespan of companies, 75 percent of today’s leading industry players will be gone within the next decade.

Who will survive?

Those that survive are taking steps now, Accenture suggests. We suspect this will also open up numerous opportunites for startups to replace industry players in whole or in part with disruptive tech.

Nunes continues, “Our research shows that although some companies aren’t ready for this disruption, they can borrow from the playbook of those who are by ensuring they don’t face it alone and make strategic investments in technology platforms that support more collaborative operating models.”

Almost all of the best-prepared CSOs (95 percent) say that their company growth agendas over the next five years rely on collaborative partnerships and that they actively use this strategy to support innovation and research and development, as compared to only half of those who admit they are less prepared.

Companies that are disruption-ready are:

  • 34 percent more likely than those less prepared to partner with: advertising agencies,
  • innovation companies (26 percent more likely),
  • design service providers (24 percent more likely)
  • and even customers (26 percent more likely). T
  • hey are also 36 percent more likely to collaborate with companies beyond their traditional industry boundaries,
  • and 32 percent more likely to align with companies they consider direct competitors.

“As digital disruption breaks down the walls of established industries, it’s time for companies to rethink their approach to business strategy,” said Peter Lacy, managing director, Accenture Strategy. “In order to successfully navigate industry convergence and strengthen their network of alliances to build truly collaborative operating models, they must shift their mindset to compete as a ‘cluster,’ not as a single company, creating shared value for their alliance partners and customers.”

The benefits of platform-based business

A significant majority (88 percent) of CSOs who claim to be very well prepared for industry disruption have already begun investing heavily in platform-based business models and will continue to do so into the future. This compares to only 42 percent of those who admit they are less prepared.

Among the group of CSOs who are actively investing in these platforms, those that achieve the greatest benefits are far more likely than their peers to build operating models that are collaborative and open. They embed collaboration into their culture through incentives, and revise their internal processes and technologies to make external collaboration ever more seamless.

“Platform companies are successful because they capitalize on the innovation of an entire ecosystem versus only leveraging resources within a company,” Lacy continued. “Business that are well prepared for disruption are building their growth strategy on platforms and, as a result, are more likely to survive the disruption and gain competitive advantage.”