Companies that excel at scaling technology innovation generate double the revenue growth of laggards, according to a massive survey by consulting firm Accenture.

Accenture surveyed more than 8,300 organizations across 20 industries and 22 countries to reveal the connection between technology adoption and growth.

New York-based Accenture said the vast study sheds important light on the enormous impact that technology investment and adoption have on a company’s financial performance and, most notably, uncovers the technology methods and mindsets of companies that are industry leaders.

Scoring method

Accenture’s largest-ever study was designed to help companies understand and close the innovation achievement gap — the difference between potential and realized value from technology investments. It measures both mature technologies and emerging ones like artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and extended reality.

It 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%) and which were “laggards” (bottom 25%).

Tracking performance indicators between 2015 and 2023 (projected), the study identifies the relationship between technology adoption and value achieved, finding that leaders grow revenue at more than twice the rate of laggards. Moreover, in 2018 alone, laggards surrendered 15% in annual revenue, and stand to potentially miss out on an astonishing 46% in revenue gains by 2023 if they do not change their enterprise technology approach.

Above: Accenture says those who excel at scaling tech can generate twice the revenue of laggards.

Image Credit: Accenture

“Today’s C-suite is investing staggering amounts of money in new technology, but not every company is realizing the benefits of innovation as a result of those investments,” said Bhaskar Ghosh, group chief executive of Accenture Technology Services, in a statement. “Laggard companies are deploying technology in pockets without a strategy for scaling, and as a result, are seeing only sporadic benefits and falling behind competitors. Our newest study reveals that the world’s leading companies are investing in boundaryless, adaptable and radically human systems to maximize innovation, business performance and value.”

What leaders believe

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, in Accenture parlance. Here’s what those terms mean:

  • 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 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 study, titled “Full Value. Full Stop.,” found that leader companies 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: Leaders are adopting powerful technologies such as AI at a rate of 98% compared to just 42% of laggards. Leaders are also using solutions that enable decoupled data, infrastructure, and applications. In fact, leader adoption of
    technologies such as DevSecOps, microservices, and containers far outpaces that of laggards: 97% versus 30%.
  • Embracing cloud computing: Leaders are far ahead when it comes to adopting cloud technologies as a way to effectively leverage other technologies, including AI and analytics. An overwhelming 95% of leaders see the cloud as a catalyst to innovation, compared to just 30% of laggards.
  • Treating data as a corporate asset: A full 90% of leaders take steps to ensure data quality rather than relying on data that is potentially unverified or biased. This means that 94% of leaders trust that their data is reliable enough to drive business change, compared with just 64% of laggards.
  • Managing technology investments across the enterprise: Leaders achieve better business alignment by effectively breaking down barriers between IT and other departments.
  • Upskilling their talent: Leaders are using experiential learning at nearly three times the rate of laggards: 73% versus 24%. 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 87% of leaders, but just 35% of laggards.

“Companies that can think in terms of systems, as opposed to point-solutions, stand to outpace others in terms of both revenue and margin growth. It starts with envisioning their own boundaryless, adaptable, and radically human future systems,” added Ghosh. “It continues with encouraging workers to experiment and present non-traditional ideas — both important components of learning and growing. While there is no fixed endpoint in the race to success, these attributes yield a competitive advantage and help close the innovation achievement gap.”