Some fascinating findings have emerged from Accenture’s recent report – ‘Thriving on Disruption’ – which polled Chief Strategy Officers (SCOs) to better understand business’ readiness for digital disruption.
The report looked at those firms that have effectively positioned themselves to not only survive, but to dramatically benefit from powerful technology forces that are reshaping their industries and changing the very essence of competitive advantage.
Perhaps the most significant finding was that those firms best-positioned, even ‘future-proofed’, in the age of digital disruption, showed far higher levels of collaboration and partnerships.
“What we found is that the most disruption-ready companies are much more likely than peers to be collaborating and partnering more deeply around a wider variety of activities – from innovation, to distribution, to design, to marketing,” notes the report.
Disruption-beating partnerships are not only of greater intensity and commitment, but they’re often unconventional, adds the report… such as with direct competitors, with players from completely unrelated industries, or with unusual companies that have a reputation for innovation and invention.
“Using collaborative partnerships, these companies are building a capacity to pivot on their core strengths – with the potential to grow into entirely new offerings as their industries shift and evolve,” explains the report.
Generally speaking, CSOs looking to navigate their organisations through digital disruption should be pivoting in three related directions:
Industry to Ecosystem… Winning companies are radically re-gearing, shifting resources away from their core offerings and investing outside their traditional lines of business. They’re focusing on technology and broader societal changes happening outside their industry, expecting the unexpected and staying agile in their forecasting practices.
Leveraging the Platform… Successful firms are able to link the value propositions to partners in their network, slotting into new and ever-unfolding ecosystems and value chains. Even seemingly one-dimensional businesses are finding new personas in the digital era. Think of apparel manufacturer Under Armour, for example, which has invested more than half a billion dollars in acquiring two popular fitness metrics services, furthering its goal to become the world’s largest tracker of fitness information.
Operate with Openness… It’s more than just cleverly capitalising on new technologies, as those successful firms have shown, shaking off entrenched business processes, outdated corporate cultures, and closed-off R&D practices. “In the era of big bang disruption,” says the report, “companies that remain cut off from a broader ecosystem could be forfeiting their future relevance entirely.”
But, thriving in an era of ‘big bang disruption’ can be tricky.
The report revealed a strange dichotomy where 80% of CSOs admit that new technologies have already rapidly changed their industry over the past 5 years. However, out of the over-500 CSOs polled, “not a single strategy executive mentioned any attempt at disrupting their own industries first. In fact, few had any specific plans at all for weathering disruptive innovation."
At OutSystems, we agree with the report, which advises organisations to quickly overcome this state of inertia, and move towards platform-based, ecosystem-ready business models.
But to become a platform business – the likes of Uber, Alibaba, or Under Armour – organisations need to own and expose to others the tools for value to be created and exchanged.
As we wrote about in a recent blog: “Platform companies are orchestra conductors, creating digital platforms and strategies that are attractive enough for natural network effects to take hold – creating self-perpetuating ecosystems that grow in usefulness for each participant.”
In fact, Accenture’s paper refers to 6 key benefits that platform models enable, increasing their chances of thriving in times of this ‘big bang disruption’:
Offer more value to our customersGrow the business through network effectsEnhance the business’ sustainabilityEnable a greater focus on key, value-adding activitiesAttract new customers from outside one’s traditional customer baseShare and diffuse market risks among a wider array of partners
When it comes to creating successful strategies, it seems partnerships go hand in hand with platforms, helping firms to navigate digital disruption.
It’s for this reason that we encourage our partners, customers, and other interested parties to explore the power of the OutSystems platform: a globally-successful and easy-to-deploy low-code development environment that could be just the answer to your Strategy questions?