Accenture Enterprise Futures 2021 Report Identifies the Indicators to Information Corporations Navigating Change within the Period of Compressed Transformation

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE) – A new report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN) shows that while 88% of businesses finally have a clear picture of the challenges they are facing today, only 6% are completely confident they are currently able are to anticipate and respond to future disruptions. Business Futures 2021 aims to help executives understand a new reality by identifying the signals of business change that are reshaping companies around the world and that will be vital for executives to succeed today and beyond.

“The compressed timeframe for action in the face of last year’s disruption created a greater sense of urgency and gave companies the opportunity to increase their agility, explore new business models and build new skills that increase resilience,” said Annette Rippert, Group Chief Executive, Accenture Strategy & Consulting. “Our first report on the business future serves as an indispensable radar to help executives confidently navigate the signals of business change so they not only see their best futures, but capitalize on them.”

Long-term trends such as the increasing importance of experiences, greater acceptance of the cloud and changes in purchasing behavior have all been interrupted, accelerated or vice versa due to the pandemic. At the same time, new supply chains and business models were built in days instead of months, and the promise of new scientific breakthroughs was emphatically realized in months instead of years. In connection with far-reaching structural changes after more than a year of turbulence, a business environment was created that was ripe for reinvention, with a strong desire to look deeper into the future and better map the course and effects of change.

Six signals to prepare for the future of business

Building on an extensive list of 400 crowdsourcing trends, Accenture has partnered with outside consultants, academics and researchers to narrow the list down to 25 signals of business change. While all 25 signals are proven to be mature and have their greatest impact on companies within the next three years, six signals stand out that are crucial for the future success of companies and offer opportunities and incentives for managers to embrace change and break new ground find to grow, start today:

1) Learn from the future – see changes before they happen

As companies fundamentally rethink growth-enhancing business practices, focusing on historical data as a foundation for the future is challenging. In order to be able to make decisions more quickly, many companies are now collecting new data sets and using analyzes and artificial intelligence to recognize changing market and consumption changes, to react to them and to react to them in a targeted manner. The report finds that 77% of organizations have made more use of both internal and external sources for real-time data in the past 12 months, but only 38% say that employees across their organization are consistently using real-time data in their daily work . In addition, only 36% of organizations reported having a C-suite member responsible for these efforts, and less than half (43%) have sufficient skills within their workforce to support this ability.

2) marginalized – decentralize decision making

The global crisis has fragmented markets much more, creating different regions with their own systems of governance, economic models and cultural norms. At the same time, consumer behavior is changing rapidly as new competitors respond to changing needs. Companies respond by transferring decision-making powers to the fringes of their organization and creating a networked structure of teams that can act quickly and agile. When companies put their “assets” in a position to make most of the day-to-day operational decisions, they can free their headquarters to focus on important strategic decisions. The report found that 91% of companies are willing and able to act more like a broad business association to respond to increasingly fragmented business environments, and more than half (58%) say their business model will change in the next year will change.

3) Sustainable Purpose – Shift from purpose-oriented to purpose-oriented

Organizations recognize the need to pursue a purpose that benefits all of their stakeholders, but the gap between intentions and outcomes has grown. The purpose paradox shows the challenges with which sustainability must be integrated into the fabric of their business activities and obligations must be met for the benefit of all their stakeholders. The report found that 28% of executives say they don’t personally commit to delivering value to all stakeholders, and nearly half (48%) of companies say one of the biggest barriers is their business interests balance. However, there are signs that the tide is turning towards securing sustainability ambitions alongside profits. Only 24% of executives said they would consider cutting back on investments in environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives to avoid missing out on earnings forecasts.

4) Unlimited Supply – Break the physical limits of fulfillment

The global pandemic stretched supply chains like never before as companies took drastic steps to keep goods moving. To meet growing expectations for fast, flexible, affordable, responsible and sustainable order fulfillment, companies are pushing the physical boundaries of their supply chains and moving production to the point of demand. The report found that the majority (92%) of businesses have increased or plan to use micro-fulfillment centers; a similar number (96%) of organizations have or plan to create regional supply chains. Here, too, the focus on value for all stakeholders can be seen, because 80% of the companies state that their customers’ expectations of sustainability have risen significantly in the last 12 months.

5) Real Virtualities – redefine reality and place

As virtual environments grow up, the physical and virtual worlds blur and redefine our sense of reality and place, while creating new opportunities for people to live, work, consume and socialize. After a year of limited physical interaction, companies are doubling their virtual effort. 88% of companies are investing in technologies to create virtual environments and 91% of these companies are planning further investments. While current virtual reality (VR) technology primarily appeals to our senses of seeing and hearing, over time it will become more and more realistic, appealing to all of the senses and creating a stronger connection with the body.

6) The New Scientific Method – Become a Scientific Company

The pandemic has put scientific innovation in the spotlight and placed it high on the business agenda. While every business has become a digital company in the last decade, in the next decade every company must become a science company – and apply science to meet the world’s fundamental challenges. Working on the convergence of the new frontiers of science will open up radical opportunities, but only if organizations can improve their approaches to innovation. The report found that 83% of companies agree that a scientific approach to innovation will position them for future success, and 82% said investing in science outside of their traditional industry boundaries is critical to their company’s success.

“It’s clear that while companies were forced to adapt to last year’s compressed transformation, there is now a strong consensus that they need to proactively change their strategies, rethink their path and bring their people along to adapt to this new landscape adapt as they reinvent themselves. “For a radically different tomorrow,” added Rippert.

About research

Accenture used a three step process to create its 2021 business futures:

  • Crowdsource: 400 signals of business change were collected from more than 400 researchers and members of the Accenture network of experts, including representatives from business, science and civil society. We have synthesized this input into an initial list of 30 signals.
  • Prioritize: We then stressed the signals with our global community of more than 2,000 industry and function leaders at Accenture – with interviews, surveys and workshops – to refine the list of signals to 25, of which we prioritized six.
  • Test and prove: We then used mixed research methods to test and further substantiate the six prioritized signals. These methods included economic modeling, data science (using AI and natural language processing), and a global survey of 2,650 C-suite executives conducted from March to April 2021. Respondents were C-level executives from large companies based in 18 countries and spanning 20 industries.

About Accenture

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