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Business in the fast lane: Accelerating intelligent, future-ready operations

Suvasish Mohapatra
Suvasish Mohapatra • 5 min read
Business in the fast lane: Accelerating intelligent, future-ready operations
Organisations must seize the opportunity to accelerate their digital journey to be future-ready.
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Accenture’s recent research has revealed that operating model maturity is advancing among organisations in all industries. Insights from the research pointed to four levels of operational maturity: stable, efficient, predictive, and future-ready. Each level is grounded in and enabled by progressively more sophisticated technology, talent, processes, and data insights.

Future-ready organisations are fully focused on digital transformation, to gain the agility and resilience needed to thrive amid uncertainty. This includes leveraging rich data for decision-making, augmenting human talent with artificial intelligence (AI), and employing agile workforce models. At the top, future-ready organisations realise higher efficiency and derive more profit as they tend to be 1.7x more efficient (lower operating expenses per dollar of revenue), and 2.8x more profitable than those at other levels of operational maturity.

Charting the path to future-readiness

However, the research also revealed that only 7% of organisations can be qualified as ‘future-ready’. For instance, the insurance industry is leading the way with 10% of operationally mature businesses, followed closely by the consumer goods and services industry at nine percent, and banking at 6%.

These findings suggest that the stability of an organisation is no longer sufficient to ensure longevity. Instead, organisations must seize the opportunity to accelerate their digital journey to be future-ready. Looking ahead, businesses need to build intelligence and resilience into their operations— especially in the face of rapidly evolving consumer demands, and the advent of aggressive, digitally native competitors.

While the path to future-readiness is not necessarily linear, how can organisations keep pace with the challenges of today, while steeling themselves for the disruptions of tomorrow?

The race to future-proof

I. Keep the ultimate goal in mind

Firstly, organisations need to realise that transforming the operating model is not digitising for digitisation’s sake. Rather, true transformation happens when business and technology functions start with the end goal in mind and align to co-create the organisation’s strategic road map.

In the banking sector, for instance, findings indicate that while only 11 percent of banks are scaling business-technology collaboration today, 43 percent are already charting this for their future. This move away from siloed departments will serve to strengthen collaborative ties across organisations, and accelerate intelligent innovation for banks — positioning them to thrive even amid a challenging landscape.

II. Take easy steps — automation, augmentation, AI and cloud

Another fundamental step to achieving future-ready operational maturity is automating at scale, augmenting human talent with technology, and committing to making data-driven decisions with AI and cloud.

Organizations in the consumer goods and services sector have made impressive strides in automation and the use of data. In recent years, Accenture’s findings indicate that the number of organisations adopting wide or full-scale automation have grown three-fold, and nearly three-fourths have achieved wide or full-scale adoption of data use.

However, many organisations still fall short of unlocking the full operational benefits of automation and AI, until they have fully scaled data and cloud use. Beyond the ability to digitise labour or time-intensive processes, automation presents an opportunity for businesses to augment human talent and drive operational maturity.

See also: Banks need to create 'emotional connection' with customers amid digital banking roll-out: Accenture

Technology continues to alter the way people work and can free up precious time and resources for organisations — which can then be channelled into higher-value, strategic tasks that shift the needle for businesses. This in turn drives employee productivity and satisfaction, which ultimately translates into improved service delivery for customers, with positive impact to the business bottom-line.

III. Leapfrog operational maturity levels

In today’s highly saturated and rapidly evolving business landscape, organisations no longer have the luxury of maintaining their operational status quo. Being future-ready requires a flexible operating model. For those lagging on digital maturity, it is time to leapfrog operational maturity — beginning with strong ecosystem partnerships.

For example, some 53 percent of insurers have reported a rise in their ecosystem partnerships over the years, and over 44 percent have seen an increased focus on partnerships as a result of the pandemic. Tie-ups with other organisations in the industry and beyond can provide a strong platform for businesses to retain their core operational systems and processes, while expanding their offerings, receiving transformed services, reducing costs, and accelerating their transformation journey.

For instance, insurers can look to forge partnerships that drive attractive new market offerings for consumers. Just last year, digital payments firm Revolut partnered NTUC Income to offer flexible micro-insurance offerings on Revolut’s app; a service that enabled customers to purchase Income’s insurance products from their savings, resulting in a mutually beneficial win for both parties.

Keeping pace with change

In today’s fast-paced environment, businesses must take a “never satisfied” approach to their journey to operational maturity. To keep up with the rapid changes happening externally, they need to first evolve internally. With intelligent operations, businesses can carve out a competitive advantage for themselves: lowering costs, increasing resilience, and elevating customer experiences to the next level.

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The opportunity for change is here, and it is time for businesses to scale new levels of operational maturity that empower them to choose smarter, act faster and win sooner. It is time to become future-ready.

Suvavish Mohapatra is operations lead, Southeast Asia at Accenture.

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