Companies who amplified their technology investments during pandemic lockdown were able to extend their growth advantage over others.
Leading companies that amplified their technology investments during the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly extended their growth advantage over competitors, according to new research from Accenture.
The newly released report, “Make the Leap, Take the Lead,” revealed the indispensability of technology during one of the most disruptive times in history. ‘Leaders’ are now growing revenue at five times the rate of ‘laggards’.
In the research, leaders who represented the top 10 per cent of companies in the sample were defined as those that showed their strength in adopting new technologies across their organisation thereby creating a large and growing innovation achievement gap between themselves and others. Laggards on the other hand, who represented the bottom 25 per cent of the sample, were defined as companies who have invested in newer technologies for the first time over the past year, just to keep their companies operational.
The APAC data released today found that overall, technology adoption in APAC has increased to 90 per cent (89 per cent in South East Asia) in 2021, from 80 per cent (85 per cent in South East Asia) just two years ago in 2019.
As the pandemic intensified, leaders have since doubled down on their technology investments and scaled innovation across their organisation. For example, 72 per cent of Leaders in APAC (51 per cent in South East Asia) have invested in Internet of Things (IOT), and 74 per cent (46 per cent in South East Asia) in cloud security.
A new category of companies have emerged, called the ‘leapfroggers’ (18 per cent of the entire global sample). Leapfroggers are breaking previous performance barriers to catch up with leaders and outpace peers. They excel at shifting their mindset and viewing potential downturns as opportunities to innovate with new technology. Scaling new innovations became the #1 priority for leapfroggers during the pandemic, and 67 per cent seek to aggressively increase revenue from non-core business lines.
Leapfroggers have a high “Flip Size”, which means they are actively shifting their IT budget from operations-related activity to innovation-related activity (from 70 per cent to 30 per cent)—speeding up software development cycles, changing business processes and building new capabilities.
Leapfroggers set themselves apart through three strategic steps:
- Replatform, prioritising cloud and moving the majority of workloads to cloud to build Systems Strength, reduce redundant technologies and disconnected data across the IT stack while gaining computing power and flexibility. 80 per cent of Leapfroggers had adopted some form of cloud technology by 2017, but that figure rose to 98 per cent by 2020.
- Reframe, choosing to adopt an innovation-led technology strategy, shifting their focus, changing their mindsets, and treating potential downturns as opportunities to innovate with new technology. APAC companies, on average, reported higher levels of technology adoption during COVID-19 as compared to other regions with 59 per cent of APAC companies adopting information technology processes during the start of the pandemic, as compared to 54 per cent of global companies.
- Reach, expanding access to technology across internal business functions and embracing a broader value agenda by addressing personalised employee upskilling, well-being, and mental health. Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of Leaders prioritise employee happiness by providing digital-based flexible work arrangements, compared to just 43 per cent of Laggards.
Accenture’s study is based on a global survey of 4,300 global executives across 25 countries and across 20 industries, which includes 1,150 APAC executives and 200 Southeast Asian executive.