The world is future-focused at the moment–but few organizations have business operations that are truly prepared for the future, according to a new report.
In a global survey of more than 1,100 C-suite and VP-level executives, Accenture rated respondent organizations across four levels of intelligent operations, finding that just 2% of organizations were “future-ready,” the most sophisticated level.
The rating was based on employers’ progress in four dimensions: data, technology, processes and talent.
The few organizations that were rated “future-ready” excelled in a number of areas. When it comes to technology, they are relying on cloud, blockchain and AI, specifically using the latter at scale to generate robust data. They employ an agile workforce and use end-to-end digitized processes. On the other end of the spectrum, “stable” organizations use foundational tools and technologies, have siloed or incomplete data, employ a human-only workforce with no machine augmentation and rely on processes that are non-standardized and fragmented.
Despite few organizations being future-ready today, 21% of those surveyed expect to reach that level within two years.
What it means for HR leaders
The Accenture report identified a number of barriers that could be stopping organizations from reaching the top threshold of intelligent operations.
Data is key to attaining that status, researchers wrote, as nearly three-quarters of CEOs surveyed said they’re designing their operating model around data, as opposed to executive insight. In particular, HR operations must be driven by metrics, including around hiring, retention, promotions, and diversity, equity and inclusion. Organizations must also be prepared to utilize full-scale automation and rely on cloud operations, yet only 52% of CEOs reported that their organization are applying at scale.
Tackling silos that separate IT and other departments is another priority, and one that’s on many organizations’ radars: 86% of future-ready organizations said they expect their business and technology functions to collaborate fully in the next two years, up from 55% today.
Manish Sharma, group chief executive of Accenture Operations, says future-ready organizations “recognize that digital maturity is about maximizing innate human potential. These leaders understand that it’s not technology surrounded by people that drives success but rather emphasizing the human skills that distinguish us from machines.”
As talent becomes even more critical to business success, Sharma says, “organizations must advance technology, processes and skills in parallel–while ensuring gains in employee experience, training, and development and opportunities for career advancement.”
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