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New Accenture/IMD World Competitiveness center study shows that top Swiss companies are becoming digital disruptors

Switzerland’s Top500 companies are showing greater digital ambitions, led by the Growth Champions, according to Top500 study by Accenture and IMD World Competitiveness Center
February 2016

Recognizing and then capturing the opportunities offered by digitization is at the heart of growth in Switzerland’s ‘Top500’ leading companies, according to the latest annual Top500 study conducted by Accenture (NYSE: ACN) in collaboration with the IMD World Competitiveness Center. This year’s study identifies 44 Swiss ‘Growth Champions’ that have grown faster than the other Top500 companies over a period of five years. Richemont, Sonova and Swatch have all achieved Growth Champion status for five years in a row.

Chemical industry companies notably remain Growth Champions since last year. And more than half the banks in the Top500 list are recognized as Growth Champions for the second consecutive year.

“The study focuses on how Swiss companies are reacting to the ongoing challenges of digitization and the effects digital is having on transforming company strategies,” said Thomas D. Meyer, Country Managing Director, Accenture Switzerland. “Swiss Growth Champions see themselves as disruptors within their industries, and therefore are taking on the mantle and activities of newer organizations which were once perceived as more innovative. This transformation is top-down, being led from the C-suite.”

The study finds that Growth Champions get the maximum benefit from digital by having advanced digital strategies and drawing greater profits from their digital activities. This is counteracting the negative economic effects of a soaring Swiss franc.

“The IMD World Competitiveness Center is a pioneer in analyzing how countries and organizations manage their resources and capabilities,” said Professor Arturo Bris, Director of the IMD World Competiveness Center. “Through our continuing partnership with Accenture we can recommend actions and strategies to help companies develop and grow, even as they face challenging economic conditions.”

Reshaping strategy for value creation

The study shows that digital is fundamentally reshaping strategies and business models, regardless of the industry, to find new ways of creating value, and for some sectors digital is also accelerating the pace of innovation. Growth Champions have put the right governance in place to enable them to derive the maximum benefits from digital.

Greater ambitions

Switzerland’s most successful companies have ambitious targets for rapid growth of their digital revenue over the next three years, and recognize the importance of increasing efficiency. Other companies, which expect more modest income, will need to find new strategies to gain greater revenues from their digital activities and drive efficiencies.

Swiss companies as digital disruptors

The study shows that, compared to other companies in the study, Growth Champions perceive themselves as disruptors within their industry. However, the financial services industry does not consider itself in the same way and continues to face the challenge of entrepreneurs entering and transforming the industry’s markets.

Recognizing that the creation of a digital culture within a successful company is led from the top, Chief Executive Officers or Chief Information Officers are most likely to be responsible for digital strategy within Growth Champions and other Top500 companies. Customers also lead the way for Growth Champions, whereas other companies tend to be driven by competitive pressures within their industry.

“The reticence of established companies to prioritize digital appears to be fading,” said Thomas D. Meyer. “Companies can derive insights from the behavior of now-matured Internet giants that serve as examples of a company tied firmly to a digital base. Swiss companies need to fully capture the opportunities offered by digital to maintain their growth and competitiveness.”

For more information, visit: www.accenture.ch/growth and https://wwwtest.imd.org/wcc/world-competitiveness-center/

Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network – Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With approximately 373,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives.

The IMD World Competitiveness Center is the world pioneer in the study of how nations and enterprises compete to lay the foundations for future prosperity. The center focuses on supporting government and corporate decision-making, through special reports, executive programs and its reference publication – the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook, published since 1989 and recognized as the leading annual report on the competitiveness of nations. The center is based at IMD – a top-ranked business school located in Lausanne, Switzerland.