Accenture Identifies Imperatives for Business, Government In Times of Economic Uncertainty

DAVOS, Switzerland; Jan. 28, 2009 – Companies seeking to improve business performance in the midst of the current global economic crisis should focus on three strategic objectives in 2009, according to Accenture (NYSE: ACN):

  • create new geographic options that enable them to go to multiple markets to find what they need, be it new customers, talented workers, capital and raw materials;
  • focus on building authentically local businesses in each of the markets they serve; and
  • build or adapt global networks to enable them to move people and information across their organizations quickly, efficiently and effectively.

These are among the conclusions Accenture has drawn from two studies that address critical issues in both the public and private sectors. The studies, which will be unveiled at the 2009 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, focus on what Accenture calls the “multi-polar world,” characterized by multiple centers of economic power and business activity – in newly emerging markets and the more well established markets of the United States, Western Europe and Japan.

“Strategies for Achieving High Performance in a Multi-polar World – Global Choices for Global Challenges,” is Accenture’s third report on the evolving multi-polar global economy. The report is based on a survey of business executives in all major industries in 53 developed and emerging markets. It details how high-performance businesses — companies that consistently outperform their peers across business and economic cycles — from both developed and emerging economies are achieving their success through differentiated goals, strategies and beliefs in today’s multi-polar world.

“The Challenges to Government from the Multi-Polar World,” a new report from Accenture’s Institute for Public Service Value, looks at how the growing economic strength of emerging-market countries is leading governments to operate in new ways.

“Our latest research, as well as our ongoing research on high performance, point to a growing need for companies to master several key operational imperatives to achieve success, particularly during difficult economic times: rapid and sustained cost management; customer acquisition and retention; operational excellence; and an effective mergers & acquisitions program,” said Mark Foster, Accenture’s group chief executive–Management Consulting & Integrated Markets. “They must also learn how to deal with the potential of more government intervention and regulation as governments throughout the world move to calm markets and stabilize their economies.”

According to Foster, companies that create geographic options, become more entrenched in the local markets they serve and develop strong networks across their organizations will have the best chance of winning in such business battlegrounds as developing and recruiting the best talent and securing resources. “This has become increasingly important as economic interdependence across geographies has increased and dispersed the balance of economic power away from the United States, Europe and Japan,” he said.

Among the key findings of “Strategies for Achieving High Performance in a Multi-polar World – Global Choices for Global Challenges”:

  • High-performance businesses were more than twice as likely as companies with low performance (44 percent vs. 20 percent) to say that accessing new talent pools drives their investments in foreign markets to a significant or great extent.
  • Nearly nine out of 10 high performers – compared with fewer than six of 10 of companies with low performance – establish their own academies to augment technical skills and build management proficiencies. In addition, 92 percent partner with external stakeholders such as governments and local communities to meet long-term needs.
  • 73 percent of high performers, compared with 59 percent of low-performance companies, experiment with new business models to appeal to new customers in local markets.

“The Challenges to Government from the Multi-Polar World” identifies five strategic hurdles that governments must overcome to succeed in the multi-polar world:

  • Developing national talent. Governments need to develop coordinated and flexible talent-management strategies to compete effectively in the global economy.
  • Managing the movement of people and money. Governments need well-planned and coordinated social, economic and immigration policies to meet the needs of workers and industry and enable the mobility of people, capital and goods.
  • Enhancing social infrastructure. Education, health and social-benefits policies and programs are crucial aspects of attracting investment and enabling citizens and businesses to compete and prosper.
  • Protecting national security. The growth of international trade and migration, alongside new threats to security, is forcing governments to improve their approaches to customs, transit and immigration security systems.
  • Ensuring environmental sustainability. Addressing environmental degradation while ensuring economic competitiveness is a major issue for all governments, driving the need for country-by-country action plans and stronger efforts at cross-border and international collaboration.

About the research

“Strategies for Achieving High Performance in a Multi-polar World – Global Choices for Global Challenges” — Accenture’s third report on the evolving “multi-polar” global economy “draws on two major research components. First, between March and November 2008, Accenture undertook extensive secondary research into the global strategies and operations of more than 100 companies. Second, Accenture conducted a quantitative survey to discover how companies are shaping their strategies in response to the latest trends in economic globalization. The field work was carried out through an online worldwide survey, conducted between August and October 2008. The survey was completed by 375 companies, including 45 high-performance businesses.

“The Challenges to Government from the Multi-Polar World” report is based on extensive secondary research and discussions with Accenture industry and policy experts as well as the company’s experience working with leading companies and governments around the world.

About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With more than 186,000 people serving clients in over 120 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$23.39 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2008. Its home page is