Middle East leaders investing in 'future-ready' operating models

10 March 2022 Consultancy-me.com 3 min. read
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One third of business leaders in the Middle East believe their firms will become ‘future-ready’ by 2025, as they invest in innovative operating models backed by digital technologies.

Based on a global survey of 1,100 senior-level executives and externally validated financial data, a new study from Accenture has assessed the levels of business operations maturity across the globe and the Middle East.

In the wake of the pandemic – which acted as a catalyst for digitalisation and change around the world – the number of companies being future-ready has risen drastically over the last three years.

Maturity levels of survey respondents - three years ago, today and three years from now

The research defines future-ready enterprises as “companies that transform how work gets done by using rich data for decision-making, augmenting people with artificial intelligence and employing agile workforce models with striking differences in digital adoption (cloud, data, automation, etc) and operational maturity.”

Future-ready enterprises reap the benefits – they are among others more capable of adjusting to fluctuating conditions, enjoy more effectiveness and efficiency in their performance, and can better drive their innovation agenda.

According to Accenture, globally 7% of companies have already achieved nearly twice the efficiency and three times the profitability of peers – and 1% of businesses in the Middle East have also joined this small core of leaders.

While this places Middle Eastern businesses behind the global average, they look set to make ground in the coming years, however. While 34% of firms globally expect their organisations to reach future-ready status in the next three years, 36% in the Middle East think they will hit the new high.

Performance bene t improvements by operational maturity level over the last three years

“Scaling is needed in data use and business-tech collaboration for organisations in the Middle East to close the gap between them and their global counterparts,” said Sumitha Das, Accenture's Intelligent Operations lead in the Middle East. “A focus on data is key to operational transformation. Without scaling data use, Middle East organisations may struggle to see benefits from analytics, automation, or artificial intelligence.”

While the Middle East still lags in being data-driven, adoption of data use at widespread or full-scale use has boomed from 16% three years ago, to 54% today. Middle East organisations have traditionally trailed when it comes to picking up leading practices in this area – but accelerating the data-driven nature of the region’s economy, 93% expect to achieve full-scale leading practices in the next three years.

Leading industries

The study found that when it comes to future readiness, automotive and insurance operators currently lead the field. Around 40% of automotive operators expect to be ‘future ready’ by 2023 – while 10% of insurance operators already are, and a further 32% will join that number by the end of the year.

The future-readiness of industries

In contrast, oil and gas operators – which the Middle East has in abundance – are lagging behind. This may be holding back the digitalisation of Middle Eastern economies compared to the global average.

The research predicts that, broadly applied, the acceleration of digital adoption and the resulting new agile ways of operating experienced post-pandemic could unlock $5.4 trillion in profitable growth for the global economy.