Accenture: the shift to digital platform economies

By Georgia Wilson
Business Chief takes a look at the digital platform economies landscape in South Africa through the eyes of Kirtan Sita at Accenture. With the advancem...

Business Chief takes a look at the digital platform economies landscape in South Africa through the eyes of Kirtan Sita at Accenture.

With the advancement of algorithms and coding Kirtan Sita, Managing Director within the Technology Practice at Accenture in Africa details that “the internet has become a space not just for communicating, but also for audience segmentation, customer interaction, e-commerce and a whole new way of doing business.”

Sita explains that the business world has evolved from using the internet economy - harnessing internet connectivity to communicate with stakeholders - into a digital economy in which all economic processes, transactions, interactions, and activities are based on digital technologies. 

This fast shift towards digital platform economies in which social activity is facilitated by platforms is becoming "more than just commercial transactions and includes collaboration between businesses, facilitating partnerships, hosting meetings and enabling most business operations to be performed remotely. Digital-everything-everywhere is here today and the “future” is now,” emphasises Sita. 

Platform economies: the next big thing 

“The word Platform is probably one of the most important words in the Post-Modern Digital Era,” adds Sita. “Platforms are an online space where partners and ecosystems come together to offer differentiated experiences or solutions, and businesses that understand this well can fully leverage their Digital Platforms to do so.” Accenture sees platform economies being the next disruption for all industries. 

In a recent paper the company found more than 85% of South African companies are vulnerable to future disruption or are already facing disruption. In a series of surveys the company also discovered that executives of top South African companies are not prepared for disruption (one in two), with 75% expecting their industry to be disrupted by innovations in the next three years and only 16% are satisfied that their innovation efforts will position them well to overcome future disruption. 

“To successfully participate in the Platform Economy, it is fundamental to have a clear digital strategy that articulates the different roles of partners in the ecosystem, what data is important, and the actions to ensure the business competes successfully amidst disruption.”

Thriving in the age of digital disruption

Sita highlights that “companies that thrive in the age of disruption build deliberate innovation structures and strategies. These high-growth companies aim for disruptive growth rather than being incremental about it, and innovate by design, i.e. innovation is part of their strategy.They balance innovation between old and new and make sure innovation is quantifiable.”

These types of companies have a culture of innovation with a well-designed innovation architecture that has a clear process for moving innovation from an idea, through to research and development and mass-market commercialisation.

Sita concludes that companies that will survive the disruption of the Platform Economy adopt the seven innovation practices: data-driven, hyper relevant, talent rich, technology propelled, asset smart and network powered.

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For more information on business topics in Africa, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief EMEA.

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