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Looking to digital ecosystems for next waves of change – Accenture

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Article Synopsis :

As digital ecosystems like precision agriculture, the industrial internet and smart cities get closer to reality, organisations must evaluate how they can capitalise on these disruptions to derive optimal value for them.

 The Digital Insurer reviews Accenture’s Report on Predictable Disruption: Looking to digital ecosystems for the next waves of change

New digital ecosystems . . . which waves will you ride?  

In “Predictable Disruption: Looking to digital ecosystems for the next waves of change” Accenture explores emerging digital ecosystems and their contribution to potentially major technological and economic disruption.

The report suggests these ecosystems are already creating a foundation for new types of services. For example, in insurance, driving data from connected car platforms enables new services like autonomous driving and pay-per-mile insurance for players like Google, Tesla and Metromile. This also poses tough new questions for insurers and regulators such as who is at fault when two autonomous cars hit each other? Does personal auto insurance even exist for autonomous vehicles?

These ecosystems, due to their inherently asymmetrical growth, provide an opportunity for established industry players to re-imagine growth trajectories and explore new business opportunities, as depicted in the below diagram:

Though no doubt disruptive, digital ecosystem growth will be slow and in most cases predictable. Industry leaders must leverage this information building services and developing new partnerships to unlock business opportunities in the new era.

The paper sets forth a 465-day plan to help industry leaders understand the disruptive forces and opportunities of emerging ecosystems and take proactive measures:

Phase I (100-Day Plan)

  1. Appoint a C-suite sponsor to oversee a team responsible for championing your new ecosystem and digital partnership strategies.
  2. Take an inventory of the ecosystems related to your business and prioritize the list according to those with the greatest potential for impact on your organization. Leverage external industry experts to provide fresh perspectives on growing digital ecosystems.
  3. Have your team develop innovative ideas for how the organization will leverage emerging digital ecosystems. Envision your competitive position, new value chains, and new use cases for the ecosystems where you plan to compete.
  4. Craft a strategy that will bring these ideas to fruition. Start aligning resources, stakeholders, and investments necessary to forge this new path.

Phase II (365-Day Plan)

  1. Build partnerships supporting your ecosystem strategy. Identify key players in targeted digital ecosystems, choose your preferred alliances, and hold initial discussions.
  2. Pilot an initial foray into a digital ecosystem. Pick the one business process, product, or service that is best aligned with your prioritization of potential disruptions.
  3. Create new metrics to determine success in digital ecosystems. Develop these by tracking the progress of your pilot and use those insights to uncover potential indicators; iterate this process until you find metrics that can reliably measure success.
  4. Identify new skills demanded to support the expansion of your digital ecosystem strategy. What new technology skills are needed? Does your organization need experience in a specific industry? Develop a plan to acquire these high-priority skills.

 

Digital Insurer's Comments

Digital blurs the boundaries between industry insiders and outsiders. Insurers for example are exposed to threats not only from industry peers but also FinTechs, InsurTechs and ex-industry players such as Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Insurers undoubtedly own a dominant position in the means to produce insurance – financial capital, regulatory regimes, actuarial expertise, distribution and claims-processing networks.  Digital natives, however, increasingly own the means of reaching people who buy insurance.

Given the constraints on both sides it seems partnership is the optimal way forward. The framework suggested in this paper is an excellent guide for leaders weighing options.

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