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Companies that are accelerating digital transformation and sustainability will emerge from the crisis first

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Europe is well positioned to emerge stronger from the crisis caused by the pandemic, but Italy and Spain are more pessimistic about resilience.

According to the Accenture study presented in the Davos 2021 framework, it will take an average of 18 months before returning to the levels of profitability that prevailed before the outbreak of the pandemic.

Data from a survey of more than 4,000 CEOs (360 in Italy) indicates that 49% of European companies have recorded a decline in revenue and profits in the past 12 months and do not expect major improvements this year, while 19% have excellent financial results but expect growth. Negative in revenues and profits.

32% of the so-called “leaders of tomorrow” are already seeing growth in the coming months: They are those companies that operate at the intersection between digital transformation and sustainability, and which, according to the report, are 2.5 times more likely than others to recover quickly.

Fallen angels. In contrast, there are those Accenture called “fallen angels”: they account for 19% of the sample and struggle to recover from the damage they have suffered as a result of the crisis. In Europe, only 4 industrial sectors expect to return to pre-crisis levels during 2021: healthcare, pharmaceuticals, software and platforms, communications, media and entertainment. In addition, European companies retreated from those in the Asia-Pacific region between May and November 2020, according to several chief executives.

croak. For 2021, 45% of European companies expect to achieve their growth targets: the UK, France and Germany are the most optimistic, while in Italy and Spain they are the most pessimistic. However, according to the study, European companies are well-positioned to reach the rating of “dual converters”, those companies that are able to work simultaneously on digital transformation and sustainability: Companies from the Old Continent have prioritized sustainability and technology in their strategies, both sectors ranking first in The minds of executives and investors, sustainability is being implemented on a large scale by European companies and in terms of technology, the gap is narrowing compared to the past, as 40% of respondents announced that they are investing heavily in artificial intelligence and cloud technologies.

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Twin shift. To complete the transformation that combines digital with sustainability according to Accenture, companies should prefer “ecosystem” business models, where sustainability is enabled by technology; They must pool resources to expand the technology’s applications in sustainable practices; Define KPIs that go beyond financial results; Asking partners to align their sustainability pathways; Pay attention to the human factor and the value of talent. “Companies that continue along the familiar path will be an impotent bystander to competitors who will become more competitive by exploiting the dynamics in their DNA base. Instead, they can follow suit and unleash the value found in the amalgamation of the most innovative technologies and European strengths. Traditionalism is like sustainability and solidarity, ”commented Fabio Benasso, President and CEO of Accenture Italy.

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