Accenture: Middle East firms to lose $578bn by ignoring innovation

Majority of C-level executives in the UAE, Saudi Arabia lead firms that do not plan to increase innovation investments

Companies can lose billions of dollars if they ignore innovation.
Companies can lose billions of dollars if they ignore innovation.

The Accenture Middle East Innovation Maturity Index report, which surveyed 200 C-suite executives in the UAE and Saudi Arabia and covers 275 Middle East companies, has found that Middle Eastern businesses risk losing $578bn in “trapped” value, described by Accenture as the potential value that companies could realise if they adopted technology and innovation.

The report states that while executives in the region are aware of digital disruption trends, they are unprepared and reluctant to invest in innovation.

Among the executives surveyed, 80% say they expect their industry to be disrupted by innovation within the next three years, and 85% confirmed that less than a quarter of their company’s investments are being allocated to boost innovation.

Four in five executives said that their firms do not have plans to increase investment in innovation over the next five years.

According to the Accenture report, 7% of the Middle East's companies are innovating successfully by adopting structures and processes that allow them to be data-driven and “hyper-relevant” to customers by using digital tools and imbibing new methods of working. 

Accenture said these 'innovation champions' have the ability to stay ahead of the curve by building their foundation on data, operationalising data management and governance, converting data into actionable insights, and generating value from data.

Commenting on the findings, Accenture's digital lead in the Middle East, Xavier Anglada, said: “Companies must embrace innovation with a sense of urgency, or risk being disrupted.

"Closing the data value gaps will help Middle Eastern companies go a long way to reaching their innovation potential, especially in areas such as artificial intelligence.”

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