The Future Belongs to Intelligent Operations


In today’s increasingly disruptive and complex world, change comes quickly, often without warning and from unexpected places. New, more fierce competitors are emerging, challenging long-standing market positions and blurring traditional industry boundaries. Customer expectations— across all stakeholders of an enterprise including end-clients, suppliers, partners, and employees—are also increasing and transcending traditional industry boundaries.

Such trends are converging to quickly turn current best practices into tomorrow’s liabilities. What companies have traditionally relied on to improve performance— process optimization, cost reduction, and predictability—simply can’t deliver what’s needed to maintain share and grow the next generation of customers. To survive and thrive today and tomorrow, enterprises must be able to act quickly—with intelligence, insight, and confidence—to changes in the competitive and customer landscape. Agility, flexibility, and responsiveness are now the keys to enhancing and optimizing the customer experience and delivering superior business outcomes. 

The implications of this new mandate are massive—particularly for business operations, the heart of the enterprise. Companies will need to make fundamental changes and transform their operations to be the intelligence engine of the business and build the capabilities they need to succeed. What sort of changes? HfS researched 460 enterprise customers1 across the globe to find out what senior operations executives think and how businesses are preparing themselves to succeed in the future. 

The research clearly suggests the future belongs to organizations with Intelligent Operations that enable them to have a 360-degree view of their operations, enabling quicker, insight-led decision making. Such organizations will harness talent, data, and intelligence to transform their processes and infuse the agility and responsiveness they need to combat competitive threats and keep pace with customers’ ever-evolving expectations. This study, supported by Accenture, highlights the essential components of Intelligent Operations against the backdrop of current and emerging business challenges.


Digital disruption, data explosion, and customer experience2 are the driving forces behind the need for companies to transform how they do business and move toward Intelligent Operations.

• Nearly 80% of organizations are concerned with disruption and competitive threats, especially from new digital-savvy entrants.

• Data is rapidly shifting from a peripheral component to a fundamental driver of operations and competitive advantage. However, nearly 80% of respondents estimate that 50%-90% of their data is unstructured. Furthermore, data comes from a wide range of sources, including owned first-party data, second-party cooperatives, and subscribed third-party data, as well as enormous amounts of data embedded in internal processes. Enterprises need a mindset shift to 

• A robust customer experience strategy is the most significant driver of operational agility. But nearly 50% of enterprises say their back office is not keeping pace with front-office requirements as they evolve toward the OneOfficeTM that replaces siloed front, middle and back office functions with seamless processes and digital capabilities.

The future belongs to organizations with Intelligent Operations: Those that use diverse data driven by applied intelligence and human ingenuity to empower next-generation, real-time decision making, exceptional customer experiences and breakthrough business outcomes.

With Intelligent Operations at the heart of the enterprise, a company can become more flexible, agile, and responsive; generate value more quickly; and achieve sustainable competitive advantage.

Intelligent Operations have five essential ingredients that come together in a dial-up or dial-down as-a-Service approach to lasting business process transformation. Intelligent Operations provide the agility, flexibility and responsiveness that businesses need to act swiftly to change and steer a new course with confidence.

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