Adapting Your Digital Business to a Fragmented World

By Omar Abbosh, Paul Nunes and Armen Ovanessoff

We are aware that this era calls for your business to be able to continuously adapt to emerging trends. But how?  The authors provide concrete data on current realities faced by digital businesses and steps on how to make sure your plans turn into actions.


For decades, digital globalisation – powered by free-flowing data – proceeded increasingly rapidly and seamlessly. But business leaders are waking up to a far more complex and fragmented reality.

Barriers to cross-border flows have been building for some time. In the world of trade, for example, the number of trade-restrictive measures1 in the G20 nations almost quadrupled from 324 in 2010 to 1,263 in 2016. Another area of increasing fragmentation concerns the use of customer data, as more and more countries are legislating to restrict or control the cross-border use of such information.2

Our research reveals just how seriously this fragmented global context is being taken in board rooms worldwide.

These trends have now converged to present a transformed operating environment for global business. Our research reveals that the impact goes beyond risk and compliance issues; the imminent threat is to growth and innovation.

To understand how multinationals view these challenges – and what, if anything, they are doing about them – we conducted a survey in the fall of 2016 of more than 400 CIOs and CTOs at companies whose headquarters were in Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. We also conducted several in-depth interviews with CIOs and experts on policy, economics and digital business.

Our research reveals just how seriously this fragmented global context is being taken in board rooms worldwide. But so far, the tangible business implications have not received the attention they deserve across the broader business and analyst community, let alone among business commentators.

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About the Authors

Omar Abbosh (left) is Accenture’s Chief Strategy Officer. Paul Nunes (centre) is a Global Managing Director, and Armen Ovanessoff (right) is a Principal Director, with Accenture Research.

The authors thank Accenture Research colleagues David Light, Eduardo Plastino and Mark Purdy for their contributions to this article, and Roubini ThoughtLab for their collaboration on the survey.




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