Hi-Tech Companies Lack Talent and IT Systems, Not Capital, To Expand Globally, Study Finds

An absence of sufficient talent and inadequate corporate IT systems, not a lack of capital, is hampering electronics and hi-tech companies planning to expand globally, according to a new study by Accenture Plc, the $22 billion consulting, services and outsourcing giant headquartered in New York.

Accenture surveyed C-level executives, specifically chief operating officers or their equivalent, at companies in the enterprise communication and consumer IT sectors with sales and distribution in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

The study, which was conducted from this past April through August, aims at helping electronics and hi-tech companies construct successful international operating models.

Participants were asked about their companies' global operations, efforts to recover from the global recession, strategic, core and back office business activities, operating models and competitive differentiation.

The study's findings resulted in a report entitled The Future of Electronics and High Tech, which can be found here.

Findings revealed that 53 percent of participants said that developing and managing human resources is at the core of bringing distinct value to their customers. Yet only 10 percent said that uncovering new sources for talent is central to their operating model decisions.

In addition, only 21 percent of the respondents said that their corporate IT systems could support global expansion although 70 percent said that IT is vital to pursuing geographic growth.

Some 60 percent said that the economic climate has made constructing flexible and efficient IT systems to enable relationships within and outside their companies more important. Of note, only 7 percent of participants said that it was a driver of operating model decisions.

"Electronics and high-tech companies are well aware that talent recruitment and IT are important to boost their global operations, but they widely acknowledge they have major shortcomings in this arena that threaten their progress as the economy recovers," said Hans Von Lewinski, Accenture managing director, Asia Pacific Electronics and High-Tech industry group.

"These shortcomings need to be addressed as quickly as the battle for highly skilled talent and innovative IT intensifies worldwide," Von Lewinski said.

The study also revealed that access to capital to fund a global expansion strategy is not at issue for the study's participants. Some 95 percent of the respondents said that they have enough capital to execute their global strategies.

On the other hand, only 31 percent believe that their company leverages its global scale effectively and a scant 21 percent think that their company is nimble enough to respond quickly and effectively to changes in the global market.

"Global operations are changing fundamentally as the market turnaround continues," Von Lewinski said.

"Cost cutting is being superseded by the need to understand customers better and work more closely with them," he said. "Electronics and high-tech companies need to consider fine-tuning their global operations by reviewing their competitive essence--what makes them distinctive and differentiated."

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