Much of the business conversation these days rightly centers on agility: how to transform our organizations, and teams, into truly disruptive forces that quickly respond to new challenges. It’s easy to accept the popular view that legacy organizations, and traditional ways of thinking, are barriers to innovation. But that’s not necessarily true.

A new white paper from Accenture | SolutionsIQ argues that legacy systems actually hold some of the new economy’s most valuable commodities. These are assets that shouldn’t be ignored, or cavalierly discarded: data, and powerful insights about customers, products, institutions and markets. Unfortunately, it’s often true that large, older organizations are so locked into operationalized, traditional ways of doing things that they fail to harness their own data—in part because no one wants to rock the boat, or because institutions are risk-averse. We see this in financial services, health care, education, and other sectors.


The costs of failing to tap into this valuable data are significant. In one study of American and British companies, forty-one percent of respondents said their businesses had critical data that couldn’t be easily accessed, or linked to, cloud services, for example. As a result, these companies lose nearly $140 billion each year because data is “disconnected” across silos.

The new white paper is written by Max Furmanov, an Accenture managing director who advises companies across sectors about how to manage digital transformation. It outlines some key ways to drive transformation—using data. Mainly, it calls for deliberately building a system that allows data to be easily connected across silos. And, ultimately, it’s all about collaboration for responsible growth.

Furmanov will share insights on unlocking innovation, and other topics, at Techonomy’s NYC conference. Stay tuned for details.