Accenture has joined forces with Vlerick Business School to establish the ‘Digital 20/20’ Chair, a five-year academic partnership designed to explore how businesses can leverage digital technologies and business models to drive performance.

As part of the initiative, two research perspectives have been determined in the first year of the Chair starting in September 2015. Firstly, the Chair will examine from a macro-economic perspective the extent to which digital technologies penetrate a country’s businesses and economy. Secondly, the Chair will conduct research from a business point of view to understand how digital technologies should be deployed within a company to boost its performance.

Accenture Strategy launched the Digital Density Index. This study, based on more than 50 indicators, measures the extent to which digital technologies penetrate a country’s businesses and economy.  It suggested that an increase in digital density can lift competitiveness, business revenue and economic output.  Within the ‘Digital 20/20’ Chair, Accenture and Vlerick Business School will undertake further, localized analysis into the potential impacts of digital technologies in Belgium.

Wim Decraene, Managing Director, Accenture Digital, Belgium and Luxembourg, said: “The results from the Digital Density Index positioned Belgium as 12th worldwide. Becoming digitally disruptive means applying new technologies to a range of performance areas, from sourcing labour and automating processes to creating new goods and services. Improving a country’s digital competitiveness requires a broad and interrelated programme of actions by governments and businesses. Our academic partnership with Vlerick Business School will help detect and formulate market-specific solutions to fine-tune the digital transformation of Belgian governments, industries and enterprises by 2020.”

In addition to this macro-economic perspective, Vlerick Business School’s Professor Steve Muylle will study the impact of digital technologies at the company level. This new research project involves the development and validation of a business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) framework, through which firms operating in B2B markets can examine how to leverage digital technologies, obtain consumer information and/or develop new consumer-oriented business models that drive performance.

Steve Muylle, Professor of Marketing and Digital Strategy at Vlerick Business School: “As digital technologies are reshaping the business world and driving economic growth, it is essential to conduct rigorous and relevant academic researchThe research partnership with Accenture provides an important platform for the exchange of knowledge and expertise, whilst being able to validate these research insights in practice with executives at leading organisations. Through the ‘Digital 20/20’ Chair we can reach out to the broader community to help business managers formulate and implement successful digital initiatives between now and 2020.”