Chile can become the region’s ‘knowledge leader’, says Accenture President

17 August 2018 4 min. read

The newly appointed President and Country Managing Partner of of Accenture Chile, Esteban Rodríguez Rozza, reflects on how digital transformation and innovation can help Chile advance.

Chile is one of the most prosperous nations in Latin America. With a solid economy, stable political arena and high level of infrastructure, Chile is one of the most attractive places to do business on the continent. And according to Managing Partner for Accenture Chile, Esteban Rodríguez Rozza, the country is poised to take the lead in digital innovation.

“Businesses are changing rapidly. When one looks at the ten companies with the highest capitalization in the world, the first seven are purely digital. In other words, they do not base their business on physical assets, but on intellectual assets that are led by people, knowledge and business know-how, "said Rodríguez.

The greatest challenge that companies face is to lead their organization through the cultural change towards digital. The shift in a company’s culture in the face of technological disruption will require accompaniment a “change of DNA in the structure and style of leadership,” he said.

The gab between Chile and more developed countries, Rodríguez points out is “considerable” in terms of preparation and technology base. “[Chile] is only now beginning to capture that the digital transformation is no longer just a prediction for the future.”

Esteban Rodríguez Rozza - Accenture

For the consulting firm's executive, it’s all about experience. “If we analyze the latest global trend we can see that people want to experience and create memories that last over time, which leads us to the conclusion that the physical experience and technology, which facilitates this experience, are extremely relevant.”

“Airbnb and Amazon Go are two clear examples of the use of technology in favor of the user and that put on the table the gap that exists between global and local actors. From this sum of factors, it is clear that the degree of maturity of Chile is better compared to the region, but it falls in the rankings with respect to the developed economies.”

He goes on to cite the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018 saying that it shows that is in the best spot in Latin America to do business. Chile remains in 33rd position among the 137 countries analyzed and is ranked the best in the region. What lets Chile down however is the country’s failure in the categories of health and primary education, innovation and business sophistication.

Rodríguez, an expert in this field argues that “if we go deeper into the subscripts that support Chile’s position, we can see that the great challenges are in the digital dimensions. If we observe the ninth pillar, called "technological readiness” or technological preparation, the country drops to number 38 worldwide, yielding the first position in the region to Uruguay.

A looming digital divide

"On the other hand, the panorama changes drastically if we look at the pillar of innovation, which is closely related to the ability to reduce the digital divide, where we again descend again, but this time to position 52 of the global ranking, remaining below from Thailand and Senegal. These figures demonstrate the potential of the national economy to correctly incorporate the factors of change. I am sure that, with the right direction, Chile will rise in position, "he adds.

Regarding local weaknesses, it indicates that "companies expected more than they should, but the good news is that they are still on time to join the change through a consistent business strategy that allows them to migrate to the world of knowledge. Chile is a country that has very good professionals, excellent academic institutions and an exemplary economy in terms of stability, which creates a unique opportunity to become one of the region's leaders, [especially a] leader in terms of knowledge.”

For Rodríguez, this means that digital has come to underpin the nation’s economy. Relying on knowledge and know-how to drive Chile into the future rather than relying on growth based on a mono-product economy(mining exports).

He notes that “an example is the results obtained in a recent study conducted with Oxford Economics, which reveals that the digital economy in Chile represents approximately 22.2 percent of the national GDP, which is equivalent to $55 billion. This results are vastly superior to that projected by traditional measurements and reflects the clear competitive advantage we have at a regional level.”

Finally, Rodríguez emphasizes that the fundamental pillar of success – drawing on Accenture Chile as a prime example of this – is people. "We sell services given by people, regardless of their origin, sexual orientation or religion. We want to be the most diverse and inclusive firm in the world and reach the gender balance of our global workforce by 2025. That is our goal,” he concludes.