Deloitte's 2019 European Cost Survey – A Belgian Perspective

Cost management practices and trends in Europe

Digital technology and digital disruption have burst onto the European marketplace as key levers for cost management and business transformation. In Deloitte’s 2017 Biennial Global Cost Survey, digital disruption was identified as an emerging risk by respondents in the United States but was barely visible elsewhere. Now, however, based on our latest results from Deloitte’s 2019 Biennial Global Cost Survey, digital risks—including digital disruption and cybersecurity—rank among the top external risks in Europe and around the world.

Save-to-transform as a catalyst for embracing digital disruption

While cost management remains a strong imperative globally, the prevailing mind-set seems to be expanding from save-to-grow to save-to-transform. Companies in Europe continue to have very positive expectations for revenue growth, and many are using cost reduction as a tool to help fund their required growth investments. However, in today’s increasingly digital world, more and more businesses also recognize the need to transform their operations and capabilities with infrastructure investments in key digital innovations such as robotic process automation, cognitive technologies, business intelligence, and cloud-based ERP systems.

These digital technologies and innovations can deliver dramatic improvements in competitiveness, performance, operating efficiency, and increasingly, cost savings. Equally important, they can also strengthen a company’s positioning for adverse future events, including economic downturns and digital disruption.

The Belgian perspective

Belgian respondents continue to be positive about future revenue growth, while continuing to focus on cost reduction initiatives as a means to fund untapped growth areas and address an expected decrease in liquidity. Uncertainty about the political climate and macro-economic concerns are indicated to be the key trends generating uncertainty and putting cost reduction as one of the top three priorities on the agenda of Belgian executives. . In this context, all Belgian respondents of the Deloitte biannual cost survey indicated that they will initiate some form of cost initiative in the coming 24 month.

Ambitions set in Belgium are relatively high, with 53% of Belgian respondents indicating to put forth targets to reduce cost by more than 20%, which typically requires measures and initiatives that go beyond the traditional ‘quick wins’.

Cost programme failure rates, however, continue to be excessive, with only 20% of Belgian respondents reported having achieved their ambitions.

As at European level, Belgian respondents struggle with defining the right business case and setting up the necessary change management process to achieve their targets. Additionally, Deloitte’s cost transformation experience found that mobilization and alignment of the organization are often overlooked, despite being key success factors to define tangible initiatives and ensure accountability when it comes to execution.

This report provides an up-to-date view of the cost-management practices and trends shaping the future of business in Europe and Belgium, as well as giving insights on how to overcome the typical barriers to realize cost saving targets.

European Cost Survey 2019 report

More information

To read more about the European Cost Survey 2019, download the full report. For more information, please contact Catherine Hannosset or Ben Desmet via the contact details below

Did you find this useful?