IBM GLOBAL CEO STUDY
The IBM Global CEO Study was released yesterday and presents a striking analysis of how CEO’s are placing greater focus on open and collaborative business. The IBM Global CEO Study, entitled Leading Through Connections, was produced through interviews with almost 2,000 CEOs across the globe and from multiple industry sectors. This report echoes the findings of the McKinsey report earlier this month.
CEO’s are responding to the phenomenal growth of our networked society, economy and markets which are fuelled by our adoption of digital, mobile and social technologies. For the first time since 2004, technology is the top priority for CEO’s and seen as key to future success.
The IBM Global CEO study indicates that those organisations that are becoming adept at change, able to access and use customer data and enable collaborative relationships with partners and employees outperform those that are lacking in these areas.
The aptly named Leading Through Connections study key findings:
- 75% of CEO’s see developing an open and collaborative culture as critical to matching the complexity of business today
- collaboration is seen as the no.1 trait they want in employees
- social learning is seen as key driver for adapting to change
- Over 66% of CEO’s are making investment in Big Data analytics
- gain insights from customer data and turn these insights into tangible results
- Over 50% expect that social channels will become the primary method of communicating with customers
- Investment in internal social technologies are seen as a part of the change needed to facilitate grater and broader collaboration with partners and between employees
- Innovation remains a top priority with over 50% of CEO’s from the IBM Global CEO study saying they will increase investment in strategic partnering to enable innovation:
- for new services or products
- creating new industries or moving into existing ones
IBM Global CEO Study – The Three Imperatives
So what do IBM consider to be the most important strategies for moving to a social business? Well the IBM Global CEO Study has three key imperatives for organisations:
IBM Global CEO Study Imperative One – Empowering employees through values
CEO’s understand the opportunities and challenges of developing a social business. The opportunities are the rapid acceleration of social learning, reducing time to market and innovation through collaborative relationships. These enable a business to become more open and agile.
The IBM Global CEO Study though highlights the challenge for large organisations in cultivating and fostering a creative and collaborative culture. Most studies still show that top talent still migrate away from large organisations and are mistrustful of larger corporations. This dilemma is one of the greatest challenges and one that CEO’s need help with. Another challenge is in scaling tools and processes; often technology initiatives get pushed ahead of the considerations around cultural change and also lack investment for training – the result can often be catastrophic; over 30% of IT projects fail and many more overrun their budget. As more innovation initiatives develop there is the need to develop a portfolio approach to assess and balance investment risks and rewards.
IBM Global CEO Study Imperative Two – Engaging Customers As Individuals
Customers are now more dynamic, increasingly mobile and demanding more immediate services as we move to real-time interactions between customers, brands and businesses. The IBM Global CEO study highlights that the opportunity for businesses is to personalise customer engagements through multiple digital touchpoints. This requires much deeper insights into customers behaviours so that services and/or products can be adapted or created and be specific, relevant and in context for the individual customer. CEO’s from the IBM Global CEO Study that out perform their peer group have a clear big data strategy and programme focused on customer (social) and operational analytics.
IBM Global CEO Study Imperative Three – Amplifying Innovation with Partnerships
The paradox of many large organisations is that want to innovate, but by default they need to have a coherent culture which often stifles innovative individuals. This paradigm though can be addressed through partnerships that act as catalysts enabling cross cultural thinking and new ideas. In the IBM Global CEO study acknowledgement is given to the need to create creative tension within the business to disrupt the status quo, innovate and change. Small agile social initiatives and providing greater internal visibility can facilitate this.
More Details from the IBM Global CEO Report
Here are a few more snapshots from the study which is available here. Let me know your thoughts about this report and the challenges and opportunities you think social business presents.
- Change is now the normal way of business and this is reflected not only in technology, but also the workplace and how consumers engage with brands and business. The IBM Global CEO study reinforces the continued pace and scale of change that businesses need to cope with; the paradigm here is that large doesn’t favour change. CEO’s must rethink the structural aspects of their business and fundamental ways they engage and work with employees.
- The CEO’s now place technology as the number one priority for change – mobile, cloud and social technologies
- This also means that organisations need to gear up their training and development functions to cater to how people change – social learning, rich and interactive learning environments distributed via social intranets. The challenge is that by the time courses are designed and delivered, the subject skills are already becoming outdated. The solution lies in the blending internal user generated content with filtered and aggregated external content. This broader source of distributed content lowers costs, maintains pace with change and provides users to demonstrate their skills and help others.
- Every aspect of the organisation will be affected by the changes in social – HR, sales, marketing, operations…a disruptive change fuelled by networked relationships with partners, customers and employees.
- Over 50% of CEOs see human capital, customer relationships and innovation as key sources of sustained economic value
- Out of open organisations CEO’s expect new profitable revenue streams
- The IBM Global CEO Study clearly places culture as a top change management issue. Corporate culture becomes a top agenda for change and organisations need to now understand how they motivate employees through a clear and valued purpose. This places an emphasis not only on organizational values. Talented people now want more flexible working arrangements, self development opportunities and organisations need to weigh up how they manage people developing their own brand vs the brand of the business; the two are not mutually exclusive.
- The four top talents that CEO’s from the IBM Global CEO study see as being important are collaboration, communication, creativity and flexibility – the skills that are required to rapidly adapt and assimilate to complex environments.
Final Points from the IBM Global CEO Study
- Replace rulebooks with shared beliefs
- Confront cultural reality
- Build values employees will live out
- Recalibrate controls
- Build future-proof employees
- Create unconventional teams
- Concentrate on experiential learning – see our model here – I do, I learn, I share
- Empower high-value employee networks
- Provide the means to collaborate at scale
- Pursue social collaboration technologies
- Devise incentives that foster collaboration
- Re-imagine the employee “suggestion box”
IBM Global CEO Study – Engaging customers as individuals
- Out performers are able to harness customer data and turn it customer insights and then act on it
- Personalisation of communications and services will be key to competing
- Social media moves past the hype
- using the end users voice and input to shape product development
- big data analytics to shape new services and products
- building customer communities (tribes)
- Big Data
- Blend internal and external views to discover unexpected insights
- Use data to provide holistic perspectives of behaviours (visual data techniques are vital here)
- Turn the insight into front line change with employees and services
- Listen, focus and respond
- Listen at an individual level
- Capture what employees see and hear
- Respond with relevance and speed
- Be where your customers expect you to be
- Leverage the fact that mobile “changes everything”
- Blend the physical and digital worlds
- Offer value that stands out