CXO

Why CXOs believe customer experience is more important than tech in digital transformation

Only 27% of executives said their company is experiencing significant disruption, according to IBM.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • 68% of C-suite executives expect organizations to emphasize customer experience over products in the future. — IBM, 2018
  • 27% of CXOs said they are experiencing significant disruption. — IBM, 2018

CXOs no longer consider technology to be the top factor that will impact their businesses in the coming two to three years, according to the IBM Global C-suite Study, released Monday. Instead, 68% of the 12,800 CXOs surveyed across 20 industries and 112 countries said they expect organizations to emphasize customer experience over products in the future.

Executives are also less fearful of disruption from new competitors than they were in the last C-Suite study two years ago. Only 27% of CXOs said that competitors outside their industry pose a significant source of disruption to their companies.

Further, 72% of CXOs said that industry incumbents, rather than digital newcomers, are leading disruption efforts in their industry. Data is helping incumbent companies win the battle against the Amazons, Ubers, and Airbnbs, the report noted: Incumbent enterprises own 80% of the world's data, making it their most powerful asset and a huge competitive advantage.

SEE: IT leader's guide to achieving digital transformation (Tech Pro Research)

Essentially, "Uberization" is overrated, according to Jesus Mantas, global leader of strategy and offerings for IBM Global Business Services. "This is a good insight into the age of so much noise about the small eating the big," Mantas said. "It's actually the big waking up and saying 'I'm incumbent, I have the information, the relationships, and the insight, I can learn to be digital, and now I can strike back with a much better equation than the new entrants have.'"

Platforms are also on the mind of today's C-suite in the same way the internet was 15 years ago, Mantas said. Some 57% of organizations with a strategy to disrupt are builders or owners of a platform business model, the report found. And 28% of executives report that their enterprise is reallocating some portion of their capital to build out platforms.

This year, people skills rose from fifth to third place as an area that would most impact organizations on their digital journey, right after market factors and technology factors, the report found. This includes not only reducing skills gaps, but also investing in talent and developing the skills of management.

"Skills are necessary, but not sufficient," Mantas said. "You need a continuous learning culture to succeed in this." For example, companies that are considered disruptors are more likely to offer employees frequent feedback, as well as ask for employee feedback on their tools and systems, the report found.

CIOs in particular should ensure a focus on people skills moving forward, Mantas said. "Since CIOs tend to have the majority of the technology skills in many companies, it rests on many of them to create new, agile working models, not just for IT but for all other functional areas," he added. "Creating this culture of ability and being a flag for their corporations to adopt a continuous learning culture is a role where the CIO is in a clear control point."

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Image: iStockphoto/fizkes

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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