NEWS8 October 2013

Business leaders anticipate ‘more extensive collaboration with customers’

News North America

US – Results of a new study by IBM indicate that senior business leaders have made an unprecedented commitment to allowing direct customer influence on their business decisions and operations.

IBM infographic

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“When we published our first study in 2004, CEOs ranked their own customers sixth on the list of all market factors they believed would drive the most change in their organisations,” wrote Virginia M. Rometty, CEO of IBM, in the introduction to the report. “Today, digitally enfranchised and empowered customers lead the agenda for every CxO profession.”

Based on face-to-face conversations with over 4,000 CEOs, CMOs, CFOs, CIOs and other C-suite leaders from 70 countries and 20 industries worldwide, the report, The Customer-activated Enterprise, uncovered a number of trends that point towards an increased role of customer collaboration in informing key business decisions.

According to the findings, CEOs see customers as second only to their C-suite colleagues with regard to the amount of strategic influence they hold – coming ahead of boards of directors and other senior leaders.

And in a change from more traditionally insight-led areas such as product and service development, CEOs said they anticipated the growth of customer influence being greatest in the area of business strategy development.

“Today, CEOs recognise that they can’t do it all alone,” said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president of IBM Global Business Services. “They’re opening up their organisations, breaking down barriers and actively engaging customers – providing customers a seat at the table to help shape their business model and strategy.”