The 2016 Gartner CEO and senior business executive survey has found that in spite of a struggling global economy in early 2016, CEOs do not plan to significantly change their priorities. Growth is their top business priority (54%), customers are the second (31%) and workforce is the third (27%). 

Four hundred senior business leaders in user organizations worldwide were surveyed in the fourth quarter of 2015, answering questions about 2016/2017. Most responding organizations were those with annual revenue of $1-billion or more.

“The big rise of explicit mentions of the word “customer” was very noticeable in the results of this year’s survey,” says Mark Raskino, vice-president and Gartner Fellow. “CEOs seem to be concerned about improving customer service, relationship and satisfaction levels. At the same time, CEOs have become much more concerned about employee issues than a couple of years ago. The emphasis is as much on benefits, retention and training of mainstream staff. It is not constrained only to senior grade ‘talent’ issues.”

The survey results also show that while business conditions are challenging, CEOs remain confident enough to sanction strategic investments, particularly when it comes to digital business transformation.  In a bid to stick to these digital business transformation plans, more and more CEOs are choosing to head up digital change in the business themselves. CEOs now understand that digital business is substantial enough to warrant them leading it personally. If they delegate primary responsibility, then the next most likely leader is the CIO.

The CEOs surveyed expect to see substantial digital transformation in their industries, or for their industries to be almost unrecognizable within five years. Examples of digital changes in industries include self-driving cars, the rise of blockchain in banking, the e-cigarette revolution in tobacco and the potential impact of Internet of Things (IoT)-fuelled data science in insurance.

Digitalization is seen as a positive force, not a destructive one. Overall, the CEOs are very bullish about the effects of digital change on the gross (pretax) profitability of their businesses. Eighty-four percent said that they expect digital change to bring higher profit margins.

“One explanation for CEOs’ optimistic attitude toward digital change may be because they can see how it helps with the product innovations that matter to customers,” says Raskino. “We asked CEOs what proportion of the customer perceived value of products and services they think is digital. CEOs said the value percentage is already 30 percent on average, and will rise to 46% by 2019.”

Adapted from an article by ITonline.com

Comment