2018 IBM C-Suite Study

Surveying more than 12,000 C-suite people globally, the 19th edition of the IBM Global C-suite Study provides surprising insights into how they view the foreseeable future of their businesses. Of note, for the first time in five years, technological factors was not the number one external force. Market forces claimed that spot which includes competition and customer preferences.

The survey found three types of companies and four areas of importance from this year’s study. The company types include:

Reinventors at 27% of the total
Practitioners at 37% of the total
Aspirationals at 36% of the total

Reinventors are leading the pack and outperformed the other two groups in revenue growth, profitability, and innovation over the past three years. They’ve addressed change management issues to align their strategic approach with optimized business processes. Reinventors also focus on their culture, use data for decision making and collaborate with their ecosystem to deliver improved customer experiences.

Practitioners have ambitions but have yet to put these into practice. They are planning to launch new initiatives in the next few years. Aspirationals are digital laggards, and while they see where they should focus, they currently lack the vision, strategy, resources, and execution capabilities to compete with reinventors and practitioners.

The four areas the study calls out all provide insight into what executives are seeing in their industries that don’t necessarily align with general business assumptions.

Dancing with disruption: Incumbents hit their stride

Disruption is not coming from the digital behemoths like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook, or from new startups entering the space. Rather, 72% of respondents said that disruption is coming from established industry incumbents. After years of falling behind in innovation, they have established a digital approach that has enabled them to catch-up quickly.

Trust in the journey: The path to personalization

Art and science are coming together to improve the customer experience. The most successful companies are using data to understand their customers, but they’re not stopping there, they are also reaching out to customers directly to find out what they actually care about. Empathy and collaboration are the key to creating genuine customer experiences.

Orchestrating the future: The pull of platform business models

The platform business model is more profitable and grows revenue faster than competing models. Businesses have taken notice and are allocating capital to platform development. Those with platforms already built are realizing value from the collaborative approach across the ecosystem, capitalizing on data to improve performance, and innovating new markets.

Innovation in motion: Agility for the enterprise

Top-down leadership approaches are being replaced with autonomy. Two of the most successful attributes of top companies are a willingness to experiment and an empowered workforce. Utilizing a more fluid work structure and cross-functional teams that form for specific projects are making companies more agile to meet customers needs.

For additional insight into the trends affecting the C-suite, send us a note. As an executive recruiting firm with deep experience across industries, Sheer Velocity can help you navigate the modern business landscape. Our recruiters are subject matter experts who work directly with you to meet your specific needs.