|CEOs Transform How They Lead in Era of Connectedness|
|Tuesday, May 29 2012|
On Tuesdays with Tukaiz, we often highlight the increasing importance technology plays in business, whether it relates to effectual execution of marketing and advertising, or simply communicating day-to-day with peers, clients, and partners. Just as mobile and social technologies have become more pervasive in our personal lives, businesses are starting to embrace these channels to gain more insight from their customers and spur more collaboration and creativity internally. While these technologies can be empowering and have a real business impact, the rapid evolution of the development and deployment of these types of tools creates a daunting challenge for organizations to keep up.
In its latest CEO Study, entitled Leading Through Connections, IBM interviewed over 1,700 CEOs and public sector leaders, uncovering that technology is now the top factor that could impact organizations over the next three to five years. In past studies, CEOs consistently reported general market factors as a top concern. Over the past 8 years, however, technology factors steadily grew in importance, underscoring business' needs to effectively harness the power that technology can deliver. Beyond information technology, CEOs cited advances in areas like alternative energy, biotechnology, and nanotechnology as having a revolutionary impact on business.
Just as IBM found in its 2011 CMO study that we covered last year, customer insight is a top priority for CEOs, and technology is a key enabler to gain granular, actionable insight from a sea of social conversations occurring every second, every day, non-stop. Right now, this is as challenging as it sounds-especially the actionable part. As a result, CEOs report an increase in trying to uncover customers' individual needs and tailoring their products and services in an individualized way. Furthermore, the study finds that while social media is currently the least-used customer interaction method, CEOs expect it be the number-two method five years from now, cannibalizing traditional interactions like face-to-face representatives, channel partners, call centers, and mass media.
Beyond external interactions with customers via social media, IBM's study pegs internal social collaboration as a way to "engage the collective intelligence of the organization". Social collaboration, if implemented correctly and widely adopted, can be the ultimate tool to break down silos within organizations. Technology alone cannot accomplish that goal, however. The study also highlights that leading companies are operationally transparent and have a core set of shared values that employees can truly get behind and believe in. A strong, open culture combined will foster a collaborative environment empowered by social technology.
Ultimately, IBM identifies three key actions CEOs can take to "lead through connections": empower employees through values, engage customers as individuals, and amplify innovation with partnerships. While there are many challenges trying to do business in this new era of connectedness, C EOs need to seize the opportunity that abounds from it to create value for customers, employees, and partners and build organizations that will stand the test of time.