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C-Suite Study: CXOs Crave Customer Collaboration
Roberto Amaro 270006PURB firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  customer ceo collaboration cxo c-suite study | 692 Visits
IBM's 17th Global C-Suite Study reports that business leaders companies crave closer collaboration with customers but currently lack the tools to achieve it. Lack of a social media plan is a major barrier to achieving this goal.
An analysis of a subset of 312 midsize business executives mirrors the findings of the larger 4,000-person study across companies of all sizes: C-level executives believe that their customers should be engaged with their businesses at much deeper levels than they have been in the past. "Business leaders increasingly believe customer influence should extend beyond activities such as new product development to areas that were once considered [the C-level's] domain, such as business strategy development," the authors write.
The survey of midmarket companies also finds that:
Confusion over ROI continues to thwart social engagement strategies despite the fact that 85% of midmarket leaders hope to better understand their customers in the future and best-in-class performers are 54% more likely to collaborate with customers.
The theme of customer collaboration theme runs through results across companies of all sizes. Executives believe that the continuous stream of customer commentary on social networks, combined with tools that mine ever more meaningful insights from those conversations, makes customer co-creation a necessity. "Where once an enterprise could go it alone, and be successful doing so, it must now collaborate," conclude the authors of the 4,000-executive survey. In fact, CEOs now say customers come second only to the C-suite in terms of influence on business strategy.
CIOs, CMOs Find Alignment
The research also finds increasing alignment between CIO and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) priorities. The top three priorities listed by CMOs are "integration of cross-channel touchpoints," "analytics to capture customer insights" and "social networks to foster collaboration."
The top three areas in which CIOs say they plan to increase their activity are "customer experience management, "sales and new business development" and "marketing and communications." In effect, CMOs are becoming more technology-focused while CIOs are becoming more market-focused.
Interestingly, the top three areas in which CIOs expect to decrease their direct involvement in the future are "risk and security," "supplier, vendor and partner management" and "IT systems and operations." The growing viability of cloud services as an alternative to time-consuming and expensive on-premise services may be permitting CIOs to focus their attention on matters more pressing to the business.
Midmarket CMOs want to put all the components of a strong digital strategy in place. These include an increased focus on integrating cross-channel touchpoints, using analytics to capture customer insights, social networks to foster collaboration and mobile and cloud computing to achieve advanced operational efficiencies and create better customer experiences.
On that last item, CMOs have plenty in common with their C-suite colleagues. Across the board, executives identify "customer experience management" as their top area of increased focus in the foreseeable future, with better digital interactions leading the way. Eighty-eight percent of CXOs say they intend to interact digitally with customers to a much greater extent in the future, compared to just 52% who said that in the 2012 study. That's a 69% increase.
The survey also points to the importance of fusing digital technologies such as Big Data analytics, mobile and cloud with traditional development and product deployment techniques. Companies that have successfully integrated digital and physical operations are 26% more likely to outperform their rivals than companies that haven't.
One example of a company that has accomplished this is Music Mastermind, a Calabasas, CA-based startup that makes it possible for people to mix and share their own musical compositions. The company teamed with IBM Business Partner Micro Strategies and IBM Global Financing to build a cloud infrastructure that scales to meet growth demands.
Another example is of successful digital-physical integration is Coriell Life Sciences, which stores massive amounts of DNA and gene sequencing data for analysis and interpretation by experts from around the world. Coriell researchers use IBM cloud technology to store 3.2 billion data points and generate reports that model how well a given drug could work based on an individual’s DNA.
The Midmarket Insights from the Global C-suite Study can be downloaded here.
Analysis of the conversations with 4,183 C-suite executive in 70 countries can be found here.