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Exploring the inner circle - the final chapter

The final part of our Global C-suite Study draws on frank face-to-face conversations with 4,183 CxOs around the world to explore what's happening in the inner circle.

With new technologies blurring the physical and digital divide and transforming the way people interact, CxOs are gearing up for huge changes in how they engage with customers and each other.

In this report we identify the features that distinguish the most successful C-suites and discuss the challenges that prevent them from pulling in the same direction.

Open up to customer influence

In an era of abundant connectivity, endless information and ubiquitous digitization, the new economic equation favors transparency. More than half of CxOs expect to open up their enterprises – bringing down barriers to extend collaboration inside and outside. Their most radical shift may be a new view on what it means to collaborate with customers.

In fact, CEOs told us that customers come second only to the C-suite in terms of the strategic influence they wield. When asked, “Who has the most influence on your strategic vision and business strategy?” 55 percent of interviewed CEOs cited customers.

Voice on the board: Key influencers on business strategy

Pioneer digital-physical innovation

The emergence of social, mobile and digital networks has played a big part in democratizing the relationship between organisations and their customers. It’s also forcing them to rethink how they work. The intersection between the digital and physical is the leading edge of innovation, and CxOs realize it is becoming increasingly important to meld the two dimensions.

CMOs, in particular, want to overhaul every aspect of the customer interface. When asked, “To what extent have you activated the following digital strategy components in your organisation?” 87 percent of interviewed CMOs expect to focus on integration of cross-channel touchpoints in three to five years.

Digital Ambitions  - CMOs

Craft engaging customer experiences

As the digital infuses the physical, and vice versa, organisations are transforming the customer experience. Nearly seven in ten CxOs recognize the new imperative – a shift to social and digital interaction. CxOs plan to spend less personal time on IT systems, operations and other such issues, and more time on improving the customer experience.

CxOs intend to use digital channels much more extensively to engage with customers in the future. When asked which channels are most important for their enterprises to engage and interact with customers, interviewed CxOs expect the greatest increase (69 percent) to occur in the use of digital channels in three to five years.

Costumer interaction channels