Exploring the inner circle

Insights from the Global C-suite Study

Ten years, 17 studies and 23,000 face-to-face executive interviews have given us rich insights into how private and public sector leaders think. “Exploring the inner circle” is the final installment in our current global C-suite study series. We explore how the C-suite is jointly preparing for the digital era and how they are working together in support of the enterprise.

Scroll down to find our Executive role perspectives for CEO, CIO, CFO, CMO, CHRO and CSCO.

2015 IBM Global C-suite Study: Redefining Boundaries

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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.

The Customer-activated Enterprise

In the first installment of our Global C-suite study series, we spoke in person with 4,183 top executives worldwide to find out how CxOs are earning the loyalty of digitally enfranchised customers. Three major themes emerged. Today’s C-suite must:

Executive role perspectives

A separate report is available for each of the six executive roles – Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer, Chief Information Officer, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Supply Chain Officer, providing insights to their specific challenges.

Reinventing the rules of engagement: CEO insights

CEO cover Reinventing the rules of engagement: CEO insights from the Global C-suite Study

This CEO point of view report delves into the perspectives of the 884 CEOs we interviewed during the IBM Global C-suite Study. Since 2004, CEOs consistently identified market forces as the biggest driver of change. In 2012, for the first time, CEOs expected technology to exert the strongest influence on their organizations and strategy.

And this year, CEOs again ranked technology first. Believing the impact of emerging technologies on their organizations will be profound, CEOs anticipate three areas for action:

• Embrace disruption
• Build shared value
• Dare to be open.

View the CEO infographic
CEO Insights report cover

Pushing the frontiers: CFO insights

CFO cover Pushing the frontiers: CFO insights from the Global C-suite Study

In this new CFO point of view report, we focus on the perspectives of the 576 CFOs we interviewed. During our previous 2010 Global CFO Study, we identified four different profiles for the finance organization. We also established that one profile – the Value Integrators, as we called them – outperformed all the rest.

Our most current research shows that Value Integrators still stand out from the crowd. We’ve now unearthed a small subset of Value Integrators that do even better than the other members of their group. We’ve named these finance organizations Performance Accelerators, and in this new report we explore the key traits they possess. We look, in particular, at what they’re doing to become more efficient, more forward-looking and more proficient at creating profitable growth.

View the CFO infographic
CFO Insights report cover

New expectations for a new era: CHRO insights

CHRO cover New expectations for a new era: CHRO insights from the Global C-suite Study

The essential bridge between an organization and its customers is the workforce. The ability to engage, develop, recognize and support employees will be critical in the decisive battle for customer loyalty. It is these individuals who represent the organization’s brand in the market, who interact with customers on a daily basis, who analyze changes in customer preferences and who develop and maintain the technologies that help connect the physical and digital worlds. And, therefore, a motivated and properly prepared workforce will be indispensable for success in the customer-activated world.

Through our analysis of the C-suite study responses, we see companies taking important steps in developing a workforce that can compete in a customer-driven world. Included in this analysis is a deeper examination of the 342 Chief Human Resource Officers who participated in the study.

View the CHRO infographic
View the CHRO infographic

Moving from the back office to the front lines: CIO insights

CIO cover Moving from the back office to the front lines: CIO insights from the Global C-suite Study

In this CIO point of view report, we explore what the 1,656 CIOs we interviewed are doing to help their enterprises become more “customer-activated.” One thing is immediately obvious: just how far some CIOs have come in the past five years. In 2009, we reported that CIOs were rising up the management hierarchy and developing a new, more powerful voice. But they often had to juggle different roles to deal with conflicting goals.

Although CIOs are acutely aware of the need to make their enterprises more customer-activated, they’re also conscious of how important it is to keep everything running smoothly. For CIOs, three specific issues are top of mind. They must:

• Engage with digitally enfranchised customers
• Deal with the basics
• Enhance internal and external collaboration.

View the CIO infographic
CIO Insights report cover

Stepping up to the challenge: CMO insights

CMO cover Stepping up to the challenge: CMO insights from the Global C-suite Study

This report focuses on how the 524 CMOs we interviewed help their enterprises become more “customer-activated.” CMOs are wielding more power in the boardroom, as CEOs increasingly call on them for strategic input. In fact, the CMO now comes second only to the CFO in terms of the influence he or she exerts on the CEO.

A growing number of CMOs are also liaising closely with CIOs – with remarkably positive effects on the bottom line. Where the CMO and CIO work well together, the enterprise is more likely to outperform in terms of revenues and profitability. On the other hand, very few CMOs have made much progress in building a robust digital marketing capability. Only a small percentage have set up social networks for the purpose of engaging with customers, even though online input is a crucial part of the dialogue between a company and its customers. The percentage of CMOs who have integrated their company’s interactions with customers across different channels, installed analytical programs to mine customer data and created digitally enabled supply chains to respond rapidly to changes in customer demand is even smaller.

View the CMO infographic
CMO Insights report cover

Orchestrating a customer-activated supply chain: CSCO insights

CSCO cover Orchestrating a customer-activated supply chain: CSCO insights from the Global C-suite Study

In the first installment of our Global C-suite Study, we spoke face-to-face with 4,183 top executives covering more than 20 industries to learn how CxOs are earning the loyalty of digitally empowered customers and citizens. This report explores how the 201 Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) we interviewed are working to not only continually improve supply chain effectiveness and efficiency, but also to address the increasing demands of customers.

View the CSCO infographic
CSCO Insights report cover

How IBM can help C-suite executives


The most successful C-suites are those with the best
people in the right seats on the bus.

CEO, Media and Entertainment, New Zealand

   The most important thing is clarity of purpose and cohesion.

CEO, Banking and Financial Markets, South Africa

   It’s a question of making the whole team work in symphony, like an orchestra, without needing to look at the score.

CEO, Retail, Brazil

   It’s critical to have a mix of movers and shakers, optimists and risk-averse players.

CEO, Industrial Products, Switzerland

   What makes for a top C-suite? I think it’s the ability to work together, the ‘oomph’ of being on a mission and mutual respect.

CEO, Transportation, Singapore

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Video: Welcome to The Customer-activated Enterprise

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