The latest IBM CxO report proves there is no better time to become a social business

ibm-c-suite-study-cover

Back in August, I blogged about a preview of an IBM Institute for Business Value report that surveyed 4,000 C-suite executives.

Today the full report has been released – and it makes for fascinating reading.

The report surveyed 4,183 CxO leaders in 70 countries, with a mix of the C-suite from Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs), Chief Information Officers (CIOs), Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) and Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs).

The IBM study offers insight into how these leaders view the world, their priorities and how they are preparing for the future.

Three major themes emerged. Today’s C-suite must:

  • Open up to customer influence
  • Pioneer digital-physical innovation
  • Craft engaging customer experiences

For me, the most interesting part of the report is that CEOs now see that customers are at the heart of the future of their company.

CEOs interviewed in the survey shared that they thought customers exert a bigger influence on their organization’s business strategy than all but the C-suite itself – see the graphic below (click for larger image).

ibm-cxo-study-fig-7

More than half of the CxOs surveyed say customers now have a considerable influence on their enterprises (see figure below). Companies identified as “outperformers” are 24 percent more likely than underperformers to have given the customer a prime seat at the boardroom table.

Interestingly, some of the most advanced enterprises are establishing customer advisory boards to get direct input on strategic issues.

ibm-cxo-study-figure-8

The key insights for me are that these enterprises realize that the groundswell of opinion and innovation being shared on social sites, blogs, twitter chats is the same as customers banging at the door and demanding to be heard.

Savvy leaders know that online input is a vital part of the discourse and have plumbed their organizations to listen closely. Those at the forefront don’t just invite customers in for a chat; they recognize it as an urgent call to action.

This is where social business comes in, and companies learn how to move beyond having social in the marketing department, and instead plug social insights into all parts of the organisation.

Lately, I have seen discussions about the need to “ditch the term social media“, in favour of calling everything social business. In my opinion this is misguided, as the comments on this Drum article rightly point out.

Underperforming companies are just starting to use social media, while their outperforming competitors already have a strategy to put social first, and become a social business.

You can read my previous coverage of an excellent Altimeter report Authored by Brian Solis and Charlene Li on the 6 stages of social business adoption which will help validate my thinking around this.

The impact of social features prominently in the IBM report, and in the second of the major themes “Pioneer digital-physical innovation”, we hear how CxOs are rapidly realising that they need a strong digital strategy in place – as the figure below explains.

ibm-cxo-study-figure-11

I loved the breakout quote by a CIO in Turkey:

ibm-cxo-study-CIO-quote

One of the key findings from the report was that the lack of a cohesive social media plan is the biggest barrier to an integrated digital-physical strategy, and how how social media fits into the mix.

ibm-cxo-study-figure-12

Apparently when IBM’s Watson analysed more than 10,000 natural language responses, it uncovered the fact that CxOs simply don’t know how to strike the right balance between the social, digital and physical worlds.

Quoting directly from the report (emphasis is mine)

“Understanding the return on investment is also a challenge, particularly if organizations view social simply as something they snap on to existing workflows.

Its value is realized when social inspires entirely new ways of working, learning and orchestrating processes across the organization and beyond.

Easily said, but social is one place where many executives find themselves standing on the sidelines if not well behind the lines — as enfranchised employees channel enthusiasm and energy to test the waters.

CxOs can’t stand by, waiting for a clear strategy to emerge.

They have a role, and one they must step up to, to ensure that their organizations focus social business on issues that are core to the company’s overall strategy and brand.”

The survey found that outperformers are ahead of the game (see below), and they are pioneering innovation at the intersection of the digital and the physical to transform their organizations.

ibm-cxo-study-figure-13

What this says to me, is that CxOs need help.  They don’t need to be told about getting more likes, follows or fans on social media, they need to have someone help them understand how as a social business, they can become outperformers and completely re-engineer their business.

This doesn’t come about without a corresponding cultural change as part of becoming a social business.

Expect to hear more from me on this subject in my upcoming posts.

You can grab the full report from the IBM IBV site – it is probably one of the most comprehensive C-suite reports you will read this year.

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About 

Based in London, Andrew is an internationally renowned thought leader in the field of social business and social media networks. Andrew is a Global Partner with IBM, with a focus on Social Business.



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  • http://twitter.com/nmi2001/status/387306177324797953/ @nmi2001

    Great review RT @AndrewGrill:The latest @IBM #CSuiteStudy proves there is no better time to become a #socialbusiness. http://t.co/VTd3HYEpbw

  • http://twitter.com/SeverineLienard/status/387316781825929216/ @SeverineLienard

    RT @IBMIBV: Thanks to @AndrewGrill for a great post on social business & the C-Suite with insights from new study. http://t.co/mbdPE6lMU3

  • http://twitter.com/mBLAST/status/387325531429298176/ @mBLAST

    Nice social business summary of IBM CxO report from @AndrewGrill http://t.co/FyOuPyAynr

  • http://twitter.com/elesser/status/387341256634138624/ @elesser

    RT @IBMIBV: Thanks to @AndrewGrill for a great post on social business & the C-Suite with insights from new study. http://t.co/PVZWyFudX3 #…

  • http://twitter.com/NickWAllen/status/387359227792355328/ @NickWAllen

    The latest IBM CxO report proves there is no better time to become a social business http://t.co/Szw2Vi8UVi < thanks @andrewgrill

  • http://twitter.com/jaferrar/status/387371856518336512/ @jaferrar

    RT @IBMIBV: Thanks to @AndrewGrill for a great post on social business & the C-Suite with insights from new study. http://t.co/PVZWyFudX3 #…

  • http://twitter.com/KenexaEMEA/status/387406557639897088/ @KenexaEMEA

    RT @IBMIBV: Great post on social business & C-Suite with insights from new study. http://t.co/OobIiVoPRF @AndrewGrill #CSuiteStudy #socbiz

  • http://twitter.com/askmanoj/status/387438859514306560/ @askmanoj

    RT @KenexaIndia: Read the #IBM CxO report. Finds there is no better time to become a #social business! http://t.co/AsbaTIq4ys @sandy_carter…

  • http://walteradamson.com Walter Adamson

    Andrew, very good post and lots of content to digest. I found this para a little confusing even after I followed it through to The Drum and saw the comments there. “Lately, I have seen discussions about the need to “ditch the term social media“, in favour of calling everything social business. In my opinion this is misguided, as the comments on this Drum article rightly point out.”

    I now believe that you mean “in favour of calling everything in social media *marketing* social business…

    Clearly The Drum’s perspective and audience is all about social media marketing, and as you point out in your comment they are a step removed from understanding social business as discussed in your post here. To call social media marketing “social business” as they are advocating would be unnecessarily confusing. With so many CMOs and marketing professionals having such a poor social presence they have a long way to go just to come to grips with social media let alone trying to grasp social business IMHO.

  • http://twitter.com/graemeknows/status/421678076268122113/ @graemeknows

    RT @AndrewGrill: Rewind: The latest IBM CxO report proves there is no better time to become a social business http://t.co/TnzPjtUMhn

  • http://twitter.com/puhala/status/421680043236917248/ @puhala

    RT @AndrewGrill: Rewind: The latest IBM CxO report proves there is no better time to become a social business http://t.co/TnzPjtUMhn

  • http://twitter.com/garethmj74/status/421694155765854208/ @garethmj74

    RT @AndrewGrill: Rewind: The latest IBM CxO report proves there is no better time to become a social business http://t.co/TnzPjtUMhn

  • http://twitter.com/puhala/status/421696248786059264/ @puhala

    Good stuff regarding businesses taking social seriously: http://t.co/G0vwEr3Xd1

  • http://twitter.com/RawlinsonSimon/status/421709003451035648/ @RawlinsonSimon

    The latest IBM CxO report proves there is no better time to become a social business

    http://t.co/Saj6qfLmLX

  • http://twitter.com/JacekStr/status/425611326749413376/ @JacekStr

    @AndrewGrill: Rewind:The latest IBM CxO report proves there is no better time to become social #business http://t.co/rISrXR2rZS #socialmedia

  • http://twitter.com/afitzgerald1101/status/425719926750707712/ @afitzgerald1101

    RT @AndrewGrill: Rewind: The latest IBM CxO report proves there is no better time to become a social business http://t.co/TnzPjtUMhn

  • http://twitter.com/adamson/status/464197776382115840/ Walter Adamson (@adamson)

    IBM CxO report proves there is no better time to become a social business @AndrewGrill http://t.co/CpjpDcsFCd #socbiz

  • http://twitter.com/rikwalters/status/464216876021972992/ @rikwalters

    RT @adamson: IBM CxO report proves there is no better time to become a social business @AndrewGrill http://t.co/oqBuxEXfaO #socbiz

  • http://twitter.com/mattjhavens/status/464420733482196992/ @mattjhavens

    RT @adamson: IBM CxO report proves there is no better time to become a social business @AndrewGrill http://t.co/MxcYGB7iL2 #socbiz

    — R…

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