IBM Study: Australian C-suite expects to be three times more collaborative with customers over the next five years

Digital will continue to emerge as the lead channel to connect with customers for Australian business leaders

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Sydney - 12 Mar 2014: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today released the Australian findings of its Global C-suite Study. The study reveals that Australian customers wield less influence on business leaders than in other countries (47 percent versus 54 percent globally), with only 29 percent claiming to have strong collaboration with customers today.  Over the next five years the Australian C-suite will triple their efforts to collaborate with customers (87 percent from 29 percent today). 

Key findings from Australian leaders in the IBM Global C-suite Study:

The study, based on face-to-face interviews with 97 Australian C-suite leaders, explored how executives are responding to rapid digitisation and customer empowerment, and how insights gleaned from these rapid changes are being used to shape business strategies over the next five years. The IBM Global C-suite Study is conducted globally in more than 70 countries.

Digital will become the lead channel for customer collaboration in the next three to five years

In Australia today, face-to-face is still the lead channel for customer engagement for the C-suite, followed by digital (80 percent face-to-face and 66 percent digital).  Over the next three to five years this trend will reverse with 92 percent of business leaders identifying digital as the channel to engage with customers.

Business leaders have identified the top three priorities to improving customer engagement as: creating a consistent customer experience (81 percent); quickly responding to emerging trends (77 percent) and combining internal and external data to gain insights (76 percent).  Taking a digital-first approach to customer collaboration will help the C-suite to achieve these priorities.

Ian Wong, IBM Interactive Experience Lead, Australia and New Zealand. said, “The rapid adoption of digital technologies and the high penetration of mobile devices by customers has driven a power shift, pushing organisations to take an outside-in approach to business strategy.  Listening, capturing and analysing data from these customer interactions provides valuable insights for business leaders.”

Pioneer seamless digital-physical approaches

Today in Australia, two-thirds of business leaders said they have a weak digital strategy – or none at all, with only 32 percent claiming to have an integrated digital-physical strategy.  C-suite leaders called out competing priorities (75 percent) and the lack of a cohesive social media plan (72 percent) as the key challenges hindering implementation of this strategy.

Wong concluded, “The lack of a digital strategy suggests that Australian leaders are taking a tactical, siloed approach to digital collaboration with customers rather than a seamless cross-channel engagement.  If organisations are to remain relevant to customers, and survive in the digital economy, their business strategies need to be informed based on insights gained from integrated digital-physical engagements with customers.”

For further information and to download the full report, see:

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