Deeper customer understanding prerequisite for successful enterprise transformation

IBM C-suite Study: New Zealand business leaders want to dramatically improve customer understanding

Select a topic or year

Auckland, New Zealand - 18 Mar 2014: According a new study released today by IBM (NYSE:IBM), leaders of New Zealand’s largest organisations intend to position themselves for success by dramatically improving how well they understand their customers, while at the same time significantly increasing internal and external collaboration.

82% of respondents, from over 50 of New Zealand’s largest private and public sector organisations, anticipate truly understanding their customers within the next three to five years, up from just 16% now. And while just 28% of local respondents believe they strongly collaborate with customers today – compared with 46% internationally – they expect to triple this to 96% over the next three to five years.

The New Zealand results are part of a major worldwide study by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), ‘The Customer-activated Enterprise’, which set out to better understand the pressing business issues, strategic insights and aspirations of senior leadership holding ‘C-suite’ roles. 52 face-to-face interviews were conducted in New Zealand with executives including CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, Chief Marketing Officers and Chief Human Resource Officers; 42% of which represented the public sector.

IBM New Zealand Managing Director, Rob Lee, said the business landscape has fundamentally changed with the study showing that C-suite executives recognise the pressing need to open up to customer influence in strategy and decision making.

“The emergence of social, mobile and digital tools means we’re faced with a new dynamic, one where the customer has a greater say than ever before in their relationships with organisations. It’s forcing businesses to rethink how they work and has introduced the customer as the newest member of the C-suite,” said Mr Lee.

“Customer expectations are having a dramatic influence on all aspects of the enterprise, everything from the development of new products and services, right through to long term business strategies that will determine the very shape and nature of what a company stands for. We’re already seeing clients reshaping their business models to capitalise on this ability to understand and respond to customer influence – mobile banking, for example, provides customers with information at their fingertips and aims to deliver a more convenient experience with more functionality than they’d expect in a branch.”

New Zealand’s relatively low scores on current levels of customer collaboration extend to business partners, suppliers and employees. Currently, 34% of NZ executives believe they collaborate strongly with business partners and suppliers, compared to 47% internationally. When asked about employee collaboration, just 32% of New Zealand executives rated this as strong, compared to 50% elsewhere in the world.

Mr Lee said organisations in both the public and private sector have hit a tipping point where they can no longer play in a world where they are not connected and open to their customers.

“Flourishing enterprises are typically those that work closely with their partners and suppliers and, more particularly, have strong, effective employee networks and engagement.

“Successful navigation of this changing business landscape is dependent on trust and increased organisational openness, stronger partner networks that allow others to add value through innovation and collaboration, and a redefining of relationships to strategically engage with increasingly technology-empowered customers,” said Mr Lee.


About the IBM C-suite Study

IBM conducted its in-person analysis with more than 4,000 C-suite leaders in 70 countries, including over 50 in New Zealand, by using a global team of business strategists, consultants, data scientists and statisticians.

See accompanying infographic and for further information visit:

IBM's Global Business Services consulting organisation was recently named as the leader among the top 24 consulting firms in the world based on the quality and consistency of thought leadership material published by the IBV, according to Source for Consulting’s new White Space report.

Related resources


IBM C-suite Study: The Customer Activated Enterprise

PDF documents