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Technology seen shaping future of corporate world

By: - Business Features Editor / @tinaarceodumlao
/ 08:32 PM October 13, 2013

SINGAPORE—Technology is the single most important external force that will shape the future of corporations in the next three to five years, according to chief executive officers interviewed in a new IBM study.

The study, entitled “The Customer-Activated Enterprise”, showed that technology factors had remained a top concern of CEOs, same as last year.

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“For them, technology is not just part of the infrastructure needed to execute a business strategy. It is what makes entirely new strategies possible,” the study said.

Technology refers not just to the hardware but also to the emergence of social, mobile and digital networks that are making it possible for customers to exert greater influence on how corporations perform.

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From 2004 to 2010, market factors were considered to have the most impact on the future of enterprises, followed by macro-economic factors, while technology was just in sixth place.

For 2013, market factors were cited as the second most important factor that will have an impact on companies’ future, followed by macro-economic factors, people skills, regulatory concerns, socio-economic factors, globalization, environmental issues and geopolitical factors.

The latest study, which was conducted by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, was formulated from face-to-face interviews with some 4,000 chief executive officers, chief marketing officers, chief finance officers and chief information officers from 70 countries and 20 industries worldwide.

The study showed that the other top members of management, including CFOs, CIOs and CMOs, likewise put technology among the most significant external pressures that will shape their companies’ future, although at varying degrees depending on their areas of focus.

The CFOs, for example, consider macro-economic factors as the most significant external pressure, while the CIOs and the CMOs are most concerned about market factors. Those in Human Resources, on the other hand, consider people skills as their top priority.

However, “the members of the C-suite (top management) are united in believing that an entirely new set of dynamics is emerging,” said the IBM study.

The study also revealed that many CEOs expect competition to escalate in the next few years and it is not going to come from just its sector, but rather from other industries.

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This phenomenon is seen “creating intense pressure to innovate in the face of disruption.”

“They plan to stave off new rivals by partnering more extensively, believing this will stimulate innovation and make their enterprises more responsive to rapidly changing customer preferences,” the study said.

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