Human capital is the most important driver of sustainable business success, according to a new IBM study of more than 1,700 CEOs in 18 industries.
Customers are seen as the most important part of business to invest in, 75 per cent of respondents thought. CEOs in the UK and Ireland said they aim to increase the level of social media engagement with customers significantly over the next five years, with face-to-face interaction losing its importance.
A better understanding of their customers to help forge closer connections crystallized from the survey as a key goal, the main challenge being to gather and convert valuable data into customer insight and action.
High-growth, outperforming businesses strongly differentiated themselves from others by better data access, insight, and translation into actions.
Besides stronger human relationships, UKI CEOs identified technology as the most important external force impacting organisations even more so than economic and market conditions. High-achieving businesses were found to pursue more disruptive types of innovation and derive more revenue from new sources.
Innovation, as an essential source of growth, was drawn by many into connection with extensive business partnerships. UK and Ireland CEOs are seen to value business partnerships more than their global peers. 47 per cent rated business partnership networks as an important source of economic value compared to the global average of 28 per cent.
“The industry’s challenge is a connected economy. We need to collaborate with innovative partners to be the leader in the industry,” an Energy and Utilities CEO was quoted in the IBM report.
Stephen Leonard, Chief Executive of IBM UK and Ireland commented on the findings: “In these difficult times, CEOs are turning to partnerships and technology to help them overcome the challenges their organisations are facing. CEOs that drive their organisations to innovate, collaborate and understand their customers better will be well-placed to achieve success, both now and in the long-term.”