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Global CEO Study: The Enterprise of the Future. Register to download the full report. (US)

Global CEO Study: The Enterprise of the Future. Register to download the full report. (US)

We have seen more change in the last 10 years than in the previous 90. - Ad J. Scheepbouwer, CEO, KPN Telecom

Hungry for change. Wildly imaginative. Disruptive by nature. Totally wired to the people who matter most. To some people, this might sound like your average teenager. In fact, these are the qualities companies will need to thrive in the near future, according to our newest CEO study.

Every two years, IBM talks to some 1,000+ CEOs and public sector leaders worldwide. We ask these executives: what are they thinking about? Where are they investing? What do they believe the Enterprise of the Future will look like? We also reviewed the differences between outperforming and underperforming businesses. This is our third global CEO survey. Here's what we found.

Hungry for change
Coping with change is nothing new. What's different is the head-spinning rate of change today and the fact that it's coming from so many different quarters. In 2004, CEOs worried about market factors. In 2008, while the market still dominates the agenda, executives now face additional socioeconomic, geopolitical and environmental challenges including people skills, technology advances and environmental concerns.

  • Top three change drivers.

    And companies are struggling to keep up: There is a gap of 22% between how CEOs rate their ability to manage change successfully versus their expected need for it—a gap that has nearly tripled since 2006, when it was only 8%.

  • The change gap.

    So how does the Enterprise of the Future manage constant change? The Swiss engineering firm ABB can offer some insights. ABB launched its Step Change Program in 2003. Hundreds of measures were identified and executed on schedule resulting in savings of more than US $900 million. Their change program today has a broad portfolio of initiatives, representation from all parts of the company and an Executive Committee that tracks progress and provides regional accountability. The result? ABB's successful focus on its strengths in power and automation technology and its improved productivity and cost structure were driven largely by its enterprise-wide change program. In 2007, ABB's net income increased to a record US $3.8 billion.

The Enterprise of the Future embraces unpredictability as the new routine and:

  • Establishes strong company values to guide employees in a volatile environment
  • Hires, positions and rewards innovators who challenge the expected
  • Operates like a venture capitalist: cultivating a portfolio of fledgling ideas, nurturing the promising ones, quickly weeding out the ineffective ones

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