From the IBM Institute for Business Value

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Reinvent and outperform

Find new paths to Digital Reinvention™ in the 19th edition of the IBM Global C-suite Study. Understand four imperatives critical to every business leader to help you reinvent and outperform.

Based on conversations with more than 12,500 CxOs worldwide, it’s the most comprehensive study of its kind. 

Dancing with disruption: Incumbents hit their stride

In most sectors, disruption isn’t coming from start-ups or digital giants. Instead, it’s  industry incumbents that are dominating. These incumbents are equipped with strategies for developing digital skills, innovator talent and platform-based business models. They’re also partnering with organizations in their value chain to share physical assets and people skills.

Incumbents turn their expertise in managing infrastructure and assets into significant disruptive advantage, especially by investing in technologies like blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) that facilitate data sharing. Incumbents that outperform their peers will continue to rapidly prototype and will reward both fast failure and successful innovation.

Our challenge is creating vast digital change on a short timescale; disrupting our sector without disrupting our current high service levels to our customers. We are investing in technology to become more agile and enable something closer to a state of continuous transformation.

Chief Marketing Officer, Energy and Utilities, United Kingdom

Meet the authors

Headshot of Rita Gunther McGrath from Columbia Business School

Rita Gunther McGrath

Professor, Strategy, Innovation and Growth
Columbia Business School

Philip Dalzell-Payne

Partner, IBM Digital Strategy
IBM Services

Trust in the journey: The path to personalization

Organizations of all sizes are prioritizing personalized customer experiences. The enterprises that most effectively deliver on this imperative are using design thinking to manage complexity, orchestrate across channels and truly understand their customers’ motivations.

By approaching problems with empathy for users, they’re creating close customer connections. In many industries, customers even become collaborators on product planning and design. Companies that successfully personalize experiences know how to use data to identify unmet customer needs. They leave no stone unturned, using AI and cognitive solutions to uncover insights that create delightful experiences — and turn customers into advocates.

Our objective is to design customer experiences that are personalized and responsive, answer needs customer didn’t realize they had — and are ultimately so meaningful to the customer that they drive incredible advocacy.

Dawn C. Morris, Chief Marketing Officer, Webster Bank, United States

Meet the authors

Headshot of Joerg Niessing from INSEAD

Joerg Niessing

Affiliate Professor of Marketing

Robert Schwartz

Global Leader, Agency Services

Orchestrating the future: The pull of platform business models

Companies that operate platform business models dominate their market segments and scale with ease in new ones. They generate high revenue. And this model allows business to connect directly with customers.

Regardless of industry or segment, successful platform operators have several factors in common. They create an environment where everyone on the platform — the operator, partners, competitors and even customers — contributes to customer experiences. Operators also capitalize on the massive amounts of data that platforms generate. When shared and used properly, this data leads to continuous reinvention. Finally, they commit to innovation. Platform operators invest significantly in technologies such as IoT, AI and blockchain to consume, share, analyze and generate data for participants.

As business ecosystems evolve and collaborative relationships expand, platforms will proliferate and further disrupt, rewarding entrants with a well-defined platform strategy.

We transformed our business to establish an open platform based on cooperation with multiple partners so that we are all delivering parts of an ecosystem. By doing so, we’re able to create new value propositions and services to generate new revenue streams as well as share investments.

CEO, Electronics, Netherlands

Meet the authors

Headshot of Yoram (Jerry) Wind from The Wharton School

Yoram (Jerry) Wind

The Lauder Professor Emeritus and Professor of Marketing
Academic Director of the Wharton Fellows
The Wharton School

Shanker Ramamurthy

General Manager, Strategy and Market Development
IBM Industry Platforms

Innovation in motion: Agility for the enterprise

The most forward-thinking CxOs are repositioning their vision, culture and operations to foster agile enterprises and support collaboration and experimentation. These progressive leaders are shifting from top-down control toward autonomy, liberating employees to shape their enterprise’s strategic direction. And they’re creating a more fluid work structure, enabling cross-functional teams to form and move quickly.

Organizations that value agility are willing to reward experimentation and rapid responses to market changes. They trust employees’ ideas and each team’s course of action. And they’re not afraid to let their teams see their views evolve as they move forward. By embracing agility, they get closer to the people who matter most: their customers.

As a CEO, you need to constantly learn — and learn about things you don't like — and also get comfortable with failing quickly. If you’re not failing enough, it could be an impediment to growing your business to its full potential.

Jessica Robinson, Chief Executive Officer, PurePoint International, United States

Meet the authors

Headshot of Amy C. Edmondson from Harvard Business School

Amy C. Edmondson

Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management
Harvard Business School

Christine Wyatt

Global Leader, Cognitive Process Services
IBM Services

Hot topic reports

Based on data derived from C-suite Study interviews, hot topic reports provide in-depth analysis on the latest critical subjects.

Intelligent connections

Reinventing the enterprise with Intelligent IoT

Cognitive catalysts

Reinventing enterprises and experiences with artificial intelligence

Forward together

Three ways blockchain explorers chart a new direction

Access the new C-suite Study through the IBV app