Seizing the data advantage
Chief Executive Officer insights from the 20th Edition of the Global C-suite Study

Top-performing Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) have seized the data advantage and primed their organizations to prosper in the Insights era.

In our latest Global C-suite Study, we asked more than 13,000 C-suite executives what it takes to lead in a world brimming with bytes. We identified a small group of enterprises that stand out from the rest—we call them Torchbearers.

The CEOs who help run these organizations aren’t daunted by data; on
the contrary, they’re using it to make smarter business decisions, build stronger ecosystems, and experiment with new business models.

The results say it all. Such organizations are markedly more flexible,
more innovative, and more profitable than their industry peers.


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Automate intelligently:
Making data deliver
More Torchbearer CEOs plan to spend big bucks on AI and robotics than Aspirational CEOs
Torchbearer CEOs
Aspirational CEOs
Torchbearer CEOs
Aspirational CEOs
“I’m trying to create a culture that understands and values the intelligent extraction of data and applies it to inform decision making.”
CEO
| Energy, Environment, and Utilities
Canada

Whether enterprises are ready or not, the world is heading toward a massive digital transformation—and Torchbearer CEOs are staying ahead of the curve by strategizing how to better harness these technologies and earn a share of the rewards.

Torchbearer CEOs understand that heavily investing in technologies such as AI and machine learning—tools that help automate operations—is not merely a “nice to have” but a necessity. They realize the value these technologies, along with current, clean, and curated data, can bring to their organization. In fact, Torchbearer CEOs recognize that more data doesn’t necessarily translate into more intelligence, leading many of them to purge data when appropriate. This group of leaders also excel at helping ensure their workforce can make the most of AI investments—with 55 percent of Torchbearer CEOs reporting that their staff is already extensively skilled in data science and analytics.
Automate intelligently:
Making data deliver
“I’m trying to create a culture that understands and values the intelligent extraction of data and applies it to inform decision making.”
CEO
| Energy, Environment, and Utilities
Canada

Whether enterprises are ready or not, the world is heading toward a massive digital transformation—and Torchbearer CEOs are staying ahead of the curve by strategizing how to better harness these technologies and earn a share of the rewards.

Torchbearer CEOs understand that heavily investing in technologies such as AI and machine learning—tools that help automate operations—is not merely a “nice to have” but a necessity. They realize the value these technologies, along with current, clean, and curated data, can bring to their organization. In fact, Torchbearer CEOs recognize that more data doesn’t necessarily translate into more intelligence, leading many of them to purge data when appropriate. This group of leaders also excel at helping ensure their workforce can make the most of AI investments—with 55 percent of Torchbearer CEOs reporting that their staff is already extensively skilled in data science and analytics.
More Torchbearer CEOs plan to spend big bucks on AI and robotics than Aspirational CEOs
Torchbearer CEOs
Aspirational CEOs
Torchbearer CEOs
Aspirational CEOs
Strategize with ecosystems:
Flexing the muscle of the many
More Torchbearer CEOs expect partner networks to expand in the next few years
Torchbearer CEOs
Aspirational CEOs
Torchbearer CEOs
Aspirational CEOs
“We’re linking up with our partner ecosystem to share data and craft value propositions for our clients.”
CEO
| Banking and Financial markets
South Africa

Rather than keeping data closely confined, either within a specific business unit or within the enterprise as a whole, a full 67 percent of surveyed top-performing CEOs encourage the sharing of data freely across their organizations. This willingness to share data has helped many Torchbearer CEOs position powerful ecosystems as a core part of their business strategy.

However, Torchbearer CEOs also understand that some data simply can’t be shared—either because it provides a proprietary advantage or because it’s too sensitive to put in other hands. This knowledge leads most Torchbearer CEOs to have clearly defined rules for the collection, use, and sharing of data. These leading CEOs have devised carefully calibrated policies for determining what data to share and what data to keep close.
Strategize with ecosystems:
Flexing the muscle of the many
“We’re linking up with our partner ecosystem to share data and craft value propositions for our clients.”
CEO
| Banking and Financial markets
South Africa

Rather than keeping data closely confined, either within a specific business unit or within the enterprise as a whole, a full 67 percent of surveyed top-performing CEOs encourage the sharing of data freely across their organizations. This willingness to share data has helped many Torchbearer CEOs position powerful ecosystems as a core part of their business strategy.

However, Torchbearer CEOs also understand that some data simply can’t be shared—either because it provides a proprietary advantage or because it’s too sensitive to put in other hands. This knowledge leads most Torchbearer CEOs to have clearly defined rules for the collection, use, and sharing of data. These leading CEOs have devised carefully calibrated policies for determining what data to share and what data to keep close.
More Torchbearer CEOs expect partner networks to expand in the next few years
Torchbearer CEOs
Aspirational CEOs
Torchbearer CEOs
Aspirational CEOs
Extract value through new models:
Reinventing the enterprise
More Torchbearer CEOs say their data strategy is focused on changing current business models
Torchbearer CEOs
Aspirational CEOs
Torchbearer CEOs
Aspirational CEOs
“Technological innovations are completely subverting traditional business models.”
CEO
| IT and Professional services
China

In this exceedingly transformative era, digital technologies and ecosystems have jointly facilitated totally new ways of doing business. In the process, they have birthed new industries, obliterated others, and transformed the competitive landscape. While some companies may have trouble keeping up with this “creative destruction” and reinvention, Torchbearer CEOs view this new commercial landscape as more of an opportunity than a threat.

In addition to leaning on data strategy to fuel greater business model innovation, these leading CEOs are also searching for ways to monetize the data their enterprises hold—although, for many organizations, this is easier said than done. However, selling collected data isn’t the ultimate objective for many CEOs; it’s to create a strategic advantage by using data to define and test new business models.
Extract value through new models:
Reinventing the enterprise
“Technological innovations are completely subverting traditional business models.”
CEO
| IT and Professional services
China

In this exceedingly transformative era, digital technologies and ecosystems have jointly facilitated totally new ways of doing business. In the process, they have birthed new industries, obliterated others, and transformed the competitive landscape. While some companies may have trouble keeping up with this “creative destruction” and reinvention, Torchbearer CEOs view this new commercial landscape as more of an opportunity than a threat.

In addition to leaning on data strategy to fuel greater business model innovation, these leading CEOs are also searching for ways to monetize the data their enterprises hold—although, for many organizations, this is easier said than done. However, selling collected data isn’t the ultimate objective for many CEOs; it’s to create a strategic advantage by using data to define and test new business models.
More Torchbearer CEOs say their data strategy is focused on changing current business models
Torchbearer CEOs
Aspirational CEOs
Torchbearer CEOs
Aspirational CEOs
20th Global C-Suite Study
Build Your Trust Advantage
Leadership in the era of data and AI everywhere
Learn more
20th Global C-Suite Study
Build Your Trust Advantage
Leadership in the era of data and AI everywhere