The intelligent operations advantage
Chief Operations Officer insights from the 20th Edition of the Global C-suite Study

Leading Chief Operations Officers (COOs) have positioned their organizations to prosper in the age of intelligent automation and turn man plus machine into a winning combination.

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 COOs who help run these organizations have mastered the ability to transform information into intelligence and operationalize the insights it provides. They understand how the digital economy is redefining value and, while they recognize that data is an asset, they realize trust determines what it’s worth.

The result? The organizations represented by this elite corps of pioneering COOs are more flexible, more innovative, and more profitable than their industry peers.


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Belief in bytes:
A culture of data devotees
Torchbearer COOs
Aspirational COOs
C-suite team has the data mindset needed to improve the quality of decision-making
79%
|
35%
“We must make data an asset in the hearts and minds of our people.”
COO
| Energy, Environment, and Utilities
Ireland

Creating an environment in which data underpins every operational decision is difficult. However, it is this intrinsic faith in data that propels Torchbearer COOs forward.

Torchbearer COOs recognize that assumptions, unsupported by proof, can be risky and encourage the sharing of information across functional boundaries. They realize that operational efficiency is central to the customer experience and, therefore, make integrating data to obtain immediate operational insights a top priority. These top-performing COOs don’t see data analytics as merely an add-on; rather, they recognize data-driven decisions as a must-have element in an elite enterprise’s business model.
Belief in bytes:
A culture of data devotees
“We must make data an asset in the hearts and minds of our people.”
COO
| Energy, Environment, and Utilities
Ireland

Creating an environment in which data underpins every operational decision is difficult. However, it is this intrinsic faith in data that propels Torchbearer COOs forward.

Torchbearer COOs recognize that assumptions, unsupported by proof, can be risky and encourage the sharing of information across functional boundaries. They realize that operational efficiency is central to the customer experience and, therefore, make integrating data to obtain immediate operational insights a top priority. These top-performing COOs don’t see data analytics as merely an add-on; rather, they recognize data-driven decisions as a must-have element in an elite enterprise’s business model.
Torchbearer COOs
Aspirational COOs
C-suite team has the data mindset needed to improve the quality of decision-making
79%
|
35%
Intelligent operations:
Smart, self-directed systems
Large investment in established technologies in the next 2-3 years
Torchbearer COOs
Aspirational COOs
Torchbearer COOs
Aspirational COOs
“AI is the future. Algorithms and bots will make intelligent decisions.”
COO
| Healthcare
United States

If a culture of data believers is essential to realize data’s value, so is the technological infrastructure required to share and analyze data and access new data sources—something Torchbearer COOs clearly understand.

Torchbearer COOs are investing heavily in both existing and emerging technologies. They know these technologies are the key building blocks of intelligent automation. Furthermore, leading COOs are placing chief bets on artificial intelligence (AI), with almost 80 percent intending to invest heavily.

We also found that Torchbearer COOs excel at leveraging data to assist with decision making. By using clear, clean, and curated data, along with AI and other technologies, to guide their operational decisions, these leaders can forestall problems, as well as optimize asset utilization and energy consumption. Torchbearer COOs are well on the way to building supply chains that are self-learning and self-correcting.
Intelligent operations:
Smart, self-directed systems
“AI is the future. Algorithms and bots will make intelligent decisions.”
COO
| Healthcare
United States

If a culture of data believers is essential to realize data’s value, so is the technological infrastructure required to share and analyze data and access new data sources—something Torchbearer COOs clearly understand.

Torchbearer COOs are investing heavily in both existing and emerging technologies. They know these technologies are the key building blocks of intelligent automation. Furthermore, leading COOs are placing chief bets on artificial intelligence (AI), with almost 80 percent intending to invest heavily.

We also found that Torchbearer COOs excel at leveraging data to assist with decision making. By using clear, clean, and curated data, along with AI and other technologies, to guide their operational decisions, these leaders can forestall problems, as well as optimize asset utilization and energy consumption. Torchbearer COOs are well on the way to building supply chains that are self-learning and self-correcting.
Large investment in established technologies in the next 2-3 years
Torchbearer COOs
Aspirational COOs
Torchbearer COOs
Aspirational COOs
Open and closed:
A strategy for sharing wisely
Torchbearer COOs
Aspirational COOs
Building the processes to deliver value at every customer touchpoint and moment-of-truth
68%
|
29%
“If we don’t look after our customers’ best interests, they won’t trust us.”
COO
| Banking and Financial markets
Australia

Torchbearer COOs are not only better at using data to make decisions, they have a better grasp of what customers want. It’s this vital understanding that thrusts these elite enterprises past their competitors.

Torchbearer COOs realize that data—when used responsibly—can help forge sincere, mutually beneficial bonds and earn customer trust. In fact, a full 81 percent of Torchbearer COOs say data helps their enterprise strengthen the level of trust that customers place in it. Furthermore, they know that when data is shared among business partners, it can grow greatly in value. However, Torchbearer COOs recognize that there’s a great distinction between what can be shared and what should be shared.
Open and closed:
A strategy for sharing wisely
“If we don’t look after our customers’ best interests, they won’t trust us.”
COO
| Banking and Financial markets
Australia

Torchbearer COOs are not only better at using data to make decisions, they have a better grasp of what customers want. It’s this vital understanding that thrusts these elite enterprises past their competitors.

Torchbearer COOs realize that data—when used responsibly—can help forge sincere, mutually beneficial bonds and earn customer trust. In fact, a full 81 percent of Torchbearer COOs say data helps their enterprise strengthen the level of trust that customers place in it. Furthermore, they know that when data is shared among business partners, it can grow greatly in value. However, Torchbearer COOs recognize that there’s a great distinction between what can be shared and what should be shared.
Torchbearer COOs
Aspirational COOs
Building the processes to deliver value at every customer touchpoint and moment-of-truth
68%
|
29%
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
Want to learn more about the study?
Want to learn more about the study?