Global CEOS May Take Technology For Granted - InformationWeek

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Software // Enterprise Applications

Global CEOS May Take Technology For Granted

Thumbing through IBM's Global CEO Study 2004, you quickly conclude that chiefs of industry around the world don't fret much about business technology these days. Only one-third of the 456 CEOs that IBM Business Consulting Services surveyed cited technology among the top three forces that will have a major impact on their companies over the next three years. This suggests that IT is so pervasive within big, global companies that its days of being viewed as a driving force are past.

Still, companies need to keep up with the latest technologies, one CEO in the study says, even if "this means slowing the use of technology to match the rate it can be adopted at. A rapid response isn't important; a good response is."

The survey confirms CEOs' growing comfort with technology. Only 25% cite uncertainty as the technology factor that would have the greatest impact on their business; 70% see adopting new technologies as the greatest tech factor to influence their companies.

Anti-Change Factors

The data shows some doubt: 60% of the CEOs who see rapid response as important to their businesses say capturing and employing customer information to make quick decisions is important. Yet, only 40% say they'll implement and leverage customer-relationship-management processes and apps to respond quickly to customers. The difference could be CEOs' uneasiness about the effectiveness of CRM modules and marketing schemes that may not have worked as promised, says Eric Pelander, leader of IBM's strategy and change-services practice.

Overall, CEOs have the same agendas. Eighty-three percent say revenue growth is the top goal; 60% say cutting costs. No other goal comes close. More than 80% of the CEOs identified market forces as the biggest external force on their companies. The most significant internal barrier: Limited leadership to manage change-related projects.

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