An IBM face-to-face survey of more than 1,700 chief executives in 64 countries reveals that the three things separating those businesses that outperform vs. underperform are:
- More access to data
- Greater capacity to draw insights from data
- Stronger ability to translate insights into action
In short, they are not only data-driven, they are “insight-driven” and they readily grasp the head start that capacity provides over the competition.
Similarly, a just-released McKinsey & Company survey of C-suite executives confirms that “more executives say they have outperformed competitors in their use of big data and analysis than in applying any other trend.”
Harder to find these days, I suspect, but still vocal are the few in every community who denigrate the need for data, preferring to black-ball, talk-over or bully anyone with information that may scrutinize or contradict their unsubstantiated preferences.
An IPSOS survey of senior business executives last year found that half already own a tablet device (nearly eclipsing smartphones) and a Financial Times survey reveals how senior executives use them:
- 53% access work email [greatly extending their virtual day]
- 38% already see tablets replacing desktop/laptop computers
- 8 out 10 use them for news, reference and reading (data)
The latter is good news for newspapers and other traditional media that are rapidly shifting to new platforms but not bode well for traditional media which shows a 61% decrease in use in reaching customers according to the IBM survey which projects that over the next three to five years only 15% project will use that medium.
Similarly those overly reliant on business travel will see its decades-long decline drop with another 16% drop forecast in the use of face-to-face meetings and sales forces.
It probably will come as a surprise to organizations purportedly lobbying on behalf of business and their legislative enablers, but of all the external concerns, CEOs rank regulatory concerns only fifth on their list of concerns and environmental issues eighth.
CEOs are far more concerned about the impact of technology #1, people skills #2 and market factors #3. Macro-economic factors have fallen to fourth. As a political moderate-leaning Independent, this tells me that the President is apparently on point and doing his homework.
As the IBM report summarizes, “CEOs are becoming increasingly accustomed to volatility. They expect unpredictability…Unable to control or even anticipate economic outcomes, these CEOs have shifted their focus elsewhere.”
Which brings us back to data - deeper and broader, primary and secondary, generalizable and anecdotal – organizations and decisions today must be informed by data in order to increase their capacity to draw insights and then rapidly deploy those insights into action.