Business is about people. It is about the people you hire, and the people you serve. Without people, your business ceases functioning. If you nurture the people element of your business, your business will grow and lead the way into the future.

Of course, our technologically driven modern world often neglects people in the equation. For that reason, the team at IBM decided to study just how important people were in the growth and success of modern businesses. What they discovered is causing those in the C-suite to change the way they do business and approach clients.


The study was a comprehensive global survey involving more than 1,600 CIOs, 880 CEOs, and 1,600 corporate officers who were asked to define the changing relationships between their businesses and their clients around the world. The insights and experiences they shared provide a reliable overview of the way they are rearranging their priorities.


The survey revealed that leaders are shifting their priorities from intra-enterprise efficiency and productivity towards more transparency, collaboration, and communication with their clients. What the survey also revealed is that this shift is being driven by the clients themselves. As technology advances, the collaborative technologies being utilized within our modern, 24/7 mobile workforce have empowered clients as never before.

Key findings:

  • Approximately 80% of CIOs are planning to digitize their front offices over the coming years so that they are in sync with their customers. This will lead to even more collaboration and greater efficiency.
  • The majority of CIOs say they are focusing on two key initiatives: Gaining deep insights from both structured and unstructured data via analytics and implementing cutting-edge technologies, tools, and processes within the front office. They hope to better understand their clients’ needs and remain in sync with their requirements.
  • CIOs acknowledge that obtaining meaningful actionable insights from the information they collect requires vastly improved information architecture so they an leverage the data they are gathering.
  • 84% of CIOs plan to or are currently investing in mobility solutions, business analytics, and optimization.
  • 64% of CIOs are investing in cloud computing, internal collaboration, and/or social networking.
  • Of participants, 70% of CIOs are planning to incorporate cloud technologies in an effort to improve collaborative processes with their clients.
  • CIOs want more collaboration with CMOs. This is because many are beginning to see that customer experience, sales, new business development, marketing, communications, supplier/vendor management, and IT operations are impacting the CIOs responsibilities.
  • CIOs are planning to implement more technologies designed to encourage and improve collaboration with clients, which will improve the overall customer experience. Chief among these plans is the incorporation of mobile technologies, which will be coupled with improved analytics models, to drive success.

The crucial role of technology

In the end, it has become clear to modern CIOs that these customer-related initiatives are critical to the success of their businesses. Leveraging technology is the best way to manage this and help businesses develop stronger bonds and relationships with the people they serve.

This is a trend that will continue as the technology that clients depend on continues to improve, and clients demand even greater access from mobile platforms, cloud technologies, and advanced business management software solutions.

The CEO might be the head of the company, but it is the modern, mobile customer that is the savvy new boss that companies need to pay attention to.