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April 24, 2017

Brexit and Trump fail to shift CEOs’ focus on digital growth & profits

Gartner survey shows 42% of CEOs have begun digital business transformation.

By Hannah Williams

CEO’s remain focused on profits and growth despite the recent uncertainty in the global political landscape, with Trump and Brexit just two factors hitting markets and spreading unease among businesses.

However, a recent Gartner survey has found that political unease has done nothing to shift CEOs’ focus on business, with growth named the main business priority for 58 percent of CEOs. This figure has risen markedly from 42 percent in 2016.

The survey, which polled 388 CEOs and senior business leaders in user organisations worldwide, found that although the idea of a digital business was speculative a few years ago, it has now become a reality for many in 2017.

Already, 47 percent of CEOs say they are being challenged by their business board of directors to make progress in digital business, with 56 percent revealing that they have already began digital improvements with noticeable improved profits.

Gartner surveyMark Raskino, VP, Gartner Fellow said: “CEO understanding of the benefits of a digital business strategy is improving. They are able to describe it more specifically.

“Although a significant number of CEOs still mention e-commerce or digital marketing, more of them align it to advanced business ideas, such as digital product and service innovation, the Internet of Things, or digital platforms and ecosystems.”

Read more: UK government’s digital transformation strategy puts vendors on alert

From this it is also clear that many CEOs have recognised that being open-minded, entrepreneurial, adaptable and collaborative are the most-needed digital leadership mindsets.

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However, it was also found that even though more CEOs have noticeably begun to see the importance of digital ambitions, almost half of CEOs surveyed have no digital transformation success metric.

Raskino said: “CIOs should help CEOs set the success criteria for digital business. It starts by remembering that you cannot scale what you do not quantify, and you cannot quantify what you do not define.

“You should ask yourself: What is ‘digital’ for us? What kind of growth do we seek? What’s the No.1 metric and which KPIs must change?”

This enables CEOs to gain the understanding that deeper transformation can only be achieved at scale if driven systematically. In this case, this could mean changing business capabilities due to the evolving business ideas.

It also relates to CEOs changing the rate of lack of skill and training in businesses, and rather than seeing it fit to employ more digital-skilled employees, it would be equally as important to pay closer attention in training current employees.

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