CEOs are becoming more preoccupied with heading up digital transformation in their organisations as the pace of change speeds up, Gartner has claimed.
The research house questioned over 400 CEOs and senior business execs to find out their top priorities for 2016.
Unsurprisingly, growth was picked as the number one priority by 54 per cent of respondents, with customers scoring 31 per cent and workforce 27 per cent.
Mark Raskino, vice president at Gartner, said: “The big rise of explicit mentions of the word 'customer' was very noticeable in the results of this year’s survey. CEOs seem to be concerned about improving customer service, relationship and satisfaction levels. At the same time, they have become much more concerned about employee issues than [they were] a couple of years ago. The emphasis is as much on benefits, retention and training of mainstream staff. It is not constrained only to senior-grade 'talent' issues."
However, the analyst noted a shift as more chiefs look to head up the digital business transformation strategy of their company (or at least ensure the CIO is heading the project) as many of them expect their respective industries to be "almost unrecognisable" within five years.
According to the results, which focused mainly on firms with revenue of $1bn or more, CEOs are confident enough to sanction strategic investments, particularly with digital investments.
Gartner cited examples of digital changes including self-driving cars, the rise of blockchain in banking and the Internet of Things.
The analyst claimed CEOs appear to see digitalisation as a positive force rather than destructive, with 84 per cent saying they expect digital change to bring higher profit margins.
Raskino added: "One explanation for CEOs' optimistic attitude towards digital change may be because they can see how it helps with the product innovations that matter to customers.
"We asked CEOs what proportion of the customer perceived value of products and services they think is digital. Thinking about the product features that customers are choosing and believe they are buying, CEOs said the value percentage is already 30 per cent on average and will rise to 46 per cent by 2019."
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