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Customers as business strategists?

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Customers as business strategists?

According to a recent survey by IBM, 90 percent of senior leaders globally expect extensive collaboration with customers within the next five years.

“Open.” “Collaborative.”  “Reciprocal.” 

These are some of the words used to describe the attitudes of C-level executives in a recent study by IBM about customer interaction and its influence on corporate strategy.

According to the study, 60% of CEOs plan to directly engage their customers and proactively apply what they learn to set their business agendas in the next three to five years -- up from 43% of CEO's who now include customers in the development of business strategies.

"Our research with C-suite leaders over the past decade has shown that organizations have steadily shifted to embrace more open, collaborative and reciprocal models," said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global Business Services. "Today, CEO's recognize that they can't do it all alone. They're opening up their organizations, breaking down barriers and actively engaging customers -- providing customers a seat at the table to help shape their business model and strategy."

Also according to the study, a growing number of CEOs believe that customer influence should extend beyond traditional activities such as developing new products. Senior leaders are relinquishing tight control over internal affairs to acquire valuable customer input in such critical domains as business strategy development, pricing structure and social and environmental policies.

See the full report here.

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