IBM Study Shows CIOs Switching Focus To Engaging Customers

ibm cio study

It seems CIOs are focusing on the most important element of business – customers. In a recent IBM CIO study, “Moving from the Back Office to the Front Lines – CIO Insights from the Global C-Suite,” IBM shares insights from face-to-face conversations with more than 1,600 CIOs from 70 countries and 20 industries worldwide.

Who Exactly Did IBM Survey?

They surveyed:

  • 1,656 Chief Information Officers (CIOs)
  • 884 Chief Executive Officers (CEOs)
  • 576 Chief Finance Officers (CFOs)
  • 342 Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs)
  • 524 Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs)
  • 201 Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs)

That’s a lot of chiefs – sharing vital insights for building better businesses.

According to the study, it appears leaders’ priorities are shifting from intra-enterprise efficiency and productivity to a new agenda led by the front office – focused on extra enterprise engagement, transparency, collaboration and dialogue with clients.

It seems today’s digitally enfranchised and empowered customers are leading CIOs on a new path, one that demands collaborative technologies designed for today’s 24/7 mobile workforce.

Highlights of the IBM Study Include:

  • More than 80 percent of CIOs aim to digitize their front offices within the next few years to sync with customers more efficiently – signaling a great trend toward collaborative technologies.
  • More than 80 percent of CIOs intend to focus on two key initiatives: Using analytics to create deep insights from structures and unstructured data and implementing leading-edge technologies, processes and tools in the front office to better understand and sync with customers.
  • CIOs recognize that extracting meaningful, actionable insights from collected information will require a vastly robust information architecture to fully leverage big data.
  • Over the next few years, 84 percent of CIOs plan to invest in mobility solutions, another 84 percent on business analytics and optimization, 64 percent on cloud computing and another 64 percent on internal collaboration and social networking.
  • Nearly 70 percent of CIOs are planning to implement cloud technologies, chiefly to enhance collaborative processes.
  • CIOs want to share the CMO’s territory – with more CIOs interested in customer experience management, sales and new business development, marketing and communications strategies, supplier/vendor management and, of course, IT operations. Traditional CMO responsibilities – customer experience management and sales and new business development – are creeping into the office of the CIO.
  • Over the coming years, CIOs plan to implement technologies designed to drive client collaboration and improve the customer experience in today’s mobile business environment. Indeed, CIOs are looking outward to generate new value – with mobile technologies and advanced analytics top of mind.

Why the Focus on Cutting-Edge Technologies to Enhance the Customer Experience?

It appears, for today’s CIOs, the most important customer-related initiative is fully leveraging technology to understand the real needs of current and future customers.

With clients now more technologically astute and demanding mobile platforms, it will be the customer-engaged enterprise leading charge in utilization of cloud technologies, advanced business management software solutions and responsive, mobile platforms. 

Essentially, the IBM CIO study illustrates that CIOs are looking to satisfy a savvy new boss – the modern, mobile customer.

Customer Meeting Photo via Shutterstock


Chris Miles Chris Miles is Founder and CEO of Miles Technologies, an award-winning IT, custom software, web design and online marketing firm in Moorestown, New Jersey. Miles Technologies in 2013 developed business by MILES, a Web based business operations platform designed to support all business functionalities. Miles is an expert in IT and business solutions.

5 Reactions
  1. I am noticing a focus on technology here. I guess most of them are planning to take the digital route. While this can be more efficient business wise, there are still some dangers in security. It is a matter of making the right decision for a better company.