The accuracy, speed and precision of IT systems means the difference between winning or losing customers, keeping supply chains profitable, and solidly translating new concepts into revenue-producing products and services. The world’s best-run services businesses have customer-driven IT as part of their DNA; it is very much who these companies are internally.
In the recently published Garter report CEO and Senior Executive Survey 2013: 21 Top Companies Admired for Competitive IT based on research completed between October and December, 2012 as part of the 2013 CEO and Senior Business Executive Survey. One of the questions asked respondents for the company they most admire for its ability to apply IT-related business capabilities for competitive advantage. Respondents were also asked to limit their responses only to their own and related industries.
391 respondents participated in the survey with 147 being CEOs, 149, CFOs; 49, COOs; and 46 being board members including Chairman of the board and president. Geographic distribution included 152 respondents from North America; 124 from Europe; 78 from Asia/Pacific; 20 from Brazil; 12 from South Africa; and 5 from the Middle East with minimum company size being $250M in annual sales or above.
The following is the list of the world’s most admired companies using IT for competitive advantage.
Most Admired Companies Making IT A Competitive Advantage
- Customer-driven IT is the single most admired trait of all 21 companies in the list. Associated with this attribute is the proven ability of these enterprises to manage complex e-commerce systems & platforms, support multichannel management, in addition to continually show the ability to innovate quickly.
- Enterprises need to consider how the business successes their investments in IT are enabling can be used for branding and recruitment. Providing benchmark performance data and stories of how IT helped create entirely new markets and solve customer problems needs to be used for recruiting. Many of the 21 companies mentioned are doing this, using success stories as a catalyst for driving recruitment efforts for analytics, cloud computing and systems integration experts.
- Don’t underestimate the disruptive power of cloud computing and mobility to completely re-order enterprise systems quickly. Gartner mentions that there are enterprises whose IT organizations would have made the list had they not slowed down. While not directly stated, Gartner warns IT departments to not become complacent over time. From personal experience working in IT departments however, it is clear that complacency is a leading career hazard. It’s imperative for CIOs to keep challenging their organizations to stay intensely focused on new developments, seeking out how they can be used to strengthen business strategies.
- Four of the top five factors that most impressed respondents about the admired companies are customer-related. Customer-facing IT (15%); followed by an integrated/standardized/unified IT organization and process framework (13%); exceptional use of CRM (11%); customer-centered innovation (9%); and product design & offerings (9%) are the most mentioned attributes of the highest-performing companies. Multiple responses were allowed to this area of the survey.
(Cross-posted @ Enterprise Software Strategist)