Overview: Connecting in the C-Suite



CIO Insights: Connecting in the C-Suite

A panel of experts brought together by Apparo and its corporate partners assembled to discuss connecting in the C-Suite. Below are key takeaways from the event that cover what’s changing, driving, and trending in strategic plans, and how collaboration among departments is affecting a company’s effectiveness and bottom line.

What is driving the strategic plan of over-performing companies?

  • In 2013, technology was the number one influencer for CEOs in terms of strategic influence (in 2004 it was number 6).  Going forward, integrating digital advances into behavior will dictate and change decision-making in the C-Suite.
  • Customer experience comes second only to the C-Suite in terms of strategic influence. In 2013, the change in focus shifted to customer experience management. CIOs are now spending nearly 50% of their time focused on the customer experience, a 64% jump over the last 3-5 years.
  • Over-performance of organizations is linked to the relationships within the C-Suite. 86% of organizations in which the CIO and CEO have a close relationship are over-performers. Most over-performers also have CIOs and CMOs with a good working relationship.

What is changing/trending?

  • The expectation of consumers is changing. The speed with which consumer changes direction is increasing due to social media. People believe most of what they read about a product or service to be true. Companies must be more proactive than reactive in reaching their consumers with tools such as mobile technology to keep consumers informed.

How can you bring your team on board to better align collaboration?

  • Collaboration is inherent but, within companies, turf wars can arise. To avoid conflict, start collaboration under a common goal that the C-Suite can rally around. When leaders come together on a mission and create a long-term plan, collaboration can work.
  • The collaboration process will work with the right technology, but technology cannot drive the process. Employees understanding the end goal, and the plan to reach that end goal, and working together through technology increases productivity.
  • All decisions should be made within the context of the business, not separate departments. Companies need to understand not only the IT standpoint in decision-making, but also how decisions affect the company as a whole—especially from the customer point of view.
  • Educating the company on each department’s role and how to make the roles work together is imperative to collaboration. For example, IT should understand the language of business and how/where the money is made, helping them learn how to become team players.

What will the consumer being top of mind do to change how companies do business?

  • Consumers hold the money and therefore drive the business. Companies need to reach consumers by recruiting teams to become a part of what consumers are doing (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, etc.) There is nothing more important to the consumer than knowing you are there for them and can help them solve a problem.
  • Consumers being top of mind changes how companies use information. By understanding how consumers live, companies are able to extend their relationship with consumers—building a relationship makes a product or service real to a consumer.

How do big data and analytics help?

  • Big data and analytics help companies discover information they don’t know in order to make more money. However, information is a ‘so what’ if employees don’t know what to do with it. Make the data accessible and easily explained to staff so that staff can explain it just as easily to consumers. Companies must be able to get to the point of their data very quickly.
  • Data can also be used to support decisions in the C-Suite. For example, the data surrounding strong relationships in the C-Suite (an overwhelming percentage of companies with strong relationships in the C-Suite are over-performers) supports the decision for a CIO and CMO to collaborate.
  • Use big data to find needs within a consumer base and fill that need, providing an opportunity for company growth.