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IBM study identifies six strategies that define digital winners


The IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), part of IBM Services, has conducted a comprehensive worldwide primary research study of 1,500 mostly C-level executives to identify the characteristics and strategies of the world’s most prosperous digital companies.

The study has identified a group of organizations as Leaders. These “Leaders” are winning on almost every front—from growth and profitability to a wide spectrum of digital transformation.

According to the study, following are the six top strategies Leaders employ to perpetuate success:

Orchestrate digital ecosystems and platforms.

Leaders report that digital platforms are on the rise, with the potential for advancements in revenue growth and profitability. Most companies agree on the importance of business platforms to their organizations’ future. 81 percent of the leaders are already orchestrators of other businesses on platforms.

When asked which business and operating models their organizations are adopting or considering for the future, most respondents declared their intention to act as integrators of resources across a value chain.

Build trust to build your brand

Platforms are also influencing the nature of brands, which must adjust accordingly. Trust is a key ingredient. 93% of respondents identified building their brand reputations as one of the most critical aspects of their operations.

While real-time, data-driven personalization of brand experiences is an imperative, it also presents a hazard. People tend to trust each other more than they trust institutions. With extensive personalization, the collective dynamic is diffused. Leveraging the power of peer influence—perhaps by offering the perks of “membership” in something greater than themselves—is important. The result? A holistic brand experience that emphasizes interdependence.

Reimagine customer behavior

Leaders are reimagining the rapid shifts in customer conduct and personalizing their experiences using rapid design and get-to-market techniques. As many as 89% of the Leaders think that their highest priority and singular business objective is to improve the customer experience. Indeed, they are more focused on this than any other objective, including launching new products and services, entering new regions, and growing share.

Curate data that “thinks” and “acts”

85% of Leaders are cultivating and curating a plethora of data, turning it into immediate and actionable insights. With their keen senses of speed, they are integrating “thinking” technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and automation. They’re utilizing robotics, automation, and AI to rethink processes and workflows. With new capabilities in place, they can detect everything happening around them, from the movement of a person or a piece of equipment, to inventory turns or downed power lines.

Create an exponential learning environment

They are implementing exponential learning—both human and machine—across the entire organization. They use automated processes and self-learning, self-correcting workflows to deepen customer relations and change the nature of work for their employees.

Nearly 90% of respondents leverage automated workflows with self-learning software to deepen customer relationships. The rise of analytics makes data easier to access and use than ever before. Insight-driven AI and cognitive computing systems use combinations of algorithmic, NLP, and machine learning capabilities to create more natural interactions, and learning, between people and machines.

Foster a culture of inclusion

Finally, Leaders are inclusive with their employees and larger, extended networks of partners and customers as they co-create customized experiences for all. They know that workforce diversity matters. 96% of the Leaders share their corporate vision to unite and inspire employees. They understand that bold moves can only be achieved by sharing a compelling vision and creating a united, inspired organization.

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