Change is the only constant, as the saying goes, which is especially true in corporate management. In a global survey conducted for the most recent “CEO Outlook”, it is therefore not surprising that half of the 50 CEOs interviewed in Switzerland (of 1,300 CEOs interviewed worldwide) stated that they are planning major transformations in their respective companies in the next three years. Due to changing customer behavior, new regulatory requirements, disruptive technologies and an increasing globalization of value chains, one in two CEOs feels the need to substantially transform their companies’ business model or processes. However, my experience tells me that while more than half of the CEOs feel this need they are not (yet) able to implement the necessary adjustments. The reason for this is that a company often needs to fully reposition itself in the market, which of course calls for a comprehensive change process.
Agile Swiss CEOs
Reviewing and transforming a business model is not an isolated task that has a specific beginning and end. Rather, a transformation means developing the ability to constantly adapt to external factors that are in constant flux. I am convinced that only companies committed to being adaptive will remain successful in the long term. The ability to change has become a strategic competitive factor – a trend that many companies have neglected for far too long. On the plus side, this insight seems to be more strongly rooted in Swiss companies than abroad, where only 41 percent of the CEOs surveyed expect their company and its business model to change significantly in the next three years.
Benefits for customers
On an international level, two factors are seen to represent particularly important paradigm shifts: an increase in transparency and customer knowledge and the digitization of the customer relationship. As a consequence, personal interactions will be partially replaced by digital – and thus fast and transparent – processes. This means that companies in all industries will have to process and analyze huge amounts of data in order to adapt to customer needs and other changes in a timely manner. In other words, data analysis and IT competences will become decisive across all industries. This faster, enhanced and more transparent availability of information empowers customers.
Full survey: CEO Outlook – Now or Never
What is the CEO Outlook?
KPMG has asked more than 1,300 CEOs in a global cross-industry study on their take on medium-term growth perspectives and transaction expectations, on the promotion of innovation, the handling of digitization and risks and human resources.
In the current series of articles, I will further highlight some of the specific perceptions of the Swiss CEOs who participated in this study.