CEOs with low digital IQ risk falling behind: PwC report

Firms must have a tech-savvy CEO, strong relationships among senior executives and develop company-wide digital capabilities to get ahead in the tech age. That’s according to the sixth annual PricewaterhouseCoopers Digital IQ survey, which tracks how companies understand, value and weave technology throughout their organizations. According to its authors, the study, which surveyed 1,500 top […]

Firms must have a tech-savvy CEO, strong relationships among senior executives and develop company-wide digital capabilities to get ahead in the tech age. That’s according to the sixth annual PricewaterhouseCoopers Digital IQ survey, which tracks how companies understand, value and weave technology throughout their organizations.

According to its authors, the study, which surveyed 1,500 top business executives around the world, outlines what it takes to become a high-performing digital enterprise in today’s market.

Respondents also shared their insights, with a large majority (74%) of business and IT leaders saying they are worried about digital technology challenges, such as data mining and mobile tech, but only a minority were directly addressing these concerns in their strategies.

All companies in the study agreed that mobile tech, data mining and analysis and cybersecurity would be of the most strategic importance in three to five years.

“Company leaders must be ready to ramp up their Digital IQ. Those who do not are destined to fall further behind,” the report states.

The study outlines a number of key strategies it says will boost the digital profile of a company.

Leadership 2.0

Company bosses must have an overarching digital strategy that considers every dimension of the business. They should define clear roles, accountability and governance for how the strategy is executed. The report found that 81% of top performers said their CEO is an active champion in the use of IT compared with 68% of other companies.

Relationship Status

The top information officer and head marketer of a company should be on the same page when it comes to strategy. According to PwC, many digital technology initiatives are driven by marketing needs, so strong relationships among senior executives are essential to success. The report found that 70% of top-performing companies have a strong CIO-CMO relationship compared with just 45% for non-top performers.

Future is Now

IT capabilities face crushing pressure from every direction in the digital age, the report states, so firms need to respond. PwC recommends a new approach to IT, what it calls the “new IT platform” – finding new and emerging technologies and getting them in place. For retail and marketing they are: mobile apps for customers, data mining and analysis, external social media and cybersecurity.

360 View

It is essential for firms to have a digital capability that is woven throughout the business rather than “hidden in the shadows,” the survey contends. That’s why IT must fully understand all aspects of the business—and vice versa.

See more from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Digital IQ report

PwC’s sixty annual Digital IQ survey was conducted in the fall of 2013. The global survey included 1,494 respondents from 36 countries. Answers were aggregated into five regions and 11 industries. Respondents were evenly divided between IT and business leaders. Two-thirds of respondents work in organizations with revenues of $1 billion or greater and 37% have revenues greater than $5 billion.

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