[Techtaffy Newsdesk]

A new IBM global study of mid-market Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) indicates that nearly twice as many mid-market CEOs see creating a more collaborative work environment with a higher level of openness and transparency than a year ago.

A total of 45 percent of midmarket CEOs see the need to create a more open business environment, a close to 50 percent jump from two years ago. Additionally, nearly 70 percent of mid-market CEOs aim to partner extensively with other companies as external relationships will play a more critical role to CEOs’ overall business strategies; 64 percent of mid-market CEOs are focused on creating a more collaborative environment to engage employees with a new way of making faster and better decisions in an increasingly changing business environment; and 71 percent are focused on improving their understanding of individual customer needs.

Despite the surge in social media adoption around the world, only 15 percent of mid-market CEOs are using social media platforms to connect with the individual consumer today. Three to five years from now, that number is poised to spike to 50 percent.

Market dynamics and technological advances continue to force more organizational change, significantly impacting how midmarket businesses engage with customers and employees and drive innovation. Mid-market CEOs are now looking to technology not only to make them more efficient but also to enable increased collaboration and create relationships – essential connections to fuel creativity.

Rising complexity and escalating competition have also made partnering a core innovation strategy for many organizations. As mid-market businesses become more geographically diverse and interact with other organizations, the importance of sustaining a collaborative business culture will only continue to grow. Those that are perceived to be collaborative often find it easier to partner with other successful companies. In fact, about 50 percent of mid-market CEOs see partnering or collaborating as a way to stay on the path of innovation.

In addition, given the market pressures to operate with greater openness and transparency, CEOs are looking for employees who will thrive in this kind of atmosphere. CEOs are increasingly focused on finding top talent with the ability to constantly reinvent themselves. These employees are comfortable with change; they learn as they go, often from others’ experiences. CEOs regard interpersonal skills of collaboration (72 percent), communication (68 percent), creativity (58 percent) and flexibility (66 percent) as key drivers of employee success to operate in a more complex, interconnected environment.

Organizations are under intense pressure to respond to not only how customers want products and services delivered, but also when and where. Businesses can profit from unique insights they discover about customers. In fact, 65 percent of midmarket CEOs identify customer insights as the most critical investment area.

Finally, mobility is also elevating customer expectations and creating new challenges for CEOs. Mid-market clients have a tremendous opportunity to create value out of immediacy to be ready with relevant services and information in the context of the moment. As mobile commerce is expected to reach $31 billion by 2016, companies will need to take advantage of location based services and new forms of commerce in which mobile is integrated into a consumer’s multichannel experiences, tailored to the individual, to stay competitive.

You can access a copy of the study here.

[Image Courtesy: IBM]