Cloud, AI, IoT key to growth for CEE managers – IBM study

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For managers of companies in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) cloud, AI, Internet of Things (IoT) and robotic process automation are the top technologies that will deliver benefits going forward, a recent study by global tech giant IBM showed.

“The COVID-19 pandemic challenged many leaders to reinvent and accelerate their digitalization strategies,” Wolfgang Wendt, general manager, IBM Central and Eastern Europe, commented.

“The study shows that CEOs from CEE and other parts of the world largely think alike when it comes to naming four advanced technologies – Intenet of Things, Hybrid Cloud, AI and Automation – that will make their businesses smarter, faster and more resilient in the face of changes that the pandemic has brought across all industries.”

In CEE, 83% of CEOs confirmed IoT will deliver the most benefits, followed by Cloud, AI and RPA, according to the study, which polled 3,000 CEOs across 26 industries in 50 countries.

For many CEOs from the region, technology infrastructure and market shifts will create the greatest challenges for their organisations over the next two or three years, the study showed. In addition, 62% of them see technology and 43% – regulation as top external forces that will affect their business in years to come.

The majority of CEOs surveyed reported empowering a remote workforce was their top priority as well as a critical challenge during 2020. Half of global outperforming company CEOs – whose organisations were in the top 20% for revenue growth of those surveyed – said managing a remote “anywhere” workforce is a top leadership challenge over the next few years, compared to 25% of underperformers, companies in the bottom 20% for revenue growth of those surveyed.

In addition, 77% of global outperforming CEOs reported they will prioritise employee well-being even if it affects short-term business results, compared to 39% of underperformers. A related IBM global consumer survey showed one in four employees reported they are planning to change employers in 2021, citing the need for a more flexible work schedule or location as a top reason why.

Outperforming company CEOs are also more focused on partnerships, according to the IBV study. 63% of outperformers said partnerships have become more important for driving business performance; only about half as many underperformers said the same.

In addition, IBM notes that as many leaders increasingly see how their organisations can help address interconnected global issues like climate change, ecosystems can play a pivotal role in driving lasting change.

The study recommends that companies choose flexible and scalable technology platforms like an open hybrid cloud, invest in the holistic well-being of their people, and partner to win with an open innovation approach.

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