CxOs Set Their Sights Back on Traditional Targets

Unlike two years ago, CxOs now expect more competition from within their same industry

Armonk, NY (Apr. 21, 2017) – Despite traditional industry boundaries blurring in the face of digital disruption, CxOs are now saying that future competition is more likely to come from within their own industry, according to new findings from IBM (NYSE: IBM).

Two years ago, digital disruption was dominating the minds of CxOs all over the world. Many business leaders professed their fear of the ‘Uber syndrome’ – when a competitor with a completely different business model enters an unlikely industry and flattens the competition. Today, there’s been a shift in CxOs’ perspectives on the competitive environment.

According to new data identified by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), 68 percent of CxOs surveyed expect future competition to come from within their own industry. When compared to the 2015 IBM IBV Global C-suite Study, only 29 percent of CxOs feared competition from likely sources. Back then CxOs saw a need to prioritize the development of new markets and territories instead of trying to grow existing ones.

According to data from the IBV, which includes input from more than 1,800 executives around the globe, the sentiment is moving in the opposite direction. It seems that today’s CxOs are starting to get a grip on the threat of industry convergence. Back in 2015, CxOs saw a need to prioritize investment in new markets and territories. Now, they are changing their focus to invest in new digital capabilities to drive organic growth in traditional markets.

“The business landscape is becoming more fluid, and executives need to remain well informed, well prepared and extremely agile,” said Stephen Marshall, IBM Institute for Business Value, C-suite Program Manager. “Unlike two years ago, CxOs are moving away from urgent reactions toward more methodical, considered approaches. They are carefully defining their go-to-market strategies while reassessing with whom they go to market.”

In what might be viewed as an encouraging sign for research and development investment, executives now expect more innovation to come from within their businesses in the near future. Compared to just 24 percent of CxOs in 2015, 44 percent of CxOs now expect innovation to come from internal sources.

The IBV Global C-suite Study program will continue to explore business leaders’ response to change throughout 2017.

For more information about the IBM Institute for Business Value visit

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