Growing businesses are led by leaders that know about and regularly discuss – technology, according to new findings from ThoughtWorks, a global software consultancy, in a new report out today, ‘Tech proficiency: The new imperative for business growth, leadership and agility.’
Surveying 969 CEOs, CTOs and CIOs across 12 different countries, the new study assessed the level of digital proficiency, capability and confidence among companies, and the bearing this had on plans to adapt and grow at a critical time.
The research revealed that among businesses that anticipated growth in 2021, three-quarters (74 per cent) were led by leaders that kept fully up-to-date with the latest technology developments, compared with 42 per cent of leaders of companies that were not growing.
Meanwhile, leaders of non-growing businesses were more than twice as likely to rely on the tech expertise of others instead (55 per cent vs. 25 per cent).
The leaders of growing businesses were also significantly more likely to say their management team’s knowledge of new technology developments was ‘good’ in relation to key areas of business technology.
In particular, their digital proficiency was superior in areas including digital transformation (47 per cent of growing businesses vs. 37 per cent of non-growing businesses), cloud computing (39 per cent vs. 29 per cent), data strategy (44 per cent vs. 32 per cent) and software platforms (34 per cent vs. 26 per cent).
The big discussion
Growing businesses were also more likely to discuss tech issues at board level on a regular basis. Among growing businesses, over half (52 per cent) had board level discussions around digital transformation at least on a monthly basis. This fell to 40 per cent amongst non-growing businesses.
Meanwhile, half of growing businesses discussed customer centric digital experiences at least monthly, while 49 per cent discussed issues around enterprise modernization (vs. 34 per cent).
Businesses that admitted being held back by their tech capabilities were four times less likely to have board-level discussions about digital transformation and operations each month than businesses that described themselves as technologically advanced, were half as likely to discuss customer experience and were 30 per cent less likely to discuss enterprise modernisation.
Among those respondents who did not regularly discuss tech issues at board-level, the reasons included: not understanding the problems (39 per cent), not knowing how to implement or manage them (33 per cent) or a feeling that they were not a priority (50 per cent).
Sameer Soman, Managing Director, ThoughtWorks, India commented, “Technology is not just about hardware or software products that can be plugged in to solve a problem. It is about the culture of an organisation and that culture starts at the top. Today’s CEO needs to be as well versed in data strategy, platform capability and engineering excellence, as they are about sales, marketing and accounts. These will all have an influence on future business performance.”