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IBM Study: CIOs Have A New Boss - Customers

ARMONK, N.Y., March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- With consumers engaging more directly with businesses through mobile and social media, more than 60 percent of CIOs will focus more heavily on improving the customer experience and getting closer to customers, according to a new report released by IBM (NYSE: IBM).

IBM Corporation logo.

The report, entitled "Moving from the Back Office to the Front Lines - CIO Insights from the Global C-suite Study" is based on face-to-face conversations with more than 1,600 CIOs from 70 countries and 20 industries worldwide.  The research, conducted by IBM's Institute for Business Value, reveals that customers drive CIOs to turn their focus to the front lines.

More than 80 percent of CIOs report they are shifting their focus to the front office where marketing, sales and service managers work directly with customers. To do so, they are investing in new technologies to gain deeper insights into customer data. Examples of these items include sentiment mining and social network analysis to identify unique behavioral patterns and reliably predict critical trends.

"The study reveals the emerging reality that there is no longer any real distinction between the customer experience and contemporary business strategy," said Peter Korsten, global leader, IBM Institute for Business Value. "The quality and nature of the front-end experience has become the point of entry to the most valuable information any enterprise can possess -- information about its customers, employees, or any other relevant constituent group."

New Technologies for Engagement

CIOs at outperforming enterprises recognize that technology factors will have a significant impact on their organizations, according to IBM's study. This focus on technology represents a notable shift over the past five years -- in 2009, CIOs ranked technology factors as their sixth biggest pressure point behind categories like market factors and macro-economic changes. 

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