By Randy Littleson
Far too often, senior executives don't care about software licensing, electronic software delivery or entitlement management. These are viewed tactically in most companies - operational issues to be worried about by operational people. Is there any reason for a CEO to care about these topics?
PwC has just published very interesting survey results from their 17th Annual Global CEO Survey. The survey covered a wide range of topics that are top of mind to CEOs today.
As the chart below illustrates, CEOs strongly believe that technological advances will most transform their businesses.
CEOs agreed that technology is what propells business, now and in the future. Their belief that technology leads the way was echoed in just about everything they responded to according to PwC.
In fact, product and service innovation was seen as the primary opportunity for growth in 2014 by 36% of US CEOs. For many, this will be based on new digital ecosystems--the hardware, software, services and communications infrastructure that make digitization possible.
Interestingly, PwC commented that US CEOs are coming to realize that no matter their industry, they must now think like technology companies. One area close to home where we see this is in the transformation of hardware manufacturers into intelligent device manufacturers--where the combination of software and hardware now makes up the solutions that protect them from low cost competitors, differentiate them from global competitors and deliver greater value to their customers.
There's also an interesting discussion on new business models. PwC finds that new business models are increasingly the output of innovation and are changing the economics of many businesses. The implication is clearly a call to action to lead or get run over.
US CEOs are also very watchful of tech-related threats--with protection of intellectual property and the speed of technological change being major concerns.
From an operational perspective, PwC finds that CEOs are reinventing operations to remain fit today and relevant tomorrow. They are focused on responding to customers, orchestrated by technology. They see operations as essential to achieving their business objectives and need to accelerate change by leveraging technology at the heart of operations.
When reading this, I was reminded of a session we had at a past SoftSummit event where we gathered market leading software vendors and intelligent device manufacturers to discuss all things related to software licensing, electronic software delivery and entitlement management. We were fortunate enough to have the CEO of ArcSight, a company focused on big data security analytics and intelligence software for security information and event management, present to the audience. The topic of his discussion was why a CEO would care about these topics.
He shared a story about ArcSight originally building some of this infrastructure to electronically deliver software and manage software entitlements to customers internally and how it was directly and negatively impacting their ability to achieve their business objectives. Why? Because the market was moving faster than their internally developed back-office and infrastructure could keep up. They couldn't implement new business model changes required to fend off increasingly aggressive competitors fast enough within their software operations and couldn't reliably deliver software to customers at quarter end to recognize revenue. Both of these operational topics were paramount to the CEO because they had a direct correlation to top line business objectives.
I think we're going to see this even more going forward. The PwC research provides tremendous insights on connecting these dots and showing how these operational issues and technology adoption are having a profound impact on business objectives and CEOs are starting to think about these issues. Definitely worth a read - PwC has done some nice work here with lots of good insights to review.