RealTime IT News

Survey: Few CEOs Think E-Business Is Top Challenge

Despite all the hype, only 4 percent of the CEOs interviewed for a recent study believe that e-business is their main challenge.

However, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of the executives said their companies are extremely or moderately active in creating or maintaining an e-business strategy and 57 percent said e-business has changed the way they conduct business.

The study, released by global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, was based on interviews with 251 CEOs from 26 countries across 10 industry segments.

The company said the results point to the elusive nature of the digital revolution.

"While 'chaos at the top' may be too strong a phrase, the data clearly underscores the confusion that reigns in boardrooms today about e-business and its relevance to business strategy, products and services," said Doug Aldrich, the A.T. Kearney vice president who led the study.

Despite the prevailing forecasts that B2B net market makers, such as online auctions and trading exchanges, will see explosive growth in coming years, few CEOs in the survey seem convinced of their importance.

Forty-nine percent of the CEOs reported that they were not serious about participating in these new exchanges. By contrast, only 18 percent of those surveyed were extremely serious about participating in a trading exchange and 26 percent were moderately serious.

"The companies I have spoken to are very interested on the sell side, but for the buy side, online exchanges will remain an interesting initiative for the future," said Paul Inglis, a vice president at A.T. Kearney. "Nevertheless, today, the procurement department is getting more attention from the executive office than ever before."

CEOs of North American companies reported a slightly higher level of e-business activity for their firms -- 81 percent, compared with 72 percent in Europe and 65 percent in both Asia and Central and South America.

Meanwhile, 78 percent of North American executives said the Internet had changed the way they do business, compared with 64 percent of Asian executives, 46 percent of European executives and 29 percent of Central and South American executives.

Interestingly, 79 percent of European executives predicted e-business would have a significant impact on future product offerings, compared with 71 percent for Central and South America, 67 percent in Asia and only 59 percent in North America.

A.T. Kearney, an EDS subsidiary, provides strategic, operational, organizational and information technology consulting and executive search services.