Business owners “asleep at the wheel” on changing technology

Over a THIRD of CEOs don’t have anyone ‘IT Savvy’ on their team

New research from the business organisation, Vistage, reveals the worrying fact that nearly half (46%) of the chief executives at medium-sized businesses across the UK do not feel they are up-to-date with how their customers and competitors use technology. Even more alarming, the research also found that 36% of chief executives felt that their business did not have anyone in the senior management team who was IT savvy”.

This lack of strong senior knowledge in technology comes despite senior executives and business owners having a positive outlook on the impact of technology – with 61% feeling its had a positive impact on their business’s prospects, 21% felt its overall affect was neutral, and just 2% felt technology was making things worse for their business.

Steve Gilroy CEO, Vistage
Steve Gilroy
CEO, Vistage
Steve Gilroy, CEO of Vistage, said: “Someone in the senior team needs to be tech-savvy. If there is no one in their current team who can fulfil this role, the business’s managing director needs to find someone – there are no excuses, it’s just too important and urgent! Business owners and chief executives are ‘asleep at the wheel’ if they and their senior team are not fully up to date with how technology is being used by their suppliers, customers and competitors. I really cannot see how a business’s board can make sensible strategic decisions without being knowledgeable about this.

“Across all manner of markets technology has had a sustained and dramatic impact. Changes throughout the past decade have had sweeping affects, with examples ranging from the wiping out of record shops; the decline of high streets from the rise of ecommerce; the dramatic growth of social media; the rapid development of mobile phones and tablet computing; and the creation of huge numbers of all sorts of home-based businesses. No matter what sector you are in, your competitors are using technology to improve their offerings and sell more effectively, while your suppliers and customers are using technology innovatively too.

“For chief executives who are behind-the-times with technology, they really need to consider whether their strategy is fit for purpose! They need to escape from behind their desk and take every step necessary to quickly discover how technology is being used, and will be used, by their customers and competitors.”

Question 1 – We invest in leading-edge technologies to gain a competitive advantage

No    41%
Yes  59%

Question 2 – We wait for technology to proven and established before we will consider it

No   46%
Yes  54%

Question 3 – There is currently someone in my senior management team who is very IT savvy

 No  6%
Yes  64%

Question 4 -I feel well informed about how new technologies are being used by our customers and competitors

No 46%
Yes 54%

Question 5 – How are changes in technology affecting your business’ prospects

For the better 61%
For the worse 2%
I do not know 1%
Neutral Overall 21%

The research is based on responses by 492 CEOs, MDs and owners of largely medium-sized UK businesses, and was conducted in September 2013 by Vistage (www.vistage.co.uk) the world’s leading CEO organisation