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Welcome to the bandwagon, c-suite. According to Gartner analysts, priorities of chief executive officers have shifted to focus on the advantages of deploying digital-first businesses. In the face of multiplying competition, the ongoing threat of Amazon, and inefficient internal operations, ceo’s no longer have the luxury to remain lethargic in a rapidly expedited market.

“Although growth remains the ceo’s biggest priority, there was a significant fall in simple mentions of it this year, from 58 percent in 2017 to just 40 percent in 2018. This does not mean ceo’s are less focused on growth, instead it shows that they are shifting perspective on how to obtain it,” said Mark Raskino, vice president and Gartner Fellow. “The ‘corporate’ category, which includes actions such as new strategy, corporate partnerships and mergers and acquisitions, has risen significantly to become the second-biggest priority.”

Part of its “Gartner 2018 CEO and Senior Business Executive Survey,” the firm polled 460 ceo’s and senior business executives in the fourth quarter of 2017 to review their main business concerns and focal points, including the digital impact on their operations and revenue. The leaders included in the survey all belonged to companies that secured more than $50 million in annual revenue.

Staying afloat remained a priority for ceo’s, and 40 percent of participants named revenue as their main concern. Thirty-three percent of participants said corporate and structural development was their priority — 31 percent said IT-related topics were their primary focus.

There’s still a learning curve for many of these ceo’s, though. “Only 37 percent of ceo’s said a significant or deep culture change is needed by 2020. However, when companies that have a digital initiative under way are compared with those that don’t, the proportion in need of culture change rose to 42 percent,” a Gartner spokesman said.

“These survey results show that if a company has a digital initiative, then the recognized need for culture change is higher,” said Raskino. “The most important types of cultural change that ceo’s intend to make include making the culture more proactive, collaborative, innovative, empowered and customer-centric. They also highly rate a move to a more digital and tech-centric culture.”

They’re not a lost cause, yet. According to survey results, 62 percent of respondents said they have management initiatives or transformation programs to make their businesses increasingly digitized.

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