With every passing day, the pace of business is accelerating. Tectonic shifts in the global economy combined with rapid technology adoption are forcing business executives to contend with a new global marketplace fraught with uncertainty and constant change. To be successful under these new market dynamics, firms must adjust operational processes, corporate strategies and business models at lightning speed—allowing them to leverage intelligence instantly and take immediate action. At the same time, they must make sure their decisions are informed by proper data and analysis.
What are executive perceptions and opinions about real-time operations?
To explore these issues, Oxford Economics undertook a global survey in March 2011 of 525 executives. The survey focused on large and medium-sized business units in four sectors of the economy—consumer products, high-tech, oil and gas, and retailing. The data revealed some interesting findings:
- Executives realize they need to take their businesses into real time. In fact, 30% of firms already derive considerable benefit from real-time business, and nearly two-thirds of companies yet to implement real-time business techniques plan to do so over the next five years.
- There are some surprising leaders—and laggards. The majority of oil and gas firms have implemented a real-time business approach, particularly as part of their production processes and financial and business risk management strategies. This indicates the importance of real-time operations particularly for complex, capital-intensive firms. Consumer product and retailing firms, meanwhile, lag in terms of implementation.
- Early adopters have seen substantial results. The main strategic goals of executives choosing to implement real-time business techniques are to increase market share and enhance service and quality advantages. Operationally, real-time business is proving especially effective in delivering improvements in customer experience, production processes and supply- chain management. But perhaps most striking is the tangible return on investment: Those able to estimate put revenues gains at over 20%, and cost reduction at nearly 20%. In fact, future gains are expected to exceed earlier ones, with revenue increases of 28%.