The executive agenda 2024: Mastering business transformation in the C-suite

Strategic business transformations are initiatives undertaken to equip organizations with the capabilities needed to effectively address impending business challenges. When planning these transformations, corporate executives and board members conduct comprehensive analyses of major economic, technological, customer and operational environments and trends. To assist these individuals, Charisma Glassman, a global executive specializing in business transformations and a C-suite advisor to large Fortune 500 enterprises, offers her insights on five major trends that will affect enterprises in their transformation efforts in the coming years. Charisma has over twenty years of experience leading global transformations and has worked directly with several C-level executives and public board members across global corporations to help them navigate their businesses in turbulent times.

To Ms. Glassman, the critical trends included research, direct discussions with corporate leadership and hands-on advisory experience gained through leading global programs at large enterprises. This comprehensive approach allows her to identify trends that could significantly influence enterprises across a wide range of industries to create value in this turbulent business environment. Other aspects of her approach involve the impact of AI on business transformation and the growing significance of sustainability among businesses and customers, the need for supply chain improvements given global instabilities, the need for cybersecurity upgrades in light of increasing threats and how enterprises can use AI to deliver world-class personalized customer experiences to acquire new clients and create loyalty with existing ones.

1. The impact of AI on business transformations

The transformation of business processes means fundamentally changing the strategy, culture, operations, methods and underlying technology of the enterprise to enhance its performance, leading to employee and customer satisfaction, better market competitiveness and adaptability to the ever-changing business environment. Over the last few years, AI has had a significant impact on business transformations and showed results in gaining operational efficiency in automation with processes such as robotic process automation, predictive maintenance of machines and equipment and supply chain optimization, leading to higher and improved service levels. AI has also significantly changed and continues to do so in the area of data-driven decision-making, notes Ms. Glassman, explaining that areas such as predictive analytics, which is the use of historical data to predict the future and make proactive decisions, is a sophisticated technique many organizations have started to use at scale. This has enabled businesses to be more nimble and adaptable to changes in the business world, showing sustainable, profitable growth is becoming more and more important.

2. Sustainability is increasingly becoming a valued business practice among a new generation of customers

Enterprises are increasingly focusing on sustainability as a business practice to attract and retain customers who align with these values. Newer generations of customers, such as Millennials and Generation Z, are more environmentally conscious and aware of sustainable business practices, leading to heightened environmental awareness, ethical consumption patterns and a strong inclination toward corporate transparency, especially in the era of activism. Businesses following circular business models aim to minimize waste by designing products for durability, reuse and recycling. These models include offering product-as-a-service, enabling collaborative consumption, refurbishing and remanufacturing, promoting closed-loop recycling, and fostering industrial symbiosis. In addition to enhancing sustainability, circular business models can generate additional revenue streams. Circular business models are business strategies that prioritize waste reduction and reuse of resources as a part of conservation as opposed to linear business models that are more plan, develop, distribute and dispose of approach. By incorporating eco-friendly materials and sustainable sources, customers can visibly see and touch the results of the company’s sustainability efforts. Charisma also adds that transparent sustainability reporting allows customers and investors to see and validate the company’s efforts toward a sustainable future. More trust in the community that the company operates in particularly helps stakeholders measure its progress toward its net zero, which is its publicly announced zero carbon emissions target. With new regulations in this area, it is getting more and more important to report consistently across all interested groups. By adopting these sustainability practices, enterprises can not only contribute to a healthier planet but also gain a competitive advantage by appealing to environmentally conscious consumers, investors, and regulators.

3. Supply chains are being transformed in light of global disruptions

Supply chains are undergoing transformations to become more resilient, adaptable, efficient, and sustainable in the face of global disruptions, natural disasters, and advanced technological changes. To achieve this, organizations are adopting practices such as digitalization, automation, supply chain visibility, transparency, diversification, localization, and adjusting supply chains with an emphasis on agility and flexibility to ensure there is no disruption. By leveraging technologies such as global GPS tracking, shipping databases, and predictive AI, organizations can enhance real-time tracking, monitoring, and optimization of supply chain processes. This enables them to gain end-to-end visibility, improve traceability across all ingredients and suppliers, and proactively identify and mitigate supply chain disruptions. Automated logistics systems and advanced analytics further streamline supply chain operations, reduce human error, and enhance decision-making capabilities for supply chain managers. As a result, enterprises can respond quickly to disruptions, optimize inventory levels, and minimize supply delivery times. Charisma, who regularly works with chief supply chain officers of S&P 500 consumer packaging, retail, and quick service restaurant companies, adds that diversification and localization, along with an emphasis on agility and traceability, are emerging strategies for enterprises to mitigate risks and adapt to changing market conditions and disrupted global supply chains. With investments in making supply chains more dynamic with digitization, transparency, diversification, localization, agility, and sustainability, enterprises are better positioned to foresee, react to, and be less affected by global supply chain disruptions and pivot from being just supply chains to value chains, that is, maximizing value at each stage of the process rather than merely producing and delivering goods and services.

4. Cybersecurity departments should be prepared for increasingly complex threats

In 2024, the evolving digital landscape has made it more important for cybersecurity departments to be prepared for increasingly sophisticated threats. Cybercriminals and well-funded state-sponsored actors are employing advanced AI techniques to target organizations’ critical assets and data. To combat these threats, enterprises have adopted various strategies, such as implementing adaptive AI, embracing zero-trust architectures, establishing redundancy regimes to mitigate the impact of ransomware attacks, securing their Internet of Things (IoT) networks, and training employees against social engineering attacks. Malicious actors are advancing and using new attack methods targeting critical infrastructure, requiring enterprises to enhance their security measures and stay alert to emerging threats. In response, cybersecurity software providers are implementing adaptive AI to more quickly identify, monitor, and block threats. The zero-trust security model assumes that no user, device, or network should be trusted by default. Enterprises with zero-trust architectures have a lower risk of data breaches caused by compromised systems or employees. Ransomware can be a problem, but by implementing regular backups, patch management, and employee training, the disruptions caused by these attacks can be mitigated. IoT networks greatly increase the number of entry points into a company’s systems, and securing and isolating them from core business systems should be a priority for a firm’s cybersecurity department. Finally, social engineering attacks employing cyber, telecom, and email methods are becoming more prevalent, often cloning voices and impersonating company CEOs to perpetrate financial fraud. Although defending against cyber attacks may seem primarily like a business expense, customers will appreciate efforts to secure their data and make the company’s services more resilient, resulting in higher uptime and increased responsiveness. Ms. Glassman notes that by investing in cybersecurity measures, enterprises can protect their assets, enhance customer trust, and ensure the continuity of their operations in the face of evolving threats.

5. Focus on the future of customer experiences

In today’s hyper-competitive and digital-first business environment, enterprises that strategically prioritize and invest in enhancing and tailoring customer experiences can fortify their market position and improve customer loyalty. To realize this objective, companies can harness AI for customer-facing processes, craft personalized experiences, utilize omnichannel marketing strategies, offer self-service options, and establish efficient systems to gather and respond to customer feedback. AI allows enterprises to improve customer support by deploying AI-powered chatbots or sales assistants. Moreover, AI-driven predictive analytics and sentiment analysis enable businesses to anticipate customer needs, gauge emotions, and tailor their offerings and services. Customers also prefer personalization, with enterprises tailoring their websites, apps, products, and services. Advances in AI-powered marketing campaigns performed over email, social media, and other mediums are showing notable increases in performance. As an expert, Ms. Glassman explains that companies in the luxury brand sector are investing heavily in their personalized offerings to customers to build loyalty and increase customer engagement that replicates the real world or even extends to the brick-and-mortar world. Omnichannel marketing strategies targeting customers with customized messaging, marketing promotions, and offers in-store and online assist in customer experiences and are the primary focus among the CMOs.

To effectively integrate these top trends into their future strategic business transformation initiatives, executives should begin by building comprehensive and well-informed perspectives tailored to their specific enterprise and industry. To achieve this, they should engage in a collaborative process, sharing these trends and their insights with key internal stakeholders, suppliers, vendors, and the industry ecosystem. By carefully considering and discussing the strategic implications of these trends, executives can develop new business strategies that are better aligned with the changing business landscape and ultimately, by proactively addressing these trends, corporations can position themselves for success and sustained profitability in the future.

VentureBeat newsroom and editorial staff were not involved in the creation of this content. 

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