ERP specialist IFS presents Global Change Survey: 93 percent of businesses view change as an opportunity

IFS, the global enterprise software applications company, today reveals the findings of a survey of more than 1000 IT decision-makers from companies in 12 countries ranging across a number of industries including industrial manufacturing, construction, retail and others.  93 percent of respondents surveyed are open to change and see it as an opportunity for their business.

Respondents are in agreement that when it comes to managing change within a business, a strong sense of company direction, clear business objectives and effective leadership are the most important factors, with two-thirds of the share of the vote.  When asked to select from a list the three most influential market or social changes that impact their business, respondents indicate a global consensus that change in customer demand is by far the most influential factor affecting businesses today, selected in 68 percent of cases.  C-level business decision makers are considered second most important, chosen in 37 percent of cases, followed by availability of goods and services (selected by 29 percent of the time).

However, the survey reveals a real diversity of opinion from respondents in different parts of the world and from different industries when it comes to influential factors on change. Key findings include:

• In China, C-level business decision makers stand out as hugely influential (selected 65 percent of the time by respondents in China as compared to 37 percent globally), particularly in contrast to the lack of perceived influence of employee behaviour and international and local law and regulations (receiving 11 percent and 6 percent selection rate respectively, compared with the global average figures of 21 percent and 20 percent)

• Disruptive technologies are considered highly influential in Germany (selected 44 percent of the time) and China (selected 42 percent of the time), compared to the global average of 25 percent

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• The Benelux region and Norway are a part of the world where employee behaviour holds the most sway in businesses, at 44 percent in both countries compared with a global average of 28 percent.  In contrast, very little importance is placed on the impact of local laws and regulation as well as government change, with an average of only 11 percent selection rate for government change and 7 percent selection rate for local laws selected across Sweden, Norway and Denmark

• Of all the countries surveyed, Brazil said in 81 percent of cases that local government change and local laws and regulation had a large impact on change, as compared to 38 percent of cases globally. This contrasts dramatically with Germany, where government change and local law are only considered to be of top importance in two percent of cases

• UK businesses pay more attention to change in the availability of goods and services, with an average 51 percent selection rate, compared to the global average of 29 percent selection rate

• Respondents in France heed mergers and acquisitions more than elsewhere, with a selection rate of 41 percent, double the global average of 20 percent selection rate

• Spain is unique in viewing the C-level to be just as influential as customer demand, with both having a 59 percent selection rate

• Respondents in North America placed more importance on government changes, with an average 37 percent selection rate, versus the global average of 18 percent selection rate

There are also some noteworthy splits in opinion across the different industries.  The impact of the availability of goods and services is not considered as influential in construction as it is in manufacturing and retail (chosen in 22 percent, 41 percent and 45 percent of cases respectively).  Meanwhile in construction, government change is considered a more significant factor than it is in retail and manufacturing, selected 26 percent of the time as opposed to 9 percent and 7 percent. The role of disruptive technologies is notable in the manufacturing sector, where respondents ranked it as the second most important factor affecting business change. At the other end of the scale in the manufacturing industry is senior leadership, selected in only 4 percent of cases as a key stimulus, compared to a much higher 20 percent in construction and retail.

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Mark Boulton, CMO of IFS, gives his thoughts on the challenge that change presents to businesses today: “The form that the disruption takes is in a constant state of flux and at IFS we are closely following the causes of disruption to ensure that our technology and industry expertise are ahead of the curve and that we are guiding our customers to make the right decisions. The results of the customer survey enable us to tailor how we support each industry and each customer. No one can predict the future but by accepting that, businesses can prepare to be more agile and leverage the new business potential that change often offers”.

About the survey: More than 1000 respondents in 12 countries (USA, Germany, Sweden, France, Brazil, UK, Norway, Benelux, Denmark, Spain, China, Poland) were surveyed to gather insight into their thoughts on the subject of change within business. Respondents include the main IT decision makers, including CIOs and CTOS, from a wide range of industries that IFS works with including industrial manufacturing, construction and contracting and retail and wholesale.

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