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Growing businesses 76 percent more likely to be run by a tech-savvy leader

Businesses that discuss technology frequently, and are run by a tech-proficient leadership team, are significantly more likely to be growing, according to a new report

  • The leaders of growing businesses are 76% more likely to keep fully up to date with the latest technology trends than decision makers of businesses that are not predicting growth
  • Monthly discussions about tech matters are significantly more likely in boardrooms of growing businesses than non-growing businesses
  • Half of growing businesses’ board rooms discuss digital transformation, customer experience and data strategy on a monthly basis


Growing businesses are led by leaders that know about – and regularly discuss – technology, according to new findings from Thoughtworks, Inc., a global software consultancy, in a new report out today, ‘Tech proficiency: The new imperative for business growth, leadership and agility.’


Surveying 969 CEOs, CTOs and CIOs across 12 different countries, the new study assessed the level of digital proficiency, capability and confidence among companies, and the bearing this had on plans to adapt and grow at a critical time.


The research revealed that among businesses that anticipated growth in 2021, three-quarters (74%) were led by leaders that kept fully up-to-date with the latest technology developments, compared with 42% of leaders of companies that were not growing.


Meanwhile, leaders of non-growing businesses were more than twice as likely to rely on the tech expertise of others instead (55% vs. 25%).


The leaders of growing businesses were also significantly more likely to say their management team’s knowledge of new technology developments was ‘good’ in relation to key areas of business technology. In particular, their digital proficiency was superior in areas including digital transformation (47% of growing businesses vs. 37% of non-growing businesses), cloud computing (39% vs. 29%), data strategy (44% vs. 32%), and software platforms (34% vs. 26%).


The big discussion


Growing businesses were also more likely to discuss tech issues at board level on a regular basis. Among growing businesses, over half (52%) had board level discussions around digital transformation at least on a monthly basis. This fell to 40% amongst non-growing businesses.


Meanwhile, half of growing businesses discussed customer-centric digital experiences at least monthly, (vs. 36% of non-growing businesses), while 49% discussed issues around enterprise modernization (vs. 34%).


Businesses that admitted being held back by their tech capabilities were four times less likely to have board-level discussions about digital transformation and operations each month than businesses that described themselves as technologically advanced, were half as likely to discuss customer experience and were 30% less likely to discuss enterprise modernisation.


Among those respondents who did not regularly discuss tech issues at board-level, the reasons included: not understanding the problems (39%), not knowing how to implement or manage them (33%), or a feeling that they were not a priority (50%).


Notes to editors


The research surveyed over 969 C-Suite decision makers, comprising of CEOs, CIOs and CTOs across 12 countries, all markets where Thoughtworks has a significant market presence and can provide market commentary (USA, UK, Germany, China, Australia, India, Brazil, Singapore, Italy, Romania, Finland and Netherlands) and across seven sectors. The research was carried out online by Maru/Blue in February 2021.