"Looking backward and forward provides valuable insights about the pace of change, what the changes are, and why those changes may be happening," says Ann Grackin, ChainLink Research CEO. "And yes, we will be able to make some predictions about the future. Most organizations have gotten into a different groove since our last survey."
Respondents' emphasis on innovation jibes with other research on increases in hiring, IT spend and investments in new products, she says. "The conversations we have been having with manufacturers and distributors also support this revitalization and entrepreneurial energy," Grackin says. "There is significant focus on changing business models, new product introductions, and changing service models. There are a number of catalyzing forces for this, as shown through the survey data and respondents' points of view."
Both manufacturers and retailers want to determine how to sell higher-margin products, according to survey findings. Unlike the bargain-focused last decade of price slashing, the introduction of more modestly priced products lines, and cost cutting, the current goal appears to have become making money and growing profits.
"Though there is an optimistic slant to these goals, we can see that year by year managing risk attains a higher position, which we had not seen as an important goal in the past," says Grackin. "It appears that organizations are beginning to understand the impact that various low-level and dramatic incidents are having on the business."
The 2014 survey indicated the business community still had concerns about a weak economy. The Business Priorities 2015 Survey reveals that keeping up with the competition is more top of mind. In 2014, reducing expenses was the biggest challenge and although still quite important, it dropped over 15 percent to be replaced by competing and differentiating at the top. "Years of cost cutting have improved many companies' cash positions," Grackin says. "That cash has to be put to work, then, to grow the business."
The complete survey is available for download.
Source: ChainLink Research
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