There's one word that's top of mind for CEOs as they anticipate the main driver of change in the next three years, and it may not be what you think. For the first time since IBM began conducting its global CEO studies in 2004, "market forces" has been toppled by "technology" as the most important external force impacting their organizations.

But that's not all. What's even more surprising than the absence of economic factors as prime focus is how these CEOs plan to lead by using technology to connect with people. That's right, using technology to enable collaboration and relationships, the cornerstones of creativity and innovation.

Among the CEOs, general managers and senior public sector leaders surveyed in the 2012 IBM CEO Study, more than half see human capital (the people inside the organization), customer relationships and innovation as key sources of sustained economic value.

So how do these executives plan to use technology to embrace this connectedness? Drawing on face-to-face conversations with 1,700 CEOs and IBM's own management consulting experience, the study identifies three imperatives deemed essential for creating greater economic value and outperforming peers:

In addition to describing these imperatives, the full version of the report details action plans for addressing each one, and includes corresponding case studies.

The study concludes by examining how leaders are responding organizationally and personally to the connected world. Acknowledging that technology is changing how they lead and learn, the CEOs surveyed identified the top three leadership traits most critical to their success and the overall health of the organizations they steer.

For more information about this study and to get the full version of this report, visit You can also access interactive content and listen to CEOs in their own words by downloading the IBM IBV App for Android or iPad.

Kristen Lauria

VP of IBM Mobile Enterprise and Application and Integration Middleware

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