The impact of the Internet has become a major challenge for CEOs around the world, according to a far-reaching study by Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting) and The Conference Board. The study revealed that the percentage of CEOs concerned about the impact of the Internet more than doubled from last year.
The executives were asked to select the top three "marketplace" and top three "management" challenges for their companies in the next year - with "marketplace" and "management" challenges defined as the leading external and internal forces, respectively, posing the greatest concern to their business. Of the top three marketplace challenges for 2001 - "changes in type/level of competition" (41% of CEOs surveyed), "Impact of the Internet" (38%), and "Industry consolidation" (37%). Only the "Impact of the Internet" was not among the top three in last year's survey, jumping from eighth place last year to second place this year.
The study clearly underscores the importance of technology and the Internet to business leaders around the world, especially among successfully established old economy' companies. The Internet, which only six months ago was the principal promise of emerging dot-coms and the fascination of Wall Street, has become the practical technological lever for large and mid-sized competitors. Grown-up companies have taken back the keys to the car. As the Internet makes pricing more transparent, as customers demand faster service at lower costs, and as Internet competition intensifies, it is not surprising that the Internet is the concern that has risen dramatically for CEOs and is now ranked the second major issue globally.