Pioneering, Open-minded and Hesitant – where are we heading?
The broad data base used in the study allows cluster analysis to be used to provide detailed evaluations. The ICT executives were segmented into three groups on the basis of a range of different variables. The variables used for clustering referred both to the present use of ICT in the executive’s own company as well as the expected future significance of ICT. Detailed questions probed the following aspects: The present use of cloud computing, applications from the field of virtual collaboration, and mobility solutions within the enterprise. The respondents were also asked to assess the expected future significance of these three technologies in their own enterprise.
Based on the results, the ICT executives can be divided into three groups, which can be roughly labelled “Pioneers,” “Open-minded” and “Hesitant.”
Pioneers are characterized by the fact that all three technologies – mobility solutions, collaboration and cloud computing – already occupy an important position within the company. At the same time, this group expects the significance of these technologies to keep growing in the future. The Pioneers group is the smallest of the three segments, comprising one-quarter of all ICT executives who were interviewed (25%).
Open-minded users also already use mobility solutions and virtual collaboration. In contrast, cloud computing plays practically no role, and green IT is of very low importance. However, Open-minded users expect these technologies to play a greater role within their companies in the future. The Open-minded users are the largest of the three segments that were identified: 43 percent of all ICT executives who were interviewed belong in this segment.
Hesitant users are the most conservative of these three segments. They do not currently attach great importance to mobility, cloud computing or collaboration in their companies, and do not expect the significance of these technologies in their companies to increase in future. 32 percent, which is around one in three of all ICT executives, belong in this group.
Some very interesting differences emerged in the comparisons between the different countries. In the United States, for example, the Pioneers cluster is larger than average – 35 percent of all ICT executives in the United States who were interviewed belong in this segment, which is a good ten percent more than the average of all countries. At the same time, the group of Hesitant users was only 24 percent, which is comparatively small. In France, the situation was exactly the opposite: There were noticeably few Pioneers (17%) and a great many Hesitant users (43%). (see Figure 2-3)
There were also significant differences with regard to the basic business-to-business sector (B2B), approach of the companies. In enterprises in the Business-to-Business sector (B2B) the segment of Pioneers is larger than average: One-third of ICT executives in the B2B sector are Pioneers, 45 percent are Open-minded and only approximately one in five is a Hesitant user (22%). In enterprises which focus predominantly on businessto-consumer (B2C), this relationship shifts conspicuously towards “Hesitant.” The segment that is least open to new technologies are non-profit organizations and associations. Only 13 percent of the ICT executives in these organizations are Pioneers, and 45 percent belong in the segment Hesitant users – although non-profit organizations could benefit particularly from the targeted use of social media or virtual collaboration applications, which would provide significant cost and efficiency benefits. (see Figure 2-4)
A look at the socio-demographics of the ICT executives reveals only negligible differences: The average age of the Pioneers is 36, the Open-minded user has an average age of 39 and Hesitant users have a median age of 39 years. No conclusions about the individual’s attitude to ICT applications for mobility, cloud computing and virtual collaboration can be drawn simply from the age of an ICT executive.
The size of the enterprise also provides no indication of whether a company belongs to the Pioneers group or to a different cluster. In general, the responses of the ICT executives in the enterprises surveyed are relatively homogeneous, indicating that there are no qualitative differences in the way ICT is used above a certain company size. It would be interesting to see in future studies whether this homogeneity can also be observed in smaller companies.
On the other hand, there does appear to be a connection between the individual’s assessment of the present and future significance of these topics and his/ her position within the company: Of all the respondents at C-level (e.g. CEOs and CIOs), the proportion of Pioneers is particularly high at 46 percent. One in two ICT executives at top executive level can be assigned to the Pioneers segment. One in three of the C-level executives surveyed is Open-minded (32%) and only 22% are Hesitant users. The C-level executives believe that the technologies which defined the cluster are very important, more so than, for example, middle-management ICT executives. (see Figure 2-5)
This cluster analysis is a useful starting point for assessing the future development and potential of ICT. A closer look at the cluster reveals one central finding: Virtual collaboration is a technology that is firmly anchored in many enterprises, and has already entered the mainstream. The use of Web conferencing solutions, social media applications and tools from the field of unified communications is no longer a defining characteristic of Pioneers; the use of these technologies has become standard for the Open-minded segment. In contrast, there is still great potential in the fields of mobility and cloud computing. The three user segments identified above differ quite noticeably in their present utilization and assessment of these technologies: Pioneers already use these technologies; the Open-minded users utilize them, but not to the full extent and, in contrast to the Hesitant users cluster, they believe that the significance of these technologies will increase in future. On the basis of these findings, it seems clear that the Open-minded segment will play a key role in driving the future spread of these technologies.