European C-suites Fast-Track Technology in this Crisis, but Risk Losing Long-Term Digital Vision, Says IDC

Frankfurt and Sofia: The disruption caused by COVID-19 has shifted digital priorities among European C-suites. As the pandemic hit badly economic activities, it has become critical to organizations to switch to digitally continued operations to respond to changing client’s needs while dealing with uncertainty and new risks.

IDC research based on the biweekly European IT buyer Sentiment survey confirms the fast-paced change impacting technology strategy:

  • 70% of the organizations in the regions expect a revenue decline in 2020, but less than 50% of companies believe their IT budgets in 2020 will be lower than previously expected and less than 30% for 2021.
  • “IT and technology” is believed to be the function gaining the most in relevance because of the crisis. This was true for both business and IT respondents and very pronounced in mid- to large companies.
  • In August 2020, 60% of the organizations IDC polled had already shifted spending between technology projects compared to their beginning-of the-year plans

This accelerated move on technology is happening because the business push comes directly from the C-Suite. C-Suites in Europe are dealing with a seemingly never-ending tunnel of decisions to make.

“Covid-19 has re-shifted the importance of major use cases across industries, impacting customer experience and supply chain-related areas. Many of the rapid deployments were tactical in nature and in the months to follow organizations will need to look beyond immediate necessities and prioritize further DX investments according to their strategic value”, said Neli Vacheva, Research manager IDC Europe Customer Insights & Analytics (CI&A). .

A by product of this is that the attitudes and positions of power in the C-Suite are changing. IDC identifies four primary C-Suite archetypes in Europe (Builder, Pragmatic, Inventor, and Customer-first), depending on the leadership, the mixture of technical and business skills in the C-Suite and the attitude to innovations.

Source: European C-Suites Tilt Towards a Tech-Enabled Customer-Centric Archetype in 2020 – Risks and Opportunities


“The “Customer-first” archetype, leveraging technology to become hyper-reactive to shifts in demand, has become the most preferred attitude, followed by the “pragmatic” pattern linked to cash preservation ” commented Giorgio Nebuloni, AVP, European Emerging Tech and Verticals (CI&A).

The Customer-first C-suite is driven by constant feedback from humans and bets on disruptive technologies, rather than by product vision. With 45% of the buyers in “return to growth” mode preferring that mindset, versus around 30% for organizations still dealing with recession, IDC believes the stance could become permanent, rather than transitory in Europe.

Pivoting hard to customer-centricity might come at the cost of giving up on deeper, transformative innovation on core offerings and capabilities for the foreseeable future. With just 15% of the European currently pushing on “inventing” offerings that is not an unlikely scenario.


Source: European C-Suites Tilt Towards a Tech-Enabled Customer-Centric Archetype in 2020 – Risks and Opportunities, IDC European IT Buyer Sentiment Survey Wave 5 (N = 730)

“Whilst a technology- and customer-obsessed C-Suite is great news on many levels, European CEOs will need to manage risks going forward, including a potential surge of tug-of-war on IT decisions and disjointed technology platforms. In order to minimize this, CEOs should create a culture of extreme transparency on Use Cases and IT decisions” concluded Nebuloni.

Since March 2020, IDC Europe is running biweekly a IDC European IT Buyer Sentiment survey polling line of business and IT decision makers on their priorities, challenges and projected IT spending post- Covid-19. The survey most recent release is Wave 10 August 5 – August 14, 2020 – polling 530 respondents across UK, France, Germany, Russia, Nordics, Italy, Poland, Adriatic, Spain.

IDC Europe has launched a new stream of research focused on the role of C-Suite members in defining technology decisions. Reports published include:

  • European C-Suites Tilt Towards a Tech-Enabled Customer-Centric Archetype in 2020 – Risks and Opportunities (forthcoming)
  • The Future CIO: From Crisis Management to Enabling the Future Enterprise — A European Perspective (IDC # EUR146653620)
  • Crisis Management and Beyond: Why European C-Suites Must Improve Technology Decision Paths (IDC # EUR146498720)
  • The Future “Customer Experience Lead” and the Digital World — A European Perspective (IDC # EUR246512920)
  • The Future CFO and the Digital World: A European Perspective (IDC # EUR146697613)
  • The Future “Human Capital Leader” and the Digital World — A European Perspective (IDC # EUR146425313)