The research, which was commissioned by Epicor, surveyed more than 1,800 business leaders from 12 countries across the globe.
The vast majority (89 percent) of organizations worldwide have experienced growth that hasn’t gone exactly according to plan, resulting in a significant level of anxiety among top business leaders about their company’s ability to succeed in the face of growth and change.
The research, which was conducted by Morar Consulting and commissioned by Epicor, surveyed more than 1,800 business leaders from 12 countries across the globe.
Of those surveyed, 58 percent reported growth in 2015 and nearly 70 percent said they expect to grow in 2016, however only 11 percent experienced growth totally in line with their plans in 2015.
"The implications of an IT system that fails to scale are tremendous. Today’s IT systems are managing more than internal operations for a company," Celia Fleischaker, Epicor’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, told eWEEK.
"In many cases, IT systems are directly involved in managing interactions with customers. Survey respondents actually ranked the potential loss of customer intimacy or damage to the customer relationship as the No.1potential negative impact of growth."
Fleischaker said if IT systems can’t scale for growth, the pain the business will feel is significant and would potentially impact their customer relationships directly, in addition to putting stress on internal operations.
The top concern cited by CEOs was the perceived loss of customer intimacy that may come about as a result of growth.
Globally, significant levels of unplanned growth were more likely to be experienced by mid-sized businesses with 100-999 employees (37 percent), than larger enterprises with more than 1,000 employees (29 percent).
Growth was most likely to be described as painful (in as many as one in 10 cases) by smaller mid-sized businesses (100-249 staff) as they make the difficult transition from small to mid-sized enterprises.
To support business growth, and better prepare for its challenges, 79 percent of businesses believe that an effective and integrated IT infrastructure is essential.
The business leaders surveyed admitted they often fear the consequences of growth, citing a number of negative impacts when growth is not planned for effectively.
Around half (48 percent) said they worry that business growth puts excessive pressure on operations, damaging quality and customer satisfaction.
More than four in 10 (42 percent) said they were also concerned that their business IT systems may prove unable to cope with managing a larger, more complex, business model.
"In general, businesses need to look at solutions that provide them with an opportunity to better manage their touch points--with customers, with employees, and with suppliers," Fleischaker said. "Systems that support mobility and e-commerce while also providing support for their operations are critical. Selecting a cloud-based enterprise solution is also something to be considered as cloud can help reduce the complexity associated with an enterprise solution."