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Get in the Ring: Tech CEOs Do Not Fear Digital Dragons!

By Rene Buest | February 18, 2020 | 0 Comments

Corporate Development for Tech CEOs

What do we love about our Tech CEO Research Circle members? They are tough and confident! Over half of tech CEOs who participated in our recent survey Digital Dragons see the impact of companies like Amazon, Google, Tencent or Alibaba as positive, considering them as a source of opportunity rather than a threat.

Source: Gartner Tech CEO Research Circle “Digital Dragons” Survey,

Tech CEO respondents took their positive outlook on Digital Dragons even a step further, putting forth clear demands for integrity, transparency and fair play in partnerships between their businesses and the Digital Dragons.

Digital Dragons like Amazon, Google, Tencent and Alibaba are independent multibillion-dollar tech-centric corporations that extend their business beyond the IT and Telecom industries. Their almost-omnipresence requires CEOs leading small or medium businesses to look at their market and ask, “How will we deal with changes propelled by Digital Dragons? Are Digital Dragons directly or indirectly impacting our industry? Are they a threat or a source of opportunity?”

These are the questions we asked members of our Tech CEO Research Circle. Here are the key takeaways we have identified:

Over half of participating tech CEOs believe Digital Dragons will be a source of opportunity over the next 5 years.

  • A third believe they will capitalize on new market opportunities created by Digital Dragons while some believe they can expand into addressable markets through Digital Dragons’ ecosystems.
  • 3 out of 7 perceive Digital Dragons as a thread due to the possibility of eroding profit pools in markets tech CEOs operate in.

In their approach, over half of participating tech CEOs look to partner with multiple Digital Dragons.

  • Only a minority look to avoid Digital Dragons beyond being a customer.
  • Participating tech CEOs would like to improve the integrity, transparency and fair play in support of partners; particularly for small to medium sized businesses.

How to Deal with Digital Dragons?

As the importance and effects of digitalization grow, Digital Dragons are of critical importance to all organizations and need special treatment in both strategic planning and execution.
Digital Dragons represent not only a key piece of the economic landscape, but also a major opportunity and threat to organizations in all industries. Still, a service provider doesn’t need to be a large, traditional technology company to thrive and manage the emergence of Digital Dragons successfully. It can find its own way. Hence, tech CEOs should devote time to developing their understanding, perspective and posture toward their Digital Dragons.

Understanding these large digital competitors that play multiple roles in a growing number of industries is one of the most important considerations related to winning in an increasingly digital world. Few companies are prepared for or are sufficiently experienced with these digital players. That must change.

The main question for tech CEOs is, “How can your company prepare for the impact/advent of Digital Dragons in your industry?”

What is your opinion about Digital Dragons and what does your approach look like? Join the discussion with your tech CEO peers and Gartner analysts in the exclusive Gartner Tech CEO Research Circle!

About Tech CEO Research Circle
Gartner Tech CEO Research Circle is an exclusive, non-subscription community of leaders in small or medium technology and service provider businesses. The topics covered provide a distinctive view into the unique challenges, needs, and strategies of tech CEOs.

Members interact with Gartner on a range of developing research top-of-mind for tech CEOs, including product strategy, customer acquisition, business performance management, and corporate development.

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