PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC) has released its Annual Global CEO Survey, and technology remains top of mind in the executive suite.
According to the company’s data and interviews with CEOs, the ongoing digitization of business is a key priority for top executives. As the importance of digital technologies increases, companies are also beginning to take a different approach to applying them.
Instead of simply bolting new technology on to old processes, CEOs are beginning to understand that they need to adjust their approach and address their business problems in different ways using these new tools. According to PwC:
“Companies increasingly recognize that they need to reconfigure their operating models – and perhaps their business models. And in order to do so they need to ensure that they’re not only investing in the right digital technologies, but can deploy them in a smart and effective way.”
According to PwC, 86 percent of respondents said a clear vision of how digital technologies can create competitive advantage is key to the success of their investments. Another 83 percent said the same about having a well thought-out plan for digital investments that includes concrete measures of success. CEOs also recognize their own important role in leading these initiatives: 86 percent said it was important that “they themselves champion the use of digital technologies.”
Focus on Mobility
Unsurprisingly, mobile technologies are a growing part of these CEOs’ digital strategies. The vast majority of CEOs (86 percent) see mobility as essential in creating and sustaining a competitive advantage.
In fact, in the industrial manufacturing space, CEOs rank mobility (73 percent), cybersecurity (72 percent) and data mining/analysis (70 percent) as their top three priorities when it comes to staying competitive.
This focus on mobility is both internally and customer focused. According to the survey, 54 percent of business-to-business companies selling online say that their customers are using smartphones to research purchases, and 52 percent said that customers use phones to buy items online.
Asked about the strategic importance of different technologies, more than 80 percent said that mobile technologies for customer engagement were critical; an equal number cited data mining and analysis. Wearable computing was ranked strategically important by roughly 30 percent of CEOs.
CEOs think their digital investments are having the biggest impact on operational efficiency. A full 88 percent said they thought value had been created in that area, and half of those CEOs said they had experienced very high value from their investments.
As digital and mobile business increases, so do security threats. That’s why CEOs in the survey said that cyber security was also a high priority, particularly given the series of high profile hacking incidents that occurred over the past year. In a PwC poll of consumers, just 24 percent said that their trust in companies’ ability to protect their data had declined in the past 12 months.
Cyber security saw the biggest increase in all the potential threats that PwC asked about, with 61 percent of CEOs citing concerns compared to 48 percent a year ago. CEOs think cyber security technologies are a top-three most strategically important type of digital technology for their organization, and 53 percent believe it to be very important strategically. That’s a higher proportion than for any other type of digital technology in the survey.
You can read more about the survey and access country- and market-specific reports here