New Delhi:Digital reinvention, leveraging advanced technologies and upskilling workforce are top priorities for CEOs in India, according to KPMG India’s fifth annual CEO Outlook for 2019 released on Wednesday.
For the second year in a row, CEOs in India have identified climate change (23%), return to territorialism (17%) and emerging/ disruptive technology risk (17%), as the top three threats to their organisation’s growth, according to the survey. This is in line with the views expressed by CEOs globally.
In India, 67% CEOs say agility is the new currency of business and that if they don’t adapt it, their business will become irrelevant.
Furthermore, technology continues to be a strategic priority for CEOs in India - as they still lag behind CEOs globally in the implementation of leading edge technologies. An overwhelming 88% CEOs in India (and 85% CEOs globally) have taken it upon themselves to personally lead the technology strategy of their companies.
CEOs in India are increasingly realising the importance of digital transformation and the underlying technologies required to implement it. About 92% expect significant return on investment (ROI) from their firm’s overall digital transformation programme within the next three years. Artificial intelligence (AI), cloud technologies and new digital capabilities (such as advanced data visualisation and ability to code) are some of the areas which interest CEOs in India.
There is a growing expectation among CEOs in India that the ROI from AI is going to be significant in the short-term, with none of the CEOs surveyed in India saying that they have not implemented any form of AI in the organisation. Having said that, only 4% CEOs in India have implemented AI to automate processes, while close to 61% have started limited implementation for specific processes.
Regarding cloud-based solutions, 78% of CEOs are much more confident of the increasing use of cloud technology than they have ever been in the last three years, and are less concerned about migrating all of their business data to the cloud. Around 51% CEOs in India intend to upskill more than half of their current workforce in new digital capabilities while 34% CEOs in India said modernising the workforce (adopting lean, intelligent automation and skills on demand) is the top strategy to ensure future readiness.
Amidst digital transformation, a majority of the CEOs (67%) in India said their organisation sees information security as a strategic function and a source of competitive advantage. Moreover it comes as no surprise that the number of CEOs in India who identify themselves as being well prepared for cyberattacks have almost doubled in the past one year to 69%.
An increasing number of them also agree that becoming a victim of a cyberattack is now a case of ‘when’, and not ‘if’ (increasing from 33% in 2018 to 55% in 2019).
About 74% CEOs in India also believe that a strong cyber strategy is critical to engender trust with key stakeholders. Hence, they clearly see cybersecurity as more than just a defensive capability and a critical factor in becoming a dynamic and resilient organisation.
There is a greater need for CEOs to act with agility and even more today given their average tenure has reduced to 5 years, even as challenges and responsibilities have grown multi-fold.
In India, 66% of CEOs believe there is still tremendous scope for them to improve their understanding of customers. CEOs in India also identify protecting customers’ data as an important responsibility (increasing from 46 to 71% in the past one year) to gain customers’ trust and loyalty. Similarly 72% CEOs globally identify protecting customers’ data as an important responsibility.
CEOs in India also heavily rely on their own expertise and insights to provide customised solutions to their customers. In fact, 74% of them disregard data-driven insights because they found those to be contrary to their own experience or intuition.