CEOs Consider Disruption as Opportunity for Business Growth

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Obinna Chima
The KPMG International 2017 Global Chief Executive Outlook (CEO) outlook has revealed that disruption is a reality that has become part of life as more than six in 10 CEOs (65 per cent) saw disruption as an opportunity, not a threat, for their business.

The KPMG CEO survey titled: ‘Disrupt and Grow’, released on Monday, revealed that three in four (74 per cent) of the CEOs also said their businesses were aiming to be the disruptor in their respective sectors.

The survey data was based on a survey of 1,261 CEOs from Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, the UK and the US. The survey was conducted between 21 February and 11 April 2017. These CEOs operate in 11 key industries: automotive, banking, infrastructure, insurance, investment management, life sciences, manufacturing, retail/consumer markets, technology, energy/utilities and telecom.

The CEOs in general were confident about the global economic outlook, even though the confidence dipped from last year.

Specifically, the findings showed that two in three CEOs (65 per cent) were confident about global economic growth during the next three years — down from 80 per cent in 2016.
Furthermore, most CEOs were confident in their own industry’s prospects for growth in the next three years, despite the fact that there has been notable dip over the past 12 months (from 85 per cent to 69 per cent).

According to the 31-page report, more than half of CEOs (53 per cent) revealed increasing penetration in established markets, making this the most highly cited priority for growth.
Innovating new products, services and ways of doing business came second at 47 per cent.

“Reputational and brand risk has risen in importance for CEOs during the past year, to become one of the top three most important risks they face today (out of 16 in total), after not featuring in the top 10 in 2016.

“CEOs believe reputational damage will have the second-biggest impact on the growth of their organisation over the next 3 years. Forty-three per cent of CEOs are reassessing their global footprint as a result of the changing pace of globalisation and protectionism,” it added.
In addition, 52 per cent believed the political landscape has had a greater impact on their organisation then, than they have seen for many years, while 31 per cent -one per cent viewed protectionist.

Also, 70 per cent of CEOs said they were now more open to new influences and collaborations than at any other point in their careers.
It stated that CEOs were evolving their skills and personal qualities to better lead their business as almost seven in 10 (68 percent) said they were evolving their skills and personal qualities to better lead their business.

“CEOs are more confident in their understanding of new technologies than they were in 2016, though competition for expert talent is fierce.
“As they embed cognitive technologies, businesses are expecting short-term headcount growth. Across 10 key roles, 58 per cent on average are expecting a slight or significant growth in number of employees.

“In 2016, 73 per cent expected their number of employees to increase by more than six per cent in the next three years. In 2017, less than half (47 per cent) expect this level of growth,” it added.
According to the KPMG findings, most CEOs (64 per cent), said they were effective at sensing market signals, yet on-going success relies on good-quality data and close to half (45 per cent) say their customer insight is hindered by a lack of quality data.

“CEOs clearly believe they are making progress in their management of cyber, which this year has dropped to number five in the list of top risk concerns, down from number one last year.
“Four in 10 (42 per cent) believe they are fully prepared for a cyber-event — up from just 25 percent in 2016. Two in three (65 per cent) believe that levels of trust in business will stay the same or decline in the next three years.

“About three-quarters of CEOs (74 percent) say their organisation is placing greater emphasis on trust, values and culture in order to sustain its long-term future.
“More than seven in ten (72 per cent) of CEOs correlate being a more empathetic organisation with higher earnings,” it added.

According to the survey, today, more than ever before, leading a business is about challenging convention and driving radical change.
Three in four CEOs in the survey (74 per cent) say their company is striving to be the disruptor in its sector.

“There are many reasons why CEOs are embracing disruption. We have witnessed a shake-up of the geopolitical status quo by way of the elections in the US, the UK and other countries.
“Above all, technology-driven change is sweeping through industries and economies on a global scale,” it added.