The uncertainty and disruption facing CEOs today

To master resilience, CEOs are building cyber resilience, undertaking wholesale upskilling of their people and accelerating the adoption of advanced technologies.

Cyber resilience

The ability to drive digital innovation is key to unlocking long-term growth. However, concerns over cyber security can put a brake on those ambitions.

In an environment where digital innovation is critical for resilience and long-term success, CEOs are clear that cyber security excellence is much more than a defensive or mitigating capability. In fact, 71 percent say that their organizations see information security as a strategic function and a source of competitive advantage. 

Those CEOs who have made their organizations more cyber resilient are also focused on disrupting their industry1. These cyber resilient CEOs are projecting 2 percent revenue growth or higher over the next 3 years (52 percent compared to 45 percent of all CEOs).

 1. Cyber resilient CEOs feel their organization views information security as a strategic function and as a potential source of competitive advantage, they are well prepared for a future cyber attack and have highly effective cyber security specialists as part of their workforce. 

Doug McMillon

Workforce 4.0

Disruptive technologies — from artificial intelligence to virtual reality — have the potential to transform the world of work. Upskilling of employees for a digital age is now essential for resilience.

CEOs recognize that this trend is accelerating. Four in ten (44 percent) are intending to upskill more than half of their current workforce in new digital capabilities over the next 3 years. 

However, we also asked CEOs how they are prioritizing their capital investments and we see a tension between the workforce changes they know they need to make and the investments that are required in their technology. Specifically, we asked whether they are putting more capital into developing people’s skills or in buying new technology. The majority (68 percent) said that they are placing more capital investment in buying new technology.

Investing in new technology vs. workforce upskilling

Source: 2019 Global CEO Outlook, KPMG International.

Technology 4.0

Artificial intelligence technologies and their applications offer an opportunity to transform an organization’s performance. These technologies are being used to execute processes and tasks that used to be undertaken by employees, leaving humans free to tackle higher-value tasks.

However, organizations have still not applied artificial intelligence in the automation of their processes. Only 16 percent of CEOs said that they have already implemented artificial intelligence to automate their processes, in contrast to the 31 percent who say they are just piloting the technology and the 53 percent who have begun limited implementation.

Jonas Prising

Throughout this document, “we”, “KPMG”, “us” and “our” refer to the network of independent member firms operating under the KPMG name and affiliated with KPMG International or to one or more of these firms or to KPMG International.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewees and survey respondents and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG International or any KPMG member firm.  KPMG’s involvement is not an endorsement, sponsorship or implied backing of any company’s products or services.