There is no doubt that we are living through the most unstable period for many years. The impact of economic instability and climate change can be seen on the news every day. For businesses wanting to survive and thrive, these worldwide factors are compounded by phenomenal technological change, including digitization and Artificial Intelligence.
A recent survey of 4,410 CEOs across 105 countries and territories conducted by global consulting firm PwC (1) is a fascinating read. In particular, the results confirm that:
“… we are living through extraordinary times, with five broad megatrends – climate change, technological disruption, demographic shifts, a fracturing world and social instability – reshaping the business environment.”
None of these factors is new. However, the extent to which they are now interlinked is without precedent. As the report observes, “their scope, impact and interdependence are growing, with varied magnitude across industries and geographies.” (2)
The result is that businesses need to think more carefully about their futures and take steps to be more responsive to changing customer needs.
Economic success for the long-term
The survey confirms that a lot of work needs to be done to make more businesses economically viable for the long term. Nearly 40% of the CEOs interviewed think that their company will not be economically workable a decade from now if it continues on its current path. These responses to this question are highly consistent across a range of sectors: technology (41%), telecommunications (46%), healthcare (42%) and manufacturing (43%).
The wildfires that have occurred in Europe this year have underlined the human and economic impact of climate change. Therefore, it's to be expected that a majority of CEOs predict some degree of impact from climate change in the next 12 months. The impact is predicted to be especially notable in their cost profiles (where 50% expect a moderate, large or very large impact) and their supply chains (42%).
The PwC report also reveals that CEOs who feel the greatest threat from climate change are more likely to take action to address it. But this only reaches so far! The authors of the report note that combating climate change “requires a coordinated, long-term plan”
involving all companies. Of course, no one underestimates the enormous “strategic challenges” presented by decarbonization.
Concerns for data security
Cybersecurity and data privacy also dominate the CEOs’ main worries. This is not surprising. The global internet environment is now more hostile than ever. Evidence for this includes a recent IBM survey which found that 83% of organizations experienced more than one data breach during 2022. Ransomware is a particular worry: the latest Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report reported that the total number of ransomware attacks rose by 13% in 2022 – a rise equal to the previous five years combined (3).
The PwC survey shows that CEOs have plenty of things to worry about! From this, we can conclude that they now need solutions to help them protect their businesses on multiple fronts.
This can already be seen with the large-scale migration of corporations to the cloud. Moving to the cloud helps businesses streamline their infrastructures, download new features as they become available, and benefit from a dedicated cybersecurity team that is always addressing new threats.
If you take that a stage further and install a cloud-based building management system, you can also reduce your energy consumption and impact on the environment.
Find out more about that, including Priva’s Digital Services, in the next blog of this three-part series.