CEO Priorities Shift to Digital to Meet Rising Growth Challenges
Growth tops the list of CEO business priorities in 2019 and 2020, according to the annual Gartner 2019 CEO and Senior Business Executive Survey.
“After a significant fall last year, mentions of growth increased this year to 53%, up from 40% in 2018,” said Mark Raskino, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “This suggests that CEOs have switched their focus back to tactical performance as clouds gather on the horizon.”
As pictured below, mentions of financial priorities, cost and risk management also increased this year.
CEOs seem to be confronting softening growth prospects and weakening margins by seeking diversification like the application of digital business to offer new products and revenue-producing channels.
- 82% of respondents agreed that they had a management initiative or transformation program underway to make their companies more digital — up from 62% in 2018.
- Cost management has risen in CEO priorities, from No. 10 in 2018 to No. 8 today. When asked about their cost-control methods, 27% of respondents cited technology enablement, securing the third spot after measures around people and organization, such as bonuses and expense and budget management.
- When asked to consider productivity and efficiency actions, CEOs were much more inclined to think of technology as a tool. 47% of respondents mentioned technology as one of their top two ways to improve productivity.
- CEOs are concerned that some of the executive roles do not possess strong or even sufficient digital skills to face the future. On average, CEOs think that sales, risk, supply chain and HR officers are most in need of more digital savvy. When asked which organizational competencies their company needs to develop the most, 18% of CEOs named talent management, closely followed by technology enablement and digitalization (17%) and data centricity or data management (15%).
“Datacentric decision-making is a key culture and capability change in a management system that hopes to thrive in the digital age. Executive leaders must be a role model to encourage and foster data centricity and data literacy in their business units and the organization as a whole,” Mr. Raskino said.