Poll: CEOs see technology disrupting businesses, but few willing to invest

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MOST chief executives globally are putting a premium on investing in core business technologies to facilitate their digital transformation despite the emergence of new disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality and blockchain.

The YPO Global Pulse Survey released on Tuesday, April 3, showed that more than half of respondents composed of global business leaders view cloud computing, business intelligence and cybersecurity as impacting their business in the next 12 months and are likely to invest in these technologies.

“What I’m hearing from YPO global business leaders right now is that digital transformation remains at the very top of their priorities in 2018. Several disruptive technologies are expected to garner widespread attention and investment this year, such as cloud computing, cybersecurity, business intelligence and mobile payment applications,” Scott Mordell, CEO of YPO, was quoted in a statement as saying.

“YPO members are embracing technology to address regulatory requirements, harness business data for improved efficiency and increased financial performance, and to match consumer demand for new and innovative ways to interact with their businesses.”

While artificial intelligence (AI) is perceived as likely to affect businesses, CEOs are less likely to invest in AI this year as the above-mentioned technologies together with digital and mobile payment applications command more immediate attention and capital in the next 12 months, the survey showed.

The YPO findings showed the levels of familiarity and interest in many disruptive technologies vary across industries and their adoption will be sector-driven.

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are widely considered to change most industries, but most CEOs surveyed are not actively investing in those technologies yet. However, most (83%) business leaders in the architecture and engineering sectors expect VR to impact their business and 64% plan to invest in it over the next 12 months, as compared to only 23% of all chief executives surveyed willing to invest in these technologies now.

CEOs are “least familiar” with chatbot technology, followed by blockchain and cryptocurrency among the 10 disruptive technologies surveyed, prompting them to “discount the likelihood of disruption to their businesses from these new emerging technologies and show much lower interest in investing in these technologies this year.”

However, more than half or 58% of leaders in financial services expect blockchain technology to impact their organization over the next 12 months, and as many as 40% expect to make investments in the technology.

Similarly, the Internet of Things (IoT) is seen as a “key technology area” by business leaders within the telecommunications, architecture, engineering and technology sectors. Close to 80% of chief executives in telecom expect IoT to impact their business and almost all of them (96%) expect to make investments in IoT over the next 12 months.

“It will be fascinating to see how priorities and focus change over the next year as disruptive technologies such as AI and virtual reality become more mainstream,” Mr. Mordell said.

The YPO Global Pulse survey focuses on gathering insight from chief executives around the world on those topics that influence businesses, leadership and impact.

The survey was conducted between Feb. 6-15, 2018 and gathered learning from 842 YPO members across 28 industry sectors and 15 regions of the world. — Krista Angela M. Montealegre

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