Chief executives ‘planning long-term investment in data and IT’

MORE than two-thirds (68%) of chief executives from the world’s largest companies say that they plan to take on a major investment in data and technology over the next 12 months, while 61% plan to undertake a major transformation initiative over the same period, according to the global EY CEO Imperative Study 2021.

Ove Svejstrup (picture supplied by EY) (30885454)
Ove Svejstrup (picture supplied by EY) (30885454)

The survey of 305 business leaders also found that within three years, 42% of respondents expect to make changes to their organisation’s risk management processes.

The Covid-19 pandemic has moved the longstanding chief executive agenda item of digital-led business transformation from important to urgent. Many chief executives recognise the importance of human factors to the success of their transformation projects, with 68% of respondents saying they have at least one transformation priority related to the importance of people, the cultivation of future talent and organisational culture.

Ove Svejstrup, associate partner and leader of EY’s digital service offerings in the Channel Islands, said: ‘The past year has been trying for everyone and chief executives have had to make tough decisions by reviewing portfolios and projects to balance the long-term growth prospects against immediate shareholder expectations.

‘Technology has been the common denominator for most organisations’ resilience amid the pandemic.’

Over the next five years, 87% of respondents believe the creation of long-term value across stakeholders will be welcomed and rewarded by the market, while 91% of respondents believe new business models will increasingly incorporate aspects of the circular economy, making better use of natural resources and reducing waste.

Alongside this, 80% agree there is likely to be a global standard for measuring and reporting long-term-value creation and 80% agree that their organisations will take significant new steps to take environmental, social and governance responsibility inside their operations.

However, analysis of responses against key long-term-value dimensions such as societal, human, financial and customer, revealed an intention-action gap.

Mr Svejstrup said: ‘While the research highlights that chief executives are willing to transform, EY data found a clear gap between intention and execution, particularly when it comes to long-term value and ESG.

‘Given the sense of urgency around these issues is only increasing, chief executives will come under greater regulatory and reputational pressure to operate differently.

‘Leaders need to follow through their public commitments with action to demonstrate they are taking the bold steps needed to drive long-term value and change.’

The global EY CEO Imperative Study 2021 was designed and developed by EYQ, an EY global think-tank.

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