What to Expect in 2021: CEO Predictions – Mahmoud Khattab

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Over half of CEOs say that their business is less successful in a market where their company cannot access the right skills. In the Gartner CEO survey, the top factors cited by CEOs when considering growth were the sales and market share opportunities they foresee. However, the top growth opportunities revolve around digital innovation.

CEOs put digital innovation high on their list of top factors, and it received the highest overall ranking of any factor. In the survey, digital innovation was still near the top of CEOs’ concerns, but in a new category, number three, behind the growing threat of the sharing economy and the growth of new markets in India and China.

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The Shift to Digital

More than one-third (34%) of CEOs say that in the next two years their top strategy will be to accelerate the pace of innovation through the application of emerging technologies and digitally-enabled products, services, or experiences to new or existing market segments. For the second year in a row, nearly two-thirds of CEOs say this will be their top strategic focus.

While CEOs focus on new segments, investments in digitization and cognitive will continue to be strong in 2021. The survey data shows that 80% of CEOs are planning on increasing investment in digital in 2019, with investments in digital taking the lead for the second year running as the biggest overall focus for CEOs.

Gartner’s Predictions

In 2021, for the first time, CEOs named digital capabilities as the most important differentiator in obtaining new business, said Mark Raskino, research director at Gartner, in an interview with CMSWire.

“It’s that question of which way are you going to go in the digital era, and how are you going to connect to your customers,” Raskino said. “If you don’t, if you don’t have that digital connectivity to your customers, then you won’t be competitive.”

He called digital a “powerful force,” which can turn businesses around. Digital is “being built around emerging technologies,” Raskino said, such as AI, mobility, blockchain, internet of things and the cloud.

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