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Speed of tech change proving scary for CEOs

09 Mar 2015

The speed of technological change is the biggest technology concern for Kiwi CEOs – outstripping even security concerns – according to PwC’s annual CEO report.

The speed of technological change is the biggest mover in the list of concerns, increasing to 68%, up from 37% last year.

The report shows that New Zealand CEOs are more concerned about the change than their global counterparts, for whom 58% cited the speed of technological change as a top concern.

Concern about cyber threats and the lack of data security has also ‘radically’ increased for 68% of New Zealand CEOs compared to 40% last year. Again, Kiwi CEOs were slightly more concerned than their global counterparts, who came in at 61%.

Availability of key skills topped the overall list of concerns, named by 84% of New Zealand CEOs, more than the global level of 73% and up from last year’s local figure of 80%.

“New Zealand’s chief executives no longer question the need to embrace technology at the core of their business in order to create value for customers,” PwC says.

It says implementing a digital strategy which gets results ‘isn’t possible by just tinkering around the edges’.

“Companies need to reconfigure their operating models – and perhaps their business models. In order to do so, they need to ensure that they’re not only investing in the right digital technologies, but can deploy them in a smart and effective way.”

The report shows 87% of Kiwi CEOs say specific hiring and training strategies to integrate digital technologies is important to get the most out of digital investments.

When it comes to the digital technologies deemed the most strategically important, mobile technologies topped the list with 84% of New Zealand CEOs.

Cyber security followed at 81%, then data mining and analysis (77%), cloud computing (74%) and the internet of things (73%).

Wearable computing was bottom of the list, at just 10%, behind 3D printing at 21% and robotics at 24%.

The report notes that 85% of New Zealand CEOs say digital technologies are creating value for their organisation through customer experience, with 55% seeing ‘very high value’.

New Zealand companies get the most benefit from digital technologies in the area of operating efficiency (87%), with 45% seeing ‘very high value’ in that area.

Customer experience (85%) and data and data analytics (82%) also feature highly.

“There is a big opportunity for all businesses in data analytics with new digital technologies enabling people to capture vast amounts of information about customers, supply chains and all organisations that interact with them,” says Bruce Hassall, PwC New Zealand CEO.

The report says companies worldwide face challenges in their abilities to effectively leverage analytics tools.

“For one thing, they’re not using analytics enough. It’s been estimated that 23% of all digital data generated annually would be useful if it was tagged and analysed – yet at present, just 3% of it is tagged and 0.5% analysed.”

Says Hassall: “How you then make use of that information to drive your business will be a critical success factor.”

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