Thousands and thousands of businesses are affected by significant cyber-attacks. — © Thomas Samson, AFP
According to West Monroe’s Quarterly Executive Poll the trend towards digital transformation is continuing to proceed in earnest.
The poll is based on a review of 150 executives at companies with annual revenues of at least $250 million. The focus was to understand what these types of companies are investing in during quarter 3 of 2021 in order to make their companies more digital.
This includes technologies to create new — or modify existing — business processes, culture, and customer experiences.
This inquiry revealed that 60 percent of executives said automated, iterative data driven management was the main focal point of their investment strategy. This tallies with big data analytics being an essential part of the business improvement process. The implementation of automation technologies are designed to improve the efficiency, reliability, and speed of many tasks that were previously performed by humans.
In addition, 47 percent of those polled said broad access to data and decentralized decision making was also important. This connects with taking more decisions in real-time based on data rather than opinion, so that companies can dynamically react.
With the next sizeable area, 53 percent of the business leaders indicated that cloud-based platforms leveraging modern infrastructures represented an important developmental area.
These types of changes are being initiated in the context of a highly volatile marketplace, especially with consumer preferences. This is captured by 35 percent of companies listing the pace of change in preferences as the biggest challenge when it comes to understanding their customer base.
It was also of interest that while most companies were concerned about transitioning to an effective and productive hybrid model in the first half of the year, only 9 percent of executives said adapting to new remote/hybrid work will be an ongoing challenge in quarter 3.
Instead, most managers are focused on elevating their technology stack to be more sophisticated and data-driven. Another area of digital growth appears to be with tokens or cryptocurrency. Here, 44 percent said they either are considering accepting crypto now or will in the next 5 years.
Another challenge is with cybersecurity. This is in relation to 30 percent of businesses valued at more than $3 billion indicating they have been hit by a cyberattack compared to only 9 percent of smaller firms (those valued at $1-$3 billion).
The number of attacks does not mean the absence of preparation for the majority of $3 billion companies have also performed the most incident response drills in 2021 (at 74 percent). Yet, just 13 percent of business leaders listed cyberattacks as their biggest challenge in the quarter ahead.