Actions the best CEOs are taking in 2023

I run into an interesting article by McKinsey & Company on how corporate leaders are "addressing the risks while finding the opportunities in digital disruption, the economy, and geopolitical uncertainties." The article is based on a CEO Excellence Survey, which "takes the pulse of leading CEOs' evolving priorities and the actions they're taking in response."  I wanted to bring some of my thinking, especially on the top trend that these CEOs focus on, which is the "rise of disruptive digital technologies." The following picture portrays the survey results from McKinsey, and the link to the article explains the other aspects these CEOs focus on. The focus areas, according to the survey, are as follows:

CEOs have to become versed in technology.

What was striking in the article was the reference by one CEO explaining the role of the CEO as follows:

“A CEO also has to be the chief technology architect. Think of the executive team—not just the chief digital officer—as owning the company's technology strategy. There is too much at stake.”

The article continues to explain that surveyed  CEOs want to put their digital disruption into practice in three ways:

  • 62 percent of the CEOs want to develop advanced analytics
  • 48 percent  of the CEOs want to enhance cyber security  
  • 45 percent of CEOs want to automate the work within the organizations

Enhanced analytics with embedded AI

It is not news that analytics has become the "new oil" for many organizations. Without truly understanding the importance of data, it will become a real issue for many organizations. I have spent more than 15 years of my career building and deploying business intelligence/data warehousing/analytics tools. As these tools have become more mature with increased collected data, many organizations are profiting from the data they have. The rise of ChatGPT into the mix has elevated the need to understand how AI can impact an organization and its ability to analyze data. A good example is Microsoft 365 Copilot, which allows users to make their daily efforts much more manageable and has AI help to drive, for example, Excel tasks. I highly recommend watching a 10-minute presentation by Microsoft Corporate Vice President Sumit Chauhan on what OpenAI and ChatGPT can do for Office 365 Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote users.

Enhanced cybersecurity

I recently had a chance to lead several IT and cyber security due diligence cases for private equity firms for a couple of years. Those cases truly opened my eyes to the impact of cyber threats on organizations. A cyber attack can wreck the company, and it is important to have solutions that help with the potential cyber intrusion investigation.  I encourage you to read a recent blog from CohnReznick Bhavesh N. Vadhani highlighting the ongoing scams through email phishing attacks, especially in conjunction with the recent turmoil with Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank. I recommend you read the blog; it advises how to act when you suspect you are the target of a phishing attack.

Automation

The McKinsey article states: Tech spend is going up … but that’s good because it’s displacing things we would otherwise be doing manually, which we shouldn’t be doing manually.” The most common fear that some people have is whether it will replace their job. The answer is that it might replace some of the work done, but the human being can be put to work on value-added things that still require human thinking. I have seen the impact of automation in several organizations. It is incredible how much an organization can increase productivity by applying, for example, PowerAutomate, which is part of the Office 365 platform.  My teams have built different automation scenarios that have changed many people's daily lives. With the recent addition of ChatGPT to Office 365, productivity and creativity can be taken to a whole new level. 

Summary

As a consultant, I get to see many organizations and different levels of maturity in these organizations in their use of technology. I believe in building a solid foundation for whatever you do but progressing in small steps to demonstrate to users the possibilities technology can bring to their lives. People tend to use only a fraction of the features in platforms such as Office 365, where ChatGPT comes into play. You should view the video from Microsoft; it might open your eyes to how far technology has progressed. And please be aware of the naysayers; there will be plenty of those. We are now building enterprises of the future with new capabilities, and you have to decide if you want to be part of this ride or not.

 

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