It’s not your imagination: business is changing at a much faster pace than ever before. What was once considered market disruption is now commonplace — and CEOs are finding it necessary to evolve quickly. It’s time for all CEOs to revisit old strategies and explore new opportunities, investments, and trends. With that in mind, here are some of the most important areas CEOs need to consider in 2018.
1. Artificial intelligence and machine learning
AI and machine learning are starting to become widespread, showing extensive growth throughout 2017. Through AI and machine learning, businesses are able to automate and streamline their business processes, reducing the amount of necessary workforce they need as well as potential errors or bottlenecks within their operations. Companies such as Coca-Cola Amatil have been able to improve their market share by using AI in their business analytics.
Many industries are still exploring how artificial intelligence and machine learning can fit into their business structure. At the same time, more advanced and robust AI and machine learning solutions are being released. Many organisations will never need to develop their own AI system, but instead will take advantage of third-party resources that include it within their offerings.
2. Freelance workers and virtual office spaces
From Amazon to Apple, many businesses are now embracing the remote worker. Businesses are now finding talent from all over the world, as technology has made it easier for businesses and employees to operate effectively from anywhere. With cloud-based document storage and communication suites, businesses can operate virtually almost entirely.
For employees, remote work has proven to be more accessible and attractive, and thus the employers who offer remote work are often able to procure better talent. For employers, remote workers reduce the overhead for the organisation and make it easier for them to scale up as needed.
3. Social responsibility and inclusiveness in company culture
Organisations are now taking proactive steps towards social responsibility. In the wake of the #MeToo movement and many high-profile harassment cases, many businesses have taken an active role in developing internal policies meant to reduce harassment and discrimination.
In 2017, companies ranging from Uber to Tesla were accused of discrimination in the workplace. These accusations have taken a significant toll on these companies, both in terms of legal fees and public perception. Social responsibility is now being explored in terms of risk management and prevention, to better understand the contributing factors, and minimise overall risk.
4. Automation of tasks and robotic workforces
From industrial robots to virtual ones, organisations are now transitioning towards increased automation. Task automation increases productivity, reduces risk, and positively impacts an organisation’s bottom line. Businesses are able to capitalise on automation to improve their scalability and reduce their overhead.
5. Digital marketing and global analytics
Even many local businesses are tapping into the advertising potential of digital marketing. With the increased ability to pare down to a specific audience and geo-target a specific region, digital marketing has become the primary solution for businesses trying to reach out. Both on a B2B and B2C level, it’s become necessary for organisations to boost their digital marketing to continue bringing in traffic and interest.
At the same time, organisations now need to explore their advertising analytics to determine whether their strategies are effective. Analytics may combine technologies from artificial intelligence or from machine learning to find information on which strategies are and aren’t working.
6. Managing cybersecurity threats and risk management
According to our latest CEO Confidence Index report, cybersecurity threats are now a major concern for CEOs. Yet, 37% of organisations surveyed by The Executive Connection do not have
a cybersecurity strategy that is documented or communicated to executive leaders. Download the full report to find out the challenges faced by Australia CEOs today and where their focus will be for 2018. CEOs are going to have to react to this increase risk if they are to mitigate risk for their organisation. In 2018, CEOs are going to need to take some additional steps towards improving their security. This may include running security audits or investing in next-generation cybersecurity solutions.
Many organisations will also be investing in cybersecurity insurance, to reimburse them for the costs associated with a data security breach. The cost of a data breach often amounts to millions.
Where are you focusing this year?
Ultimately, 2018 is about new, emerging forms of technology, and integrating this technology into current business workflows and strategies. It’s also become a more culturally conscious world, in which businesses are required to be empathic, morally conscious entities, and a brand identity has to evolve its own social and environmental awareness. Depending on industry, CEOs may want to look towards updating both their organisation’s technologies and their company culture.
Being a CEO changes from year to year, and there are a tremendous number of potential missteps. In order to make the right decisions, you often need well-educated, qualified advice. TEC can help. Through our monthly meetings, you can reach out to a number of CEOs, professionals, and entrepreneurs, who have also been updating their techniques and their operations. Contact TEC today.