Canadian CEOs overconfident about challenges: KPMG

They claim to be managing disruptions but study suggests they aren’t backing that belief up with action.

TORONTO — Canadian CEOs are confident about the state of their organizations and industries, and their ability to perform, but they may be overly so, according to a KPMG survey.

The global consulting firm’s 2016 Canadian CEO Outlook (part of a broader survey of 1,300 CEOs in 28 countries) polled 53 Canadian CEOs from companies across 11 industries.

Although 58% of CEOs acknowledge Canada is in a state of slow growth, 96% are confident in the growth of their own companies over the next three years; and more than half predict top-line growth of 2% to 5%. All anticipate headcount growth in the same time period (over a third predicting up to 25%).

While executives acknowledge they’re managing during a time of disruption and change, the KPMG study suggests they aren’t backing that belief up with action.

Virtually all (98%) say customer loyalty is their number one concern. Ninety-two percent acknowledge concern over their ability to stay on top of what’s next in services and products, and 91% are worried about how millennials and their differing needs will change their business.

Seventy per cent rank new customers as the key source of growth over the next three years; yet, just over half are using data and analytics (D&A) to better understand their current customers and drive strategy and change, and only 21% are planning to invest in D&A for the future. They believe they’re using it effectively (66%), and 32% believe they’re leaders in D&A use. However, their approach focuses on operations rather than driving innovation and a developing a deep understanding of the customer and market.

The top use of D&A is to analyze branding via social media. Only 57% use it to drive strategy and change; 55% use it to develop new products and services and 40% leverage it to find new customers.

Cyber-attack preparedness is not a big concern for CEOs.

More than three quarter believe they are somewhat prepared for a cyber-attack event, and the remaining 13% feel fully prepared. Only 8% indicate that minimizing cyber security risk is a strategic priority.

Once Canadian businesses are required by law to reveal a cyber-attack, their strategic priorities may change.

Click here for more information on the CEO Outlook.

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