PLANT

Hey CEOs, cool your jets

C-suites are overconfident about business challenges.


Canadian CEOs may be too confident about their company’s ability to manage the state of their organizations and industries, and their ability to perform, according to a KPMG survey.

The consulting firm’s 2016 Canadian CEO Outlook, part of a broader survey covering more than 1,300 CEOs in 28 countries, polled 53 Canadian companies in 11 industries.

While 58% of respondents acknowledge that Canada is in a state of slow growth, 96% are confident about growth over the next three years. More than 50% predict top-line growth of between 2% and 5%, and they expect to increase headcounts in the same period.

But the study says they might be getting ahead of themselves. While executives acknowledge they’re managing during a time of disruption and change, KPMG says they aren’t backing that belief up with action.

Virtually all (98%) say customer loyalty is their number one concern. Ninety-two per cent 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.

Attracting new customers is a key source of growth for 70% over the next three years, but just over half are deploying data and analytics tools to drive strategy and change by better understanding their customers. Only 21% plan to invest in data and analytics for the future, while 66% of those who have deployed data technologies believe they’re using it effectively. Thirty-two per cent consider themselves to be leaders within their industries.

Yet their approach is focused on operations instead of driving innovation and developing a deeper understanding of their customers, potential customers and market.

Most are using data and analytics to analyze branding via social media; 57% use it to drive strategy and change while 55% are developing new products and services. Forty per cent are leveraging data to identify new customers.

Cyber attacks are a cause for concern. Only 13% of the Canadian respondents are fully prepared to manage the fallout of a cyber breach; just 8% say minimizing cyber security risk is a strategic priority. That number could increase once businesses are required by law to reveal a cyber attack to authorities.

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