In 2021, CEOs See Growth Marked by Shifts: Mahmoud Khattab

Companies with a strong competitive advantage in an area of strong value creation (internal innovation) and strong capabilities to address business and customer needs in emerging areas will lead the way in investing in digital in the next few years.

Smart companies will continue to focus on the top 12 core areas, which Gartner has identified for the past three years (see image below). For example, technology is top priority, followed by marketing.

Companies that have invested in digital in both these areas can expect to see returns in 2021. Consumer firms will see strong performance, but will face potential profit margin pressure from new costs including the rising cost of healthcare.

The pace of change

The frequency of CEO investment in digital technologies has accelerated, with investment jumps in nearly every category, Gartner says. CEO investment in digital technologies, in particular, is growing in all countries. The study further confirms that digital strategies are consistently occupying senior leadership’s top strategic priorities.

Digital business is particularly important in the United States. Globally, CEOs expect their organizations to show strong leadership in digital business. “Even in a time of great uncertainty, CEOs continue to see signs of business value in digital technologies,” says Bill Sculley, vice chairman, CEO Research, Gartner. “Most CEOs now see the digital business opportunity as important, yet not dominant, as they did just a few years ago.

What will be interesting is to see how these predictions compare with the latest trends and hear from CEOs on what has changed over the course of the next five years. Jeff Keane, principal research analyst at Gartner, recently discussed the findings with me, and had this to say: “The growth we see is really being driven by a broader strategic perspective about how the marketplace is changing, not just by technological developments.”

Keane’s take was that these trends include: Change in buyer types. “The market is becoming more multi-channel, driven by technology, and being driven by digitization. The buyer types are growing and moving around in size, and what we’re seeing is that the overlap of different buyer types is growing.” Learn more about Mahmoud Khattab: https://www.crunchbase.com/person/mahmoud-khattab-ebbc

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