These are the pressing issues that will be keeping the C-suite up at night.
2019 will be a challenging year for CXOs irrespective of the functions they head. As enterprises seek to stay competitive in a global environment that is experiencing a slowdown, budgets are shrinking. CXOs will be under pressure to deliver more with lesser resources, financial or human capital. Disruption will be one the biggest challenges for traditional businesses to grapple with. Here is what we think will be some of the biggest hurdles CXOs will have to overcome.
CEOs: While growth continues to be a priority, they will have to orchestrate an organisation-wide cultural change
Growth and profitability will remain a priority for CEOs as that’s what investors will demand. But sustaining both in a market characterised by disruption is not easy. Competitive edge in the digital era is defined by an enterprise’s ability to think out-of-the-box and innovate. Innovation in the digital age will require traditional businesses to bring about a cultural change within the organisation and play by the new rules. This can happen only when the CEO has the vision to take his team along on the transformation journey and the will to turn legacy on its head.
CFO: Digital transformation costs and measuring TCO and ROI can be tricky
The CFO’s role is the toughest as organisations embark on a digital transformation journey. Embracing concepts like cloud can reduce Capex and Opex may sound better on paper. But the long term costs involved in moving to the cloud and embracing other digital technologies could adversely impact balance sheets, if not analysed properly right at the beginning of the transformation journey. As enterprises are experimenting with new technology cost overruns are normal. The CFO will have to run a fine toothcomb through every project that comes with various cost implications.
CIO: Managing the nuts and bolts of transformation while ushering in change
It’s the CIO’s discretion that will drive the digital transformation strategy. He/she will have to carefully look into issues like scalability, manageability and costs, while deciding on the most viable transformation roadmap for the enterprise. CIOs will have to take a call on what workloads are better off on the cloud and what should stay on premise. Depending on the industry vertical, regulatory compliances could present their own challenges and IT will have to work around them. New privacy laws will only complicate things further.
CMO: It’ll be harder to justify returns on marketing investments in the digital age
Marketing in the good old days of print and television used to be a bit like astrology. Newspapers and magazines would come to you with circulation or viewership figures audited by established auditors. The Internet changed the game as it is possible for marketers today to track who viewed their ad or content and for just how long. Lead generation also seems to have become simpler in a digital environment. But due to the clutter that exists, in terms of potential channels to reach out to specific target audiences and a tsunami of content that competing enterprises churn out, marketers have do that extra bit to stand out and be noticed. CMOs will be busy trying to figure out how to generate compelling content that gets their products or services noticed and in figuring out the best channels to engage their audiences.
CISO: Fathoming a complex threat landscape and taking proactive measures
The threat landscape is getting murkier as cyber criminals are targeting endpoints, the most vulnerable extensions of an enterprise considering that enterprises are increasingly adopting mobility. In addition to malware, Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) are targeting enterprises for sensitive data. Attacks are getting more sophisticated than ever and CISOs have to be on their toes to take protective measures. Deploying new technologies like IoT, AI and machine learning will come with their own risks and CISOs have the most unenviable job in the enterprise.
CHRO: Quality talent will be scarce and will attract top dollar
Digital transformation and new technology adoption means acquiring new talent. India still doesn’t have a huge pool of talent when you are looking at areas like AI, machine learning, deep learning and Natural Language Processing. Top talent in these areas don’t come cheap. CHROs will have a tough time meeting their targets.