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CEO Outlook 2017: Leading in 21st Century ASEAN

CEO Outlook 2017: Leading in 21st Century ASEAN


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A special insight into the top-of-mind issues for CEOs in ASEAN, where it is clear that business leaders are looking to be the disruptor in their industry by harnessing technology, digital investments, and by challenging their own role to better lead their businesses.

The 2017 CEO Outlook: An ASEAN perspective is based on in-depth interviews with nearly 1,300 CEOs, leading some of the world’s largest companies. These CEO interviews provide unique insights into their strategic issues, their expectations for business growth and the challenges they expect to face over the next 3 years.

Technology will continue to play a critical role in whether a business survives in the long run. Market dynamics have changed as companies utilize Internet of Things (IoT), and customers adapt to new IoT-enabled services and products. 

Based on our research, there are six big bets for disruptive technology: Digital labor, omnichannel, internet of services, journey to the cloud, software development at the speed of business, and next-gen IT operating model. These disruptors need to be strategically managed via innovation.

Industries across the board will be disrupted, which essentially means that the traditional playbook is obsolete. To thrive in this setting will require companies to adopt a sound strategy with a balance of innovation, opportunity and risk. Ultimately, business leaders should master the skill to anticipate tomorrow’s trends and be able to deliver solutions of the future today.

Datuk Johan Idris
Managing Partner
KPMG in Malaysia

Key Findings

  • ASEAN CEOs believe that greater digital investments will offer more opportunities to find competitive advantage in an uncertain geopolitical environment.
  • Speed-to-market and innovation are high strategic priorities for CEOs in ASEAN. Both aredependent on a clearly-articulated digitization strategy whose benefits can gobeyond cost savings to greater efficiency in faster decision-making and strengtheningcustomer relationships.
  • It may be impossible to fully prepare for unknown cyber threats, but strengthening cyber security remains an ongoing journey for ASEAN CEOs wanting to protect their brand reputation.
  • There is a heightened perception of geopolitical risk among CEOs. In ASEAN, understanding the implications of geopolitics and keeping up with geopolitical trends/disruptions, such as election outcomes, international conflict, or terrorism is now a top concern for CEOs.
  • A higher percentage of CEOs in ASEAN is more open to acknowledging personal challenges and working toward disrupting their own roles than among Global CEOs, by focusing on upgrading their own skills. For many, disruption is as much a personal challenge as an organizational one.


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