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Digital transformation

Digital transformation needs people in order to be successful, according to Nordic CEOs

Digital transformation needs people in order to be successful, according to Nordic CEOs

Nordic CEOs are eager to disrupt and expand their business. They tend to agree that a truly resilient business is one that can disrupt the market and that they are actively disrupting their own sector.


Complacency can be fatal in today’s dynamic markets. Business models that have lasted for decades are now under increasing threat as a result of digital disruption. Our findings show that Nordic chief executives recognize that the rules of the game have changed, and a new resilience is required. 64 percent said that their company’s growth relies on their ability to challenge and disrupt any business norm.


More Nordic than global leaders think that changes cannot be done by technology alone. While CEOs globally are investing more in technology than in employee skills, Nordic CEOs are putting great emphasis on investments to improve their workforce’s skills as opposed to buying new technology.

It's extremely important that the CEOs realise that digitalisation must be on top of the agenda. Not only for your core products, but for the whole organisation.

Jeppe Rindom
CEO and co-founder of Pleo

While CEOs globally are investing more in technology than in employee skills, Nordic CEOs are putting unusual emphasis on investments to improve their workforce's skills

Source: 2019 CEO Outlook, KPMG.

Dare to fail

Disruptive technologies — from artificial intelligence to virtual reality — have the potential to transform the world of work. Upskilling of employees for a digital age is now essential for resilience.This year’s findings underscore that Nordic CEOs consider the cultural approach of digital transformation as integral to the success of digital transformation, as their enthusiasm for disruption this year is coupled with the conviction that they have created the right culture to embark on transformation.

Eighty-two percent of Nordic CEOs agree that their companies encourage “fast-failing” innovation initiatives, and 88 percent want employees to feel empowered to innovate without worrying about negative
consequences if the initiatives fail. 

With a deeply rooted culture of "failing fast" and scaling up the solutions that work, Nordic companies are well equipped to exploit the potential of new technologies such as artificial intelligence.

Tom Einar Nyberg
Director / Head of Digital Operations KPMG Norway

Nordic trust in AI

Artificial intelligence technologies and their applications offer an opportunity to transform an organization’s performance. These technologies are being used to execute processes and tasks that used to be undertaken by employees, leaving humans free to tackle higher-value tasks. However, organizations have still not applied artificial intelligence in the automation of their processes. Only 19 percent of CEOs said that they have already implemented artificial intelligence to automate their processes, in contrast to the 30 percent who say they are just piloting the technology and the 51 percent who have begun limited implementation.


Nordic CEOs are also more likely than their global counterparts to believe that technology-based transformation based on artificial intelligence and robotics will create more jobs at their company than they eliminate over the next three years (84 percent vs. 65 percent). However, this positive approach to continued disruption is somewhat tempered by the realization by 80 percent of Nordic CEOs that lead time to achieve significant progress on transformation can be overwhelming.

Download full report:

For more information on CEO Outlook 2019 survey and complete overview of findings, please see the full report available for download. 

KPMG Lighthouse – Center of Excellence for Data-Driven Technologies:

KPMG Lighthouse consists of 25 dedicated technologists with interdisciplinary focus on data and analytics, intelligent automation and artificial intelligence. The main purpose of Lighthouse is to combine our data-driven technologies and capabilities alongside our deep-rooted subject matter expertise to accelerate innovation, solve specific customer challenges and develop analyzes and automated solutions. We help our customers transform their business and operating models – and create new values.


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