US Telecom CEOs See Tech Disruption as Opportunity | KPMG | US
Share with your friends

US Telecom CEOs Embrace Disruption, More Confident in Detecting, Responding to Market Shifts: KPMG Study

US Telecom CEOs See Tech Disruption as Opportunity

Investments in cybersecurity, digital infrastructure and emerging technologies reflect market maturity and move into strategy and implementation phase of technology transformation


Related content

An overwhelming majority (90 percent) of U.S. telecom CEOs indicate their organization is actively disrupting the sector in which they operate, rather than waiting to be disrupted by competitors, according to the 2017 KPMG Telecom CEO Outlook. Seventy-one percent see tech disruption as an opportunity rather than a threat.

The survey of 84 U.S. Telecom industry CEOs revealed cybersecurity, digital infrastructure and emerging technologies topped CEOs’ list of investment priorities for the past 12 months – driven by a desire to improve bottom-line growth and customer engagement and strengthen organizational resilience.

Detailed findings of the survey can be found at Follow the conversation on social media using the hashtag #CEOoutlook.

“Rapid disruption and increased competition from both traditional and non-traditional market players continue to alter telecoms’ business processes and operations,” said Paul Wissmann, National Sector Leader, Media & Telecommunications at KPMG. “However, these CEOs have become more adept at anticipating and managing the challenges of rapid change, and most feel they are well positioned for the future at least given the current environment.”

Strategic priorities for the future
Although telecom CEOs are confident in their abilities to recognize the current market signals, the survey revealed that 89 percent of them are concerned their companies lack the sensory capabilities and innovative processes to respond quickly enough to keep pace should the pace of change and disruption accelerate.

Wissmann added, “For many Telecom CEOs, agility is only part of the solution. They must be vigilant and assess their investments and strategic priorities with an eye on the market today and what might be around the corner. As a result, they are moving past the initial investment stage and into the strategy and implementation phase of their technology transformation.”

As the telecom industry looks to the future, CEOs are placing their bets on emerging technologies: the Internet of Things (IoT), data and analytics (D&A) and cognitive intelligence.

While the use of these emerging technologies is still in the early stages for telecoms, 42 percent of CEOs made significant investments in IoT in the past 12 months, followed by 37 percent in D&A and 36 percent in cognitive technologies, which include artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Today’s customer-centric world is forcing telecoms to take a more sophisticated approach to D&A in response to increasing competition. Mining data is no longer just about selling information, but about creating greater value for the customer. Data and analytics has become an essential tool for business leaders to plan strategy and react quickly to market forces.

The Digital Workforce

When asked how emerging cognitive technologies would affect headcount over the next three years, CEOs said they expected it to require a significant increase in their workforce in the areas of senior management (46 percent), marketing and communications (45 percent), IT (42 percent) and middle management (42 percent).

Although a majority of CEOs expect headcount to remain unchanged during the next 12 months, the survey found a slight uptick in the percentage of CEOs that see a need to begin hiring in the coming year, compared with KPMG’s 2016 survey.

Wissmann added, “Emerging cognitive technologies will bring about a reshaping of the workplace, but most CEOs view this as a realignment, not a replacement of human capital.”

Notably, when asked about strategic priorities over the next three years, talent development/management ranked among CEOs’ top priorities.


KPMG LLP, the audit, tax and advisory firm ( is the independent U.S. member firm of KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”). KPMG International’s independent member firms have 189,000 professionals, including more than 9,000 partners, in 152 countries.


Ann Marie Gorden

Connect with us


Request for proposal