We just released our 4th annual Global CEO Outlook, a survey of 1,300 CEOs in 11 of the world's largest economies, which gathers timely insights into their strategic priorities over the next three years.
While they are quite optimistic about the economy at large, and their company's own outlook, they're also realistic about their growth plans in terms of revenue and increases to headcount.
I believe that many CEOs are coming to realize that simple, top-line revenue growth is no longer their sole, or most important, measure of success in the digital era. They are focused on how they can achieve better profitability: investing in technology and their people and looking at different business models.
They recognize that the new business models they pursue will take time to bear fruit. They realize that such transformation may increase value for the company and its stakeholders in other, more sustainable ways than purely immediate revenue gains, such as increased loyalty, relevance or societal impact. And, they must focus on achieving good growth, not just growth at all cost. It's a dilemma that comes with investing in digital transformation.
Several decades ago, the banks invested heavily to roll-out automated banking machines without enjoying an instant, corresponding boost in revenues. It took years for customer behaviors to shift on a large scale, ultimately delivering revenue and cost improvements and forever evolving bank service models from branches to those first self-serve channels.
But embracing this patient approach isn't always easy. Today's CEOs are asking themselves questions such as “What are the right levels of investment to successfully transform our business?”, “What exact skills do we require to leverage new technology?” and “How can we measure our progress, or success, if traditional indicators don't present the full picture?”