CEOs rather swift than slow with new tech and AI implementations

03 May 2024 3 min. read

Nearly two-thirds of CEOs believe investing in new technologies without a clear business case is justified. This is mainly because of their fear of missing out on the digital disruption bandwagon, according to research by AND Digital among 600 CEOs of large international companies.

The CEOs that were surveyed by AND Digital where overwhelmingly clear in their expectations of tech for their future: embracing new technologies is essential for businesses to remain competitive, enhance customer value, and continue to innovate.

Embracing technology however is a daunting task, admitted the CEOs. “Keeping up with the pace of technological change is one of the biggest pressures facing business leaders today,” highlights the report.

62% of CEOs think moving too slowly poses a greater risk than moving swiftly

Source: AND Digital

In adopting digital, CEOs feel pressured to move quick, in what is described as a departure of their ‘traditional’ way of adopting change. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of the CEOs polled said that moving too slowly poses a greater risk than moving swiftly, while being aware of the shortcuts they make need to take in areas such as return on investment, planning, as well as security and ethics.

Investing in skills

The report points out that CEOs are not just investing in the technical side of digital tooling, three quarters (75%) are also investing in training to ensure that their employees are digitally literate.

CEOs are also keen on investing in themselves. A third of CEOs believe they do not have enough digital knowledge to lead their company through the next phase of growth. Four out of five CEOs have therefore signed up for training to improve their knowledge of technology.

“CEOs are increasingly expected to understand and be accountable for the implementation of technology, a task that previously fell under the remit of CIOs and CTOs,” said Jeroen Kleinhoven, Benelux Executive at AND Digital.

64% of CEOs feel they are an analogue CEO in a digital age

Source: AND Digital

The rise of AI

AI (artificial intelligence) is not very surprising the main technology focus area for CEOs. “Many CEOs clearly recognise that AI can bring benefits to their business,” said the authors.

AI can bring rise to benefits across countless number of domains, from improving customer experience and streamlining processes to providing leaders with more forward-looking and strategic insights. AI can also make the life of employees less mundane, by taking over repetitive tasks.

At the same time, AI creates new complex issues within companies. Leaders are often divided on how best to approach, experiment, and validate use cases, as well as ensure that AI is used ethically. This sometimes leads to division within management layers. Nearly half (44%) of CEOs feel their management team is not ready to adopt AI in their organizations.

34% of CEOs have banned AI tools from their organisation

Source: AND Digital

A large majority of CEOs (68%) are concerned about the use of AI due to ethical considerations. Striking is that a third of the CEOs surveyed have even chosen to ban AI tools such as ChatGPT within their organisations.

Kleinhoven says that is is key that CEOs and companies take the right next steps in their digital transformation and AI journey. “In this day and age, every company is a technology company, whether they realise it or not.”