KPMGAs a part of the KPMG’s CEO Outlook 2017, 150 UK business leaders were asked how technology was affecting their business. 37 per cent of respondents feel that their organisations are struggling to keep pace with technological advances. They also believe that piloting emerging technologies, attracting strategic talent, and building data collection capabilities are their top worries over the next three years.

However, over two-thirds of CEOs remain optimistic and say that technology disruption is more of an opportunity than a threat.

Ian Lithgow (pictured below), partner, KPMG UK, walks MARGINALIA through the main advantages that CEOs see in emerging technologies.

The ability to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and customer centricity of current operational delivery. “For example, the ability to implement cognitive and AI in the delivery of any type of customer facing services can mean that requests are answered quickly, accurately and in a way that the requestor wants (ie through multiple channels).”

The ability to attract and support talent through augmentation of traditional processes. “For example, new ways to attract, recruit, and develop talent are being looked at through the increased use of virtual reality and how this can support situational testing/assessment of individuals for a role. This can play into the development of staff where potentially expensive or asset intensive training approaches can be replaced.”

The ability to change the way work is delivered and how an organisation is structured to deliver products or services. “Technology allows organisations to remove old norms and ways of working to allow greater flexibility and mobility in the workforce and reduce the need for physical buildings in many cases. However, this is a significant cultural shift across the whole of an organisation and should not be underestimated.”

Ian Lithgow2“Through the advent of basic Robotic Process Automation through to fully fledged AI, the world of work will change,” says Lithgow. “Already many roles which are more repetitive, have calculations or basic processing can be automated and with the advent of chat bots, physical queries can be answered through technology negating the need for human interaction. Equally any role that has a significant element based on rules, legislation or has an element of interpretation can be supported by cognitive systems.”

To make the most of the opportunities offered by emerging technology, Lithgow offers advice to CEOs: “Be open to new ideas and technologies and think about the art of the possible. Become more digitally savvy and drive your Exec team to become technology advocates. Finally, have technology mentors, both internal and external.”