Canadian CEOs are confident in the state of their organizations and industries, and their ability to outperform against the general economic backdrop, finds a survey by KPMG Canada.
“Despite all the disruption currently rocking our national economy – from the oil and gas industry to our ever-fluctuating dollar – corporate leaders in Canada are largely confident about their short-term prospects, and even more optimistic for the growth of their own companies, and the Canadian and global economy over the next three years,” says Bill Thomas, CEO and senior partner, KPMG in Canada and Chair of KPMG’s Americas Region.
While this confidence sounds promising, there are some remarkable contrasts from their global counterparts. Canadian CEOs, for example, appear more insular in their thinking, are less inclined to drive significant business transformation and more concerned with existing customer loyalties and accessing talent. Canadian CEOs also exhibit a heightened sense of confidence when it comes to cyber security.
The study of 53 Canadian CEOs from companies eleven industries, finds that although 58% of the Canadian leaders acknowledge that Canada is in a state of slow growth, 96% are confident in the growth of their own company over the next three years. Additionally, over half predict top-line growth of 2% to 5%, and all anticipate headcount growth in the same time period (over a third predicting up to 25%).
Further, while executives acknowledge that they are managing during a time of disruption and change (75% agree that the next three years will be more critical to their industry than the previous 50), Canadian leaders do not appear to be backing that belief up with action.
Virtually all Canadian CEOs (98%) say customer loyalty is their number one concern. Still, 92% acknowledge concern over their ability to stay on top of what’s next in services and products, and 91% are worried about how millennials and their differing needs will change their business.
With close to three quarters (70%) of Canadian CEOs ranking new customers as the key source of growth over the next three years – the customer is a clear priority for Canadian leaders. Yet, just over half are using data and analytics (D&A) to better understand their current customers and drive strategy and change. Perhaps more surprisingly, only 21% of Canadian CEOs are planning to invest in D&A for the future.
D&A – a missed opportunity
Canadian CEOs believe they are using D&A effectively (66%), with 32% believing they are leaders in using D&A. However, executives’ approach to D&A is operationally-focused, rather than driving innovation and a deep understanding of the customer and market. Survey results show the top use of D&A is to analyze branding via social media. Only 57% use D&A to drive strategy and change; 55% use it to develop new products and services and 40% leverage D&A to find new customers.
Cyber (over) confidence?
Cyber-attack preparedness is not a big concern for Canadian CEOs. More than three quarters of CEOs believe they are somewhat prepared for a cyber-attack event, with the remaining 13% feeling fully prepared.
Currently, only 8% of Canadian CEOs indicate that minimizing cyber security risk is a strategic priority. Once Canadian businesses are required by law to reveal a cyber-attack, their strategic priorities may change.