KPMG: Saudi-based CEOs seek to strengthen digital resilience, tap disruptive technologies

Companies in Saudi Arabia are ramping up their digital investment strategies

Companies in Saudi Arabia need to execute a digital resilience strategy to identify disruptive technologies and provide protection from cyber threats once those technologies are implemented.

“For CEOs in Saudi Arabia, strengthening governance and bolstering their ability to recover from a major incident are the most important strategies for establishing digital resilience,” said Mazhar Hussain, Digital Lighthouse Lead for KPMG in Saudi Arabia.

“CEOs need to be quicker to shift investments to digital opportunities and divest businesses that face digital obsolescence,” Hussain said.

According to KPMG’s CEO Outlook Saudi Arabia 2021, 66% of CEOs say they are actively disrupting the sector in which they operate, down from 86% in a pre-pandemic survey. Moreover, CEOs seeing technological disruption as more opportunity than a threat dropped from 88% to 72%.

Cybersecurity is among the top business priorities for CEOs in the Kingdom, who realize the need to build up their defense systems.

Purpose-led, sustainable cybersecurity practices help digital ecosystems thrive, bounce back from attacks and instill confidence that a business is well-governed.

Companies in Saudi Arabia are ramping up their digital investment strategies, with 68% of Saudi-based CEOs saying they have an aggressive digital investment strategy intended to secure first-mover or fast-follower status.

KPMG says many organizations have coped exceptionally well with the Covid-19 pandemic, showing resilience as they dealt with notable change, uncertainty and disruption, noting that CEOs need to surround themselves with resilient people.

A number of other insights were also uncovered by the survey. CEOs see a need to build a connection between environmental, social and governance (ESG) programs and financial growth by identifying opportunities and establishing metrics and standards for reporting on ESG performance.

Looking at the future of work, CEOs are remaining flexible. Some CEOs are looking to hire a remote or hybrid workforce, though only eight percent of them are downsizing their office spaces.

CEOs should invest in digital skills as well as technology modernization. They should ensure the decisions about the future of work deepen the extent to which employees are engaged and committed to the company, KPMG concluded.