CFOs: Do you really know what CEOs think when it comes to issues such as sustainability, Metaverse, and inflation.
Gartner said that its recent survey of CEOs and senior executives revealed significant shifts in their thinking regarding people, purpose, prices and productivity in 2022, specifically on matters of sustainability, workforce issues and inflation.
“The year 2022 is when CEO perspectives truly changed,” said Mark Raskino, distinguished research vice president at Gartner.
The pandemic gradually brought a number of deep societal trends to the surface, such as a desire to change the way we work and the fragility of long-distance global supply chains, he noted.
More recently, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is amplifying macroeconomic factors that CEOs must now deal with, such as inflation, he observed, adding that CEOs’ digital business ambition continues to rise at the same time, unabated by the pandemic and related crises.
The annual Gartner 2022 CEO and Senior Business Executive Survey was conducted between July 2021 through December 2021 among over 400 CEOs and other senior business executives in North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific across different industries, revenue and company sizes, the firm said.
What CEOs think about Metaverse
When it comes to what CEOs think about Metaverse, it’s not a priority to say the least despite it being touted as the next big buzz for businesses.
While AI is now reported as the most impactful new technology among CEOs for the third year in a row, Metaverse doesn’t matter to most CEOs, Gartner pointed out.
According to survey results, 63% of CEOs see the Metaverse as either not applicable or very unlikely to be a key technology for their business.
“The list of impactful technologies reminds us that ‘new’ is in the eye of the beholder,” Raskino said. Neither digitalisation nor e-commerce, in second and fourth place respectively, is very new on a relative basis. Yet these are technologies that many business leaders still perceive as novel and disruptive in their situations.”
Environmental issues hit the top 10 CEO business priorities
For the first time in the history of this survey, CEOs placed environmental sustainability in their top 10 strategic business priorities, coming in at 8th place — a significant jump from 14th place in 2019 and 20th in 2015, Gartner said.
“As business leaders feel the pressure from key stakeholders to do more on environmental sustainability, they are now treating the needed changes as opportunities to drive business efficiency and revenue growth,” said Raskino.
Survey results indicate that 74% of CEOs agreed that increasing environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts attracts investors toward their companies.
Of the 80% of CEOs who intend to invest in new or improved products this year and next, environmental sustainability was cited as the third largest driver, just behind functional performance and general quality, Gartner said.
Sustainability also appears as a competitive differentiator for CEOs in 2022 and 2023 — in fact, it is on the same level as brand trust among respondents, the firm pointed out.
CEOs view inflation as a persistent issue
In addition, 62% of CEOs see general price inflation as a persistent or long-term issue, according to the survey.
Their top response to inflation is to raise prices (51% of respondents), rather than responding with productivity and efficiency (22% of respondents), Gartner said.
In fact, productivity and efficiency are not even in the top 10 business priorities for CEOs this year, Raskino noted.
“Clearly, there is some complacency around inflation impact,” he observed. “When asked about the top two sources of competitive differentiation, only 3% of CEOs mentioned price. Gartner expects that may change quite quickly as inflation continues to bite.”