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C-suite regards adapting to remote working as key challenge

Senior management survey finds significant numbers noting remote working or flexi-working will be a long-term change for their business, with half seeing the switch to remote as one of their top three disruptions

The post-pandemic world of work has seen hybrid working adopted in virtually every business almost as a matter of course, and adapting to its challenges has been senior management’s biggest task, research from Mazars has found.

The C-suite barometer study from the integrated partnership that specialises in audit, accountancy, advisory, tax and legal services was designed and conducted in collaboration with GQR Research, gathering data via an online survey of 1,130 executives between 24 September and 25 October 2021.

Fundamentally, the study highlighted just how technology has proven to be at the core of business growth as executive teams have looked to adapt to remote working environments and manage persisting labour and market pressures. It found that just over two-thirds of leaders expect to go through a technology transformation in the next three to five years, demonstrating that this tech transformation is only getting started.

Tech trends were found to be very much on executives’ radars, with just over half (53%) expecting technology and innovation trends to have a major impact on their business in the next three to five years. As such, 82% plan to increase investment in maintaining and evolving IT systems.

Looking at how business leaders can embrace the impending tech revolution and best position their organisation for success, half of the respondents believe remote working will be a long-term change for their business and half expected increased remote or flexi-working.

In addition, 45% said adapting to remote working was the most significant challenge caused by the pandemic, and almost half named it in their top three disruptions.

Yet as reliance on tech and data increases, so do cyber security risks: 54% of respondents noted that the cyber security risk to their organisation has increased over the past 12 months, and 35% think a significant data breach in the next 12 months is likely. Mazars advised that creating a cyber security strategy from the get-go was essential to be prepared for these risks.

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Going forward, three key challenges stood out for the C-suite: a “war” for talent; getting technology into the boardroom; and risk associated with transformation.

Specifically, the study noted that the number of individuals who truly understand how to successfully achieve digital transformation is finite, and as such, the demand for these individuals is heating up.

Yet many boardrooms lack the technical expertise needed to implement an effective strategy for digital transformation, and bolstering tech knowledge in the boardroom can help steer an organisation in the right direction.

Mazars concluded by advising that when developing a digital strategy that sets out how to address opportunities around digital transformation, it was imperative to not lose sight of the associated risks.

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