New research has revealed a surge in business leaders' optimism regarding their organisations' future growth. The 'Embracing a Brighter Future: Investment Priorities for 2024' report by the Capgemini Research Institute explores the investment priorities of 2,000 business leaders globally for the next 12-18 months. The report demonstrates key areas of investment, including customer experience, innovation, talent and skills, sustainability, and supply chains.
The recent findings indicate that 56% of business leaders retain confidence in their organisations' future growth despite the current macroeconomic headwinds. This is an increase from the 42% who felt this way 12 months ago. Business leaders' growing confidence is attributed to the rising importance of technology and AI in facilitating the transition towards a more digital and sustainable global economy.
"Our annual report on the sentiment and investment intentions of global business leaders provides cause for optimism at the start of 2024," commented Aiman Ezzat, CEO at Capgemini. "Business leaders are beginning the year with an increased sense of confidence compared to 12 months ago, with technology and AI set to drive the next phase of the transition towards a more digital and sustainable global economy."
The role of AI as a driver of innovation was recognised by 88% of business leaders, revealing a 55% increase in business leaders globally, noting the power of AI in driving innovation and revenue growth. AI is consequently expected to play a pivotal role in critical decision-making over the next five years, particularly in the life sciences industry.
Another key finding was the increasing concern surrounding cybersecurity threats, now considered a significant risk to business growth by 61% of business leaders; a stark rise from 39% in 2023. Subsequently, investments in cybersecurity are set to increase.
Environmental concerns remain at the forefront, with 48% of business leaders globally stating they expect climate change to be the leading cause of operational disruption. A clear business case for sustainability emerged with the disclosure that 52% of respondents intend to increase their investments in sustainability over the next year or so.
The survey responses showcased a shift in supply chain management. The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent economic lockdowns heightened the sense of vulnerability towards global supply chains. Consequently, 45% of those surveyed stated that a significant proportion of their procurement would be friend-shored, and 49% revealed investments in other emerging economies to reduce reliance on China.
Talent scarcity and the need for a skilled workforce were declared top business risks by six in ten organisations, up from a third last year. Organisations also believe in the sustainability of flexible and hybrid work arrangements alongside plans to increase investments in office space.