Dubai: Digital adoption and cyber security are the top challenges for businesses in the region, a survey revealed.
These concerns have sprung to life in the past two years, and 66 per cent of the executives surveyed list them as their top concerns. This number compares with only 25 per cent of executives, who were worried about those aspects in 2017.
“In many respects, the business priorities and learning needs of the region are not dissimilar from the global position. Businesspeople are understandably preoccupied with digital issues the world over. However, alongside cybersecurity and digitalisation, our findings also show that the Middle East has not lost sight of the importance financial management,” Gustaf Nordbäck, CEO of Headspring, which commissioned the study, said.
The survey also considred how leadership development can have an influence in addressing these key business challenges. Asked about their attitudes to executive education as a business priority, 30 per cent of Middle East respondents placed it in their top five issues to be addressed.
Alya AlZarouni, Executive Vice President of Operations, DIFC Authority, said: “Growing business in today’s world is no longer driven by generating revenue, it is very much about harnessing the right talent and developing human capital within an organisation. Deepening the pool of financial services professionals in the region remains a key priority for us at the DIFC. We continue to promote excellence and professional development through a number of knowledge-sharing initiatives and offering executive education courses on our growing network of leading academic institutions, such as Headspring, at the DIFC Academy.”
With the future in mind, three in five Middle Eastern business leaders agree that new ways of thinking and problem solving are encouraged in their organisation (62 per cent), highlighting how ready they are to thrive in an innovative landscape. In addition, 57 per cent agree that they are well-prepared to adapt to new technologies.
How to tackle these problems?
According Mckinsey, the forces of digital have yet to become fully mainstream. On average, industries are less than 40 percent digitized, despite the relatively deep penetration of these technologies in media, retail, and high tech.
“As digitisation penetrates more fully, it will dampen revenue and profit growth for some, particularly the bottom quartile of companies, according to our research, while the top quartile captures disproportionate gains. Bold, tightly integrated digital strategies will be the biggest differentiator between companies that win and companies that don’t, and the biggest payouts will go to those that initiate digital disruptions. Fast-followers with operational excellence and superior organizational health won’t be far behind,” according to the consultancy.
Another survey done by the consultancy revealed that companies are rolling out a wide range of activities to counter cyber risk. They are investing in capability building, new roles, external advisers, and control systems.
“What they lack, however, is an effective, integrated approach to cyber risk management and reporting. As top executives attest, these tools are urgently needed to support fast, fact-based cyber risk management,” the consultancy added.
However the major challenge in countering cyber attacks is lack of real time data with companies.