Business leaders across the world faced an all-time-high rate of change in 2023 and now expect it to accelerate further in 2024, according to Accenture’s Pulse of Change: 2024 Index, released ahead of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.
The new annual Index ranks six factors of change affecting businesses—Technology, Talent, Economic, Geopolitical, Climate and Consumer & Social—using a range of key business indicators, such as labor productivity and IT spending. It then compares this data to a global survey of 3,400 C-suite leaders on how they view the impact of each factor on their organizations, as well as their preparedness to respond.
The Index indicator analysis reveals that technology disruption increased the most in 2023, rising to No. 1 from No. 6 in 2022, catapulted by advances in generative AI. In the survey, C-suite executives globally also ranked technology as the No. 1 cause of change.
According to the indicator analysis, Talent was the No. 2 cause of business change (including issues such as skills shortages and lack of employee engagement); yet in the survey, C-suite leaders globally ranked Talent at No. 4. However, 42% of C-suite leaders globally say skills shortage is one of the top three challenges that would hold back their organizations’ ability to respond to change, underscoring the importance for businesses of making their talent strategy a priority—especially as they work to tap the potential of new technologies.
The Index indicator analysis found that overall, across all six factors, the rate of change has risen sharply since 2019—183% over the past four years and 33% in the past year alone.
Sandeep Dutta, Senior Managing Director and Lead - India Business, Accenture said, “Rapid pace of change has not only become a reality today but is also recognized as an opportunity for growth by business leaders. To stay resilient, businesses in India need to embrace a bold vision and a comprehensive strategy of continuous reinvention, powered by cloud, data and AI, along with new ways of working. Transforming every part of the organization can help businesses stay agile and achieve new performance frontiers, while taking advantage of disruptive technologies such as generative AI.”
The C-suite survey in India reveals that rapid pace of change holds continued potential for wide-ranging impact on leaders in the year ahead:
- A striking 89% of leaders in India anticipate an even faster rate of change in 2024.
- 76% of leaders in India see change as an opportunity, and 63% expect revenue growth to accelerate in 2024.
- Despite their optimism, 48% leaders in India say they are not fully prepared to respond to the change they will face in the 2024 business environment.
Technology disruption seen as opportunity, with caution about responsible use
Fifty-eight percent of C-suite leaders in India expect the pace of technology disruption to accelerate even further in 2024. 88% leaders in India see generative AI as more of an opportunity than a threat, while 74% view it as more beneficial to revenue growth than costs reduction.
However, globally nearly half (47%) say they are not fully prepared for the accelerating rate of technology change, and 72% are now approaching investments with more caution because of societal concerns about the responsible use of AI.