Our leaders at Davos – Bob Moritz

Our leaders
at Davos

Bob Moritz

Bob Moritz, Senior Partner, PwC US

The ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, characterised by the collision between technological change and social and demographic shifts, is generating considerable disruption in many industries and sectors. What is one key thing that business leaders should bear in mind as they revolutionise their businesses?

As more people and businesses connect via digital platforms, trust is a key component of the success of the new marketplace and business models. PwC research has found that 69% of consumers will not trust sharing economy companies until they are recommended by someone they trust. In fact, peer-to-peer review systems are becoming the new arbiters of quality.

It is also worth noting that a trusted brand is not only essential to building market share, but also to attracting talented employees who can innovate and deliver new services. For companies of all kinds, the right talent combined with technology mastery is going to be another imperative for success.

One last consideration is the pace at which transformation is taking place. Rapid change can raise questions and diminish the trust of both customers and employees. This means sustaining and building trust is an important consideration for organisations seeking to revolutionise their businesses.

Watch Bob Moritz’s Connected living video.

As part of this revolution, how is technology changing our lives and that of future generations and reshaping the economic, social, ecological and cultural contexts in which we live?

New advances in technology continue to change our society and economy. In fact, CEOs cite technology as a top three most influential global trend across sectors in the next five years. While presenting new obstacles and threats, technology and increased digitalisation of our world will contribute to innovation and the ability to solve societal problems. The public and private sector alike must learn how best to harness the potential of technology.

As part of this, businesses must learn to operate in a new ‘digital-native’ society. Transitioning business operations from traditional models to cloud-based, or more highly technological options is challenging, but necessary. In addition, the sheer volume of data available is extraordinary. Learning how to measure and leverage this data can lead to breakthrough innovations, trends and stakeholder insights.  

The combination of technology, and other changes and trends, is not only creating new risks and opportunities for business, it’s changing society’s expectations as well. We’ve all seen how information, when not managed appropriately or responded to, can erode trust in institutions of all kinds -- from government, to police forces, to companies. At a time in which trust is needed more than ever, greater access to information – both good and bad – means trust in society’s institutions is more fragile than ever.

Of course, trust has always been important, technology has always changed businesses and good leaders are always ahead of the curve in understanding the opportunities created as well as managing related risks. Our upcoming CEO Survey release will provide insight into how leaders are thinking about and responding to the latest expression of these ongoing concerns.

As companies leverage technology to revolutionise how they do business, PwC’s 2015 Global Digital IQ Survey found that digital leaders take a proactive approach to security and privacy issues. Why is this important?

Businesses need to consistently think about how their cybersecurity strategies can help build brand, competitive advantage, and shareholder value – and protect their organisations from a variety of potential threats and disruptors. Top-performing companies are more likely to proactively evaluate and plan for security and privacy in digital enterprise projects. They also feel more prepared to manage these risks (80%), compared with lower performers (64%). One way leading companies do this is by routinely including risk managers and security leaders in conversations about new product and service development, especially those taking advantage of emerging technologies like the Internet of Things.

In addition to protecting against threats, businesses must also understand and meet customer expectations for privacy. This requires engaging with them, listening, and responding to their preferences in order to create trusted interactions.