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 Growth Marked by Shifts: It’s what CEOs See in 2021: Mahmoud Khattab

According to the survey, digital initiatives make up 41 percent of the growth strategies and new product releases included in CEOs’ strategic plans in the next three years. Of the total investment in digital initiatives, approximately 52 percent will be in digital marketing and social media. Digital analytics and customer-centric digital marketing are the primary drivers.

Further, CEOs are concerned about various cybersecurity issues and will increase investment in solutions to mitigate security risks. Although this is not surprising given the current cybersecurity landscape, CEOs are still wary of investing in cybersecurity solutions unless necessary and cautiously putting new budgets to use. Learn more by visiting

The pace of change

The survey, which is conducted every other year, also finds that CEOs are placing their bets on new segments, expanding their existing business to new markets, reducing or removing costs and focusing on innovation.

“CEOs, and especially C-suite executives, are focused on building their organizations to scale and adapt to the changing external environment,” said Brian Kropp, vice president of Gartner’s CIO Research Group. “And many organizations are planning to add resources for reskilling their workforces as traditional skills become less relevant to business needs.”

This year, CEOs for the first time on Gartner’s Global CEO Forecast report are placing increased focus on the so-called digital ecosystem, which includes those companies and technologies that can connect, protect and grow information assets.

“CEOs are moving rapidly into a new phase of growth, where technological advancements will allow them to more rapidly expand their customer base, while reaping new business opportunities through new business models and revenue streams,” said Brian Kropp, vice president and Gartner principal, human resources practice at Gartner. “This increased focus on digital technology and new business models is what will propel future growth.”

“At a time of economic uncertainty and political upheaval, it’s even more important for CEOs to lead with innovative digital products that will shape the future of their business,” said Mervyn Chow, senior vice president and Gartner fellow. “CEOs will need to push their company to become a top-three digital firm if they are to grow in the years ahead.”

Over half of CEOs plan to invest in digital transformation initiatives this year, up from 39 percent last year. Businesses with an annual revenue greater than $1 billion will increase their IT investments the most, while businesses with revenue below $5 million will decrease them.