Skills and information gap – the race for talent

PwC's 22nd CEO Survey

As they turn to within their organisations to find growth opportunities, CEOs say they find shortcomings in their own capabilities, and many struggle to extract value from the data they have and to get employees with analytical skills.

In the age of technology, information rules. CEOs admit to struggling to get and manage the information they need for decision-making, and the reason is often the capability of their own organisations to generate adequate data. The information gap is still substantial, despite the massive investments made in the IT infrastructure over the years. Business leaders point to the fact that they still do not get enough of the relevant information they need to make major decisions about the stability and long-term success of their businesses.  

In the opinion of CEOs worldwide, the most important types of information relate to their customers’ needs and preferences (94%), followed by financial projections, data on their organisations’ brand and reputation – each of which is named by around nine out of every ten respondents. Information on the risks to which their business is exposed, on the employees’ views and needs, on how the latest technology trends benefit or disrupt the industry and data regarding competitors also proved particularly important to over 80% of the business executives.

Business leaders in Central and Eastern Europe share the opinion of their counterparts worldwide that data on customers’ needs and preferences (96%) and financial projections (89%) are critical for decision-making. Data on the risks to which their business is exposed, on their organisation’s brand and reputation and on competitors come next – each named by more than eight out of every ten respondents. It is noteworthy that business executives in the region are more interested in data on the tax implications of their decisions (77%) than their employees’ views and needs (73%).

The outlook apparent from the responses of CEOs in Romania is not very different from the above – the same top five appear as for their counterparts worldwide, but in a different order. Thus, in the opinion of business executives in Romania, financial projections top the list of most important data (97%), followed closely by their organisation’s brand and reputation (95%) and by customers’ needs and preferences (93%). Information on employees’ views and needs (90%) ranks fourth in the top of critical data for decision-making. Like their counterparts in the region, more than eight out of every ten CEOs in Romania are interested in data on the tax risks arising from their decisions.

However, things are much more complicated when it comes to the relevance and adequacy of the data CEOs actually get. For the large majority of the types of information analysed, there is a significant gap between the importance of data and the comprehensiveness of the information decision-makers access, and this is manifest worldwide, in Romania and in Central and Eastern Europe. The widest gap shown by responses of CEOs worldwide covers the type of information seen as crucial, namely data on customers’ preferences and needs. Of the respondents who see such data as critical or important, a mere 15% say the data they get is comprehensive. Of the top key data types, financial projections have the highest degree of adequacy (which is the only percentage above 33%).

It seems that CEOs in the region have the most difficulties in getting comprehensive information on customers’ preferences and needs, on the risks to which their business is exposed and on competitors, but things are better when it comes to comprehensive financial projections, as with their counterparts worldwide.

Business executives in Romania also say that getting comprehensive data on financial projections is rather easy, as is getting information on employees’ views and needs and on their organisation’s brand and reputation, but things are far from ideal. Data on risks to which their business is exposed and on how the latest technology trends benefit or disrupt the industry is rather insufficient and inadequate.

”It is true that the expectations of business executives are growing as technology advances. However, CEOs know how difficult it is for organisations’ data analytics capabilities to keep up with the exponential increase in the volume of data generated lately. In other words, far from being short of raw data, they admit that they simply lack the capabilities to use the available data for decision-making. CEOs admit that there are mainly internal reasons for the lack of adequate data – people, systems and data quality issues. When asked why they do not get sufficient relevant information, business leaders mainly point to the lack of employees with analytical skills, data siloing and poor quality data (incomplete and inaccurate). To a lesser extent, they also point to their organisations’ inability to process and analyse external information, the inadequate IT infrastructure and the difficulties arising from trying to comply with the client data privacy rules (for instance, GDPR) and with data protection and security rules. Some of the respondents mention a reason external to their organisations, namely their customers’ refusal to share information.”

Luca Martini Advisory Services Leader PwC Romania and South Eastern Europe

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