At least 70 per cent Indian chief executive officers (CEO) are confident of clocking revenue growth in Financial Year 2021-22 (FY22), said an annual survey by PwC on Wednesday, reflecting business sentiment as a second of Covid-19 infections threatens the country’s nascent economic recovery.
The report follows the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) growth projections for India. The IMF’s January 2021 World Economic Outlook projected India’s economy to grow by 11.5 per cent in 2021, making it the only major country with a double-digit growth forecast, PwC said.
At least 88 per cent CEOs expected global economy to improve in 12 months. According to Fitch Ratings, global gross domestic product declined by 3.4 percent in 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic remains the top threat for growth, according to the CEOs. Seven out of 10 of them consider the pandemic as a top threat to growth. As many as 53 per cent CEOs said uncertain economic growth is among top threats to their companies.
Cyberattacks was the second biggest threat for growth. At least 62 per cent CEOs consider cyberattacks as a major challenge. “The thought of losing my customers’ money to theft is what keeps me up at night. So, while COVID has brought about a significant increase in digital adoption and transactions, it has also increased the risks associated with digital”, said Uday Kotak, executive vice chairman and managing director at Kotak Mahindra Bank.
The need for operational resilience is speeding up cloud adoption, expanding the chance of cyberattacks for corporations. Cyber risk has become boardroom agenda, with 52 per cent Indian CEOs having factored it into their strategic risk management alongside speed of technological change, availability of key skills, and changing consumer behaviour, PwC said.
CEOs said digital transformation is integral to build “fit-for-future organisations” and driving business growth. The survey found 93 per cent Indian CEOs are willing to invest more in digital transformation in nearly all the sectors: from manufacturing, retail & consumer, financial services to education and healthcare industries. While 88 percent would like to simultaneously focus on digitising their risk management functions and build a cyber resilient infrastructure that supports their growth.
According to them, focusing on productivity, automation and technology will be key to sustain their business growth in the new post-COVID world. Some 42 percent of India CEOs are now focusing on productivity through automation and technology as a workforce strategy to make the greatest impact on their organisation’s competitiveness, while 35 percent are focused on health and wellbeing of the workforce.
A majority of India CEOs see the US (52 percent) as their largest export growth market. For India CEOs the top territories of growth other after the US are the UK (25 percent), China (15 percent), Bangladesh (12 percent), Germany (12 percent) and the UAE 12 percent). They believe the strong economic performance of the US on the back of a large stimulus and less disruptive decision-making will provide an additional boost to the exporting companies.