CEOs in Oman and the UAE are optimistic about growth, but see technology both an enabler and a potential disruptor, according to a report from KPMG.
The fourth annual global KPMG CEO Outlook, which interviewed 1,300 CEOs from around the world, found that over half of all UAE and Omani CEOs predict growth over the next three years.
Meeting the needs of millennial customers is the biggest challenge, cited by four out of ten CEOs in the region, while technology is creating opportunity but also issues of data privacy and security.
Over half of all respondents said they expect to be victim to a cyberattack, although cybersecurity, along with data privacy, have now become boardroom issues, driven by government and regulatory bodies' concerns.
CEOs showed a mix of forward looking and traditional approaches, with 86% of respondents expecting AI to create more jobs than it eliminates, but the majority of CEOs are still relying on their own experience and intuition to make decisions, despite increasing reliance on data-driven models and analytics.
In a digital economy, where new technologies are constantly reshaping industries and business models, the ability to innovate quickly is a strategic imperative. Seven in ten (68 per cent) of CEOs in the UAE and Oman say that acting with agility is the new currency of business and being able to respond to change without losing momentum is key.
Nader Haffar, CEO, KPMG Lower Gulf, said: "The fourth edition of the KPMG CEO Outlook Survey finds that chief executives are generally optimistic about the economy and the growth opportunities that disruption and transformation offer.
"At the same time, they are working to address their exposure to a few headwinds, including driving growth from new digital business models and revenue streams. Achieving growth will require CEOs to combine equal measures of resourcefulness with realism, while being open to new thinking, acquiring more skills and challenging convention."
The CEO Outlook report shows that, for the future, UAE and Oman CEOs recognize that they will need to address the challenge of supplementing traditional revenue streams with new sources of growth.
Therefore, they will need to challenge the status quo in their organisations, stimulate new thinking and take innovation to a higher level than before to drive the next stage of growth and evolution and help translate the confidence they are feeling into business reality.