Business leaders embrace new technologies to boost competitiveness and tackle today’s biggest challenges

AI is the survey's big winner, topping the list of technologies most likely to have an impact on the future of business according to executives (63%).

Viva Technology and Wavestone unveil the first edition of their Barometer of Executive Trust in Tech, conducted by OpinionWay. The survey, conducted between November 2023 and January 2024, polled more than 1,000 business leaders in France, Germany, the UK and the USA, to gather their perceptions of new technologies. Although slightly less optimistic than their American counterparts, European business leaders nonetheless believe in the future growth of their sectors thanks to advances in technology. AI is the survey’s big winner, topping the list of technologies most likely to have an impact on the future of business according to executives (63%).

Technology, a vector of confidence to ensure business competitiveness

More than 9 out of 10 executives (96%) consider the integration of new technologies to be a fundamental factor in ensuring their company’s competitiveness. American executives see this as particularly essential, especially in terms of productivity and customer relations, while European executives are more reserved. In addition, it is worth noting that 72% of them have an outlook that has evolved positively over the course of 2023.

“This difference can be explained in part by the dynamics of innovation and financing on the other side of the Atlantic, conducive to more apparent successes in the short term,” explains François Bitouzet, Managing Director of Viva Technology. “French and German executives, on the other hand, take a more measured approach to the impact of technology, shaped by their personal experiences. However, despite recent economic challenges, a majority of executives see their perception of new technologies improving over the past year.”

Meanwhile, 88% of French people actively encourage their friends and family to consider a career in new technologies.

AI, a powerful booster for business

Technology continues to play a leading role in companies, with AI moving front and center, according to 63% of the decision-makers surveyed. In fact, 88% of them intend to invest in AI by 2024.

After AI, the technologies drawing the most attention from executives are Cloud computing (49%) and Cybersecurity (40%).

France is a notable exception, placing Cybersecurity at the top of its list (60% vs. AI at 57%). This may be explained by the fact that 45% of French companies suffered a successfully completed cyber attack in 2022. Although the rate of successful attacks has fallen in recent years, new threats are emerging, notably phishing, which accounts for 74% of attacks incurred. Big data takes third place on the podium with 31%, and Cloud Computing is only fourth (30%).

”Leaders and experts trust technology to solve current and future challenges. AI is valued for its concrete and immediate benefits, standing out from recent technological advances. Confidence in a technology increases when tangible benefits can be expected in key areas such as customer experience or productivity growth.” – Eva Rosilio, Head of Innovation Incubator at Wavestone

More generally, it is interesting to note that 85% of companies will be increasing their investment in new technologies over the next 12 months.

The talent shortage, a real impediment to growth and innovation

Overall, 82% of respondents believe that domestic companies are internationally competitive in terms of technology, although the French have a harsher self-assessment on the subject (69%).

Nevertheless, agreement is emerging on the main obstacles to companies’ technological development, most of which relate to human resources. Investment in skilled talent and research and development are essential to the international success of companies. For 45% of executives, the shortage of talent is an obstacle to innovation and growth.

It’s also worth noting that 63% of business leaders feel that governments are taking the right steps to stimulate the national technology ecosystem, an impression particularly strong in the UK (71%). Nevertheless, they expect the authorities to provide a favorable regulatory environment, increased support for research and development, and financing facilities to encourage the technological expansion of home-grown companies.

Technology, a solution to today’s major challenges

93% of business leaders see technology as an ally in tackling major human challenges. Specifically, technological progress is expected above all to simplify access to information and combat disinformation (44%); support the challenges facing the educational system (43%); and help combat pandemics and the climate crisis (39% and 37% respectively).

However, for all the good it can do, technological progress is also accompanied by worrying risks, such as the rise of disinformation and new threats to privacy (77% of those surveyed expressed concern).

In France, more than in other countries, the environmental issues associated with this progress are also a cause for concern: three quarters of French executives are worried, compared to just over half in Germany and the United States. Nevertheless, against this backdrop of uncertainty, business leaders feel confident (92%) and demonstrate a solid understanding of technology and cybersecurity issues (85%), although minor discrepancies remain in France and Germany.

Download the full report by following this link.

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