Business leaders around the globe are most concerned about their company to transform its operations and infrastructure to compete with organizations that are “born digital,” according to the 2019 Executive Perspectives on Top Risks survey conducted by Protiviti and North Carolina State University Poole College of Management’s Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Initiative. Business leaders’ top three concerns for 2019 were digital readiness, succession challenges and heightened regulatory change and scrutiny.

Compared with the 2018 outlook, digital readiness jumped from 10th place to first, demonstrating board members’ interest in this area. According to Jim DeLoach, a managing director at Protiviti and a member of the research team, digital readiness “is not about how much money is spent. Many organizations may invest heavily in new technologies and digital initiatives, but the changes they may achieve are not necessarily transforming how the organization thinks and acts at its core. Digital transformation is about transforming the organization – its culture, people and processes – to think and act more broadly.

“So the jump in concern regarding digital readiness is likely due to a general lack of resiliency and agility in staying ahead of – or keeping pace with – changing market realities, the restrictive burden of significant technical debt, a perceived lack of out-of-the-box thinking about both the business model and fundamental assumptions underlying the strategy, and the existence or threat of more nimble competitors,” DeLoach adds.