Indian CXOs Emphasise ESG, Trust, and AI For Future Business Growth: Deloitte Coalesce 2023

Leaders at Coalesce anticipate significant business growth in the next 3-5 years, with the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) framework playing a key role.
ESG Goals
ESG Goals

Indian CXOs are convinced that it is time to break departmental silos and collaborate to successfully navigate and address the challenges of today’s ever-changing and volatile world. 

This resounding sentiment emerged as a key takeaway from Coalesce 2023, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP’s (DTTILLP) annual flagship initiative, where CXOs from 187 organizations across business functions joined to deliberate and visualise the “Art of the Possible” through engaging design-thinking workshops alongside industry leaders, top-level decision-makers, and alliance partners. 

Romal Shetty, Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte South Asia, said, “Coalesce stands as an industry-first initiative, uniting industry leaders, ecosystem providers, and alliance partners under one platform to envision and design-think the future.” 

Leaders at Coalesce anticipate significant business growth in the next 3-5 years, with the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) framework playing a key role. About 24 per cent highlight the importance of ESG in ensuring investor transparency, while 65 per cent see it as a growth driver.

Executives globally are adopting sustainability-focused tech, such as blockchain and AI, to meet net-zero goals, as noted by 40 per cent of CXOs. GenAI is also emerging as another growth catalyst, with 27 per cent of CXOs exploring new business models and 41 per cent using it to enhance workforce skills and competitiveness. CXOs are prioritising trustworthy AI frameworks, foreseeing AI's competitive edge, and driving the expected demand for AI specialists in about 75 per cent of large organisations by 2024. 

In the face of rapidly changing consumer preferences and technological innovations, Debashish Mishra, Partner and Chief Growth Officer at Deloitte South Asia, said, "No single organization can effectively tackle all challenges alone. In recognizing the role of India’s service sector in our economy, I see firsthand how issues such as labor intensity and skills mismatch impede productivity. Yet, when we come together in a vibrant environment, synergy ignites innovative ideas, enabling us to collectively address these challenges.” 

Top C-suite leaders also emphasise the significant impact of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) on business outcomes, noting a high failure rate of about 70 percent. This failure often stems from insufficient economic intuition, trust and transparency issues, and inherent risks. Traditionally, M&A efforts were mainly overseen by CEOs and CFOs, but fragmented involvement from other CXOs has frequently led to value breakdown. Recognizing this challenge, there is an increasing trend towards involving additional executives, such as CISOs, CTOs, CMOs, COOs, CHROs, and other business leads, in the strategy phase. 

As organisations navigate the complex global environment, trust becomes crucial for long-term success. Recognising this, 27 per cent of CXOs support the creation of Chief Trust Officer roles, underscoring the importance of trust in leadership. With businesses moving toward AI-driven operations, the significance of trust in AI systems is recognized as equally important as algorithm robustness. 

A recent Deloitte survey also underscores trust as a key AI integrator. However, while 94 per cent of boards recognize the importance of trust, only 14 per cent have established measurement methods, urging an immediate need for trust-building strategies. 

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