DO you recall the popular video rental shops and DVD stores? They were found all over the country during the early 2000s, especially in Manila. But due to the rise of the internet, video rental shops gradually lost relevance, with some closing for good in the mid-2010s. Some may see this as an inevitability — that technology simply changed to the point that these services were no longer needed — but imagine a world where the same nostalgic video rental stores pivoted into a pay-per-view or local streaming service, licensing rights to distribute local content to viewers.
To compare, Netflix was originally just a DVD by-mail company but eventually focused on streaming services with original shows and movies. They saw a way to develop their services based on the trends in technology and the internet. So they adapted and remain one of the most prominent streaming platforms worldwide. Technology is just one of many factors to which businesses must adapt. Realigning one's business strategy by considering such factors is the key to sustainable growth.
Adaptability is a consistent element in the findings of Mazars' C-suite Barometer study for 2023. The report discusses the various insights consolidated from more than 800 C-suite executives — their views, priorities, and where they invest.
How do macro-environmental factors impact your business? According to the study, economic trends and a higher cost of living are perceived to have the highest impact on businesses. This is followed by energy prices and shortages, new technologies, increased competition, regulatory requirements, ESG, and scarcity of talent, among others — emphasizing the importance of a holistic view of one's environment.
How open are you to change when it comes to tech, and are you prepared for cyber threats? About 32 percent of the respondents deemed technological transformation a top strategic priority over the next three to five years. The technologies believed to be the most important are artificial intelligence, automation, big data and Web3. Additionally, executives acknowledge that cyber threats remain a constant danger that needs to be managed but are confident in their capacity to protect their data.
How is sustainability part of the picture? Sustainability is the second-top strategic priority for executives. About 68 percent of the executives interviewed plan to ramp up their investment in sustainability. Additionally, 65 percent of businesses produce sustainability reports but are having difficulties with data quality and tracking. All these responses come prior to the implementation of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive in the European Union, requiring certain companies in and out of the EU to report on their environmental and social impact.
How are diversity and talent a part of your agenda? The latter portion of the highlights focuses on the importance of talent and diversity. When it comes to diversity, 33 percent of respondents regard equality and the advancement of women as the top three management priorities. This focus on diversity is further supported by 53 percent of respondents having a dedicated program on gender equality and sexism — a 12-point increase on last year. Executives also recognize the challenge of hiring new talent, with 28 percent stating that their company's growth is being hindered by the inability to attract a skilled workforce. While the report illustrates the perspective of executives, businesses are inherently unique. Adaptability starts with understanding your own business environment and assessing which areas will have the greatest impact. This should be accompanied by a strong attention to your business' values and vision, an acknowledgment of weaknesses and potential pitfalls, an understanding of your customers, a familiarity with competitors' and peers' activities, and a change of mindset.
Atty. Jacqueline Yu-Villar, CPA, is the managing partner of Mazars in the Philippines–Yu Villar Tadeja & Co. and the current Acpapp Committee chairman of the BOA Centenary Celebration and former Acpapp National Officer and Member of the Board of Directors and the Acpapp Foundation Board of Trustees.