[Video] Investing In Emerging Tech: CEOs Vs Heads Of Projects

Posted by Deltek on May 23, 2019

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We recently interviewed 700 decision makers from Architecture, Engineering and Consultancy firms to gain more of an understanding about industry changes, trends, business opportunities and risks. As a result we identified exactly what’s keeping your peers up at night and what they are doing to keep their firms at the forefront of their industry.

At the recent Digital Leaders Forum we caught up with several industry experts to get their take on several of the core challenges raised in the report. One such challenge was the disconnect between CEOs and those on the ground. The report found that '16% of CEOs expect to invest in emerging technology compared with 51% of Heads Of Projects'. Watch the video below to hear what industry experts had to say about the large difference .

Q. Only 16% of CEOs expect to invest in emerging technology compared with 51% of Heads Of Projects. Why is there such a large difference?

A. Neil Davidson, VP Enterprise, Deltek

“I think the difference is natural. Heads of Delivery are very very close to the client, who are in turn very close to emerging technologies, and so I think it's understandable that there might be a difference between the CEO and the operational people on the ground. 

I think the key to resolving and bridging that gap is having a digital transformation strategy that truly responds to the demands of the clients and making sure that it's really aligned to what clients want to buy. And that can be one of the methods that actually brings together the CEO and the key operational people to unite around a digital transformation strategy that truly delivers a unique value proposition to clients.”


"Heads of Delivery are very very close to the client, who are in turn very close to emerging technologies"



A. Ben Grinnell, MD & Global Head Of Digital, North Highland

"I'm surprised at the stat because the reality is that the 16% of CEOs referred to, do need to invest in emerging technologies. I think we are at a watershed moment. Take yesterday as an example - we heard that General Electric have dropped out of the Dow Jones Index. They were the final original member of the DJI to drop out. Most of the firms that have dropped out have been replaced by digital companies, or companies whose products are becoming more digital. If you're not investing in this emerging technology space, and you're not keeping a finger in the pie of where your revenue is going to come from tomorrow - then you're not going to be around tomorrow.

We've all got to accept that as company leaders, tomorrow's revenue is not going to come from doing more of the same thing that you do today - or at least tomorrow's profit is not. You've got to be investing in areas where you can find new business models to disrupt before you are disrupted. If you're not experimenting with that - and most of those experiments are in tech and emerging technologies - then you're effectively eking out an existence until someone else disrupts you.”

A. Tom Deacon, Director, Global Head Of Digital, Turner & Townsend

“The difference is probably because CEOs need to consider risk and perhaps CEOs aren't as well informed as Heads of Delivery and Projects, or have a greater perception of the risk associated with investing in emerging technology. Whereas those people who are perhaps closer to the reality of the situation are more familiar with the potential of emerging technologies and are therefore more comfortable with the risk and more willing to make an investment.

That could be it. So maybe the answer there is to find ways that CEOs can be more aware of what's available and what's possible and the risks associated, or not, as the case may be.”


"maybe the answer is to find ways that CEOs can be more aware of what's available and what's possible and the risks associated."



A. Ross Williamson, Managing Partner, Wipro Consulting

“I think it's really interesting - that's a really telling stat. It likely shows that CEOs are interested in short term, certain revenue, that is already on the table. They are not saying "where are my sources of revenue 1, 2 or 3 years out." So my guess is, those firms who are looking at how to invest in emerging technologies, will have a more secure future than those firms who are focused much more on "ok how do I deliver the revenue book I've got right in front of me". I think many firms are like that and just looking to the next quarter. The firms that are looking further than that are the ones that are more likely to succeed I think.”

Are CEOs Out Of Touch With Their Firm’s Needs?

The report findings show that business leaders have been slow to react to the wave of technological change sweeping the industry. There is a clear divide between how those on the ground perceive the importance of emerging technologies and what senior leaders are planning to do.

Continue watching to hear Neil, Ben, Tom and Ross go into more detail on why they think the C-Suite are holding back:

📽️  [Video] What’s Holding The C-Suite Back When It Comes To Digital Advancement?

For the full results of our study with 700 decision makers in the Professional Services Industry, download a complimentary copy of the report below.


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