2024 key findings

In 2024, we interviewed more than 1,800 executives, of which over 80% were C-level. These strategic conversations provide a unique view into how trends affect client priorities and investment plans. Broadly, we see three key takeaways across industries:

1. Dual-focus agendas: Rebalancing the focus on cost savings to revenue growth
  • As clients shift to a renewed focus on revenue growth, they also cite the need to drive innovation, introduce new products and services, and improve the customer and citizen experience.
  • At the same time, modernization, optimization, cost control, and improving productivity rank among these top priorities.

Read how business consulting and managed services support this dual agenda.

2. Strategic alignment: Business and IT are now tightly aligned to support a shared agenda

Executives indicate the business-IT alignment gap has effectively closed.

  • 92% of business leaders cite medium-to-high* alignment between business and IT to support the strategy, compared to 94% of IT leaders
  • 90% of business leaders cite medium-to-high* integration between business and IT to executive the strategy, compared to 92% of IT leaders

Clients rating business and IT alignment and integration of medium-to-high, for a rating of 5 or more on a scale of 10

We believe the primary drivers for this closer alignment are a combination of business efficiency focus and the potential of digital technologies, including new top priorities for delivering value from data and AI.

Read our blog about strategic alignment.

3. Digital leaders: Advantages are widening vs. peers

Digital leaders* are widening the gap in achieving desired outcomes compared to those in earlier stages of their digitization. For example, digital leaders are more successful in expanding their data strategies, modernizing legacy systems, driving business model agility, use of managed services, and implementing advanced technologies, including AI.

Read more about the attributes of digital leaders.

*Digital leaders are those producing expected results from their digitization strategy.

consultants discussing business

Top trends and priorities

  • Top macro trend
    Technology & digital acceleration

  • Top industry trend
     Climate change & sustainability

  • Top business priority
    Drive revenue growth (new)

  • Top IT priority
    Manage, modernize & streamline the IT landscape

Top 5 macro trends

As in 2023, nearly three-fourths of executives cite digital acceleration as the most impactful macro trend for their organizations, with CEOs rating it the highest. For other macro trends, the percentage citing high impacts is fairly consistent year-over-year.

(% of clients rating macro trends 8+, with 10 as ‘very high degree of impact on the organization’)

  1. Technology & digital acceleration (73%)
  2. Changing social demographics (52%)
  3. Fight against climate change (50%)
  4. Reconfiguration of supply chains (33%)
  5. Shift in the world economic order (28%)

62% say the impact of reconfiguring business value chains had a medium-to-high impact on their organization.

Top 5 industry trends

The top industry trends this year are consistent with 2023, but climate change rises to the top, switching with cybersecurity. AI and related technologies enter the top 5 as a new trend.

(Ranked by impact. Year-over-year change denoted as new, up +, down -, no change =)

  1. Climate change and sustainability (+)
  2. Increased digitization of business processes, products and services (=)
  3. Cybersecurity / data and privacy protection (-)
  4. Pressure on costs and profitability (=)
  5. AI / advanced automation / data-driven approaches (new)
Top 5 business priorities

Driving revenue growth and optimization through digitization, AI and automation appear in the top 5 business priorities for the first time. 

(Ranked by importance. Year-over-year change denoted as new, up +, down -, no change =)

  1. Drive revenue growth (new)
  2. Drive innovation, new products & services (+)
  3. Improve customer/citizen experience and centricity (=)
  4. Control/optimize costs to increase profitability (=)
  5. Optimize business processes through digitization, AI and automation (new)

Top-cited barriers to achieving business priorities are budget constraints, talent shortages and culture change / change management. 

Top 5 IT priorities

Improving productivity, process and operations and delivering value and insight through AI and data are new to the top 5 IT priorities this year.

(Ranked by importance. Year-over-year change impact rating denoted as new, +, -, =)

  1. Manage, modernize and streamline the IT landscape (=)
  2. Empowering the digital enterprise with continued tech roll-out (+)
  3. Securing the enterprise across the value chain, and compliance (-)
  4. Improving productivity, process & operations (new)
  5. Delivering value and insight through AI, data (new)

74% of clients say they have IT hiring challenges, down slightly from 80% in 2023.



Accelerated digitization is needed to keep pace

The gap between having a digitization strategy in place and producing expected results continues.

  • 80%
    cite high impacts of digitization on their business model 

  • 93%
    have a defined digitization strategy 

  • 21%
    cite high business model agility to address digitization

  • 34%
    are producing expected results from digitization strategies


AI and data investments continue

AI tops innovation investment priorities over the next 3 years, as in 2023. Clients are increasing their focus on data because of AI. The top data strategy improvement areas in the next 3 years are data management & governance and data quality.

  • 80%
    are exploring GenAI

  • 26%
    have implemented or are implementing traditional AI 

  • +12pp
    digital leaders are ahead in data strategy depth and maturity 

Modernization and cloud to rise

The majority of executives (85%) say legacy systems are somewhat to very challenging to implementing their digital strategy. Over the next 2 years, CXOs and their direct reports plan to increase application modernization and cloud migration. 

  • +12pp
    plan to modernize >80% of application portfolio in 2 years vs. today

  • +6pp
    plan to migrate >80% of applications to the cloud in 2 years vs. today


Ecosystem importance grows

Clients increasingly are extending their strategies to their external ecosystems. As well, 62% say the impact of reconfiguring business value chains has a medium-to-high impact on their organization.

  • 34% (+3pp year-over-year)
    extend digitization strategy to ecosystem

  • 53% (+5pp year-over-year)
    extend data strategy to ecosystem

  • 34% (+3pp year-over-year)
    extend data privacy & protection strategy to ecosystem

Recommended actions to accelerate your digital outcomes

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Evolve business models to adapt continuously, modernize systems, and prepare data to harness AI’s potential.


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Use applied innovation to drive growth, deliver on customer and citizen expectations, and navigate business challenges.    

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Leverage the shared business and IT agenda to drive optimal collaboration and efficiency in driving ROI-led digitization.