Tuesday, 5 March 2013

European Business Leaders More Concerned about Losing Competitive Edge Compared to their Peers

European business leaders are more worried about

keeping up with the pace of change, than those in Asia and North

America. 45 per cent of Europeans said they were worried about not

being able to keep up with technology and losing competitive edge,

compared with 35 per cent in Asia and 37 per cent in North America.

The insights are from a new study called Humans and Machines, conducted

by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Ricoh. The research

investigates the impacts of technology upon human creativity and


432 senior executives were interviewed across Europe, North America and

Asia-Pacific, exploring their views on the interplay between technology

and human imagination in their organisations.

When questioned about the impacts of technology-led change, global

business leaders are positive about its impacts on creativity and

innovation, and concerned about keeping up with the pace of change.

Their challenges are focused on system and process issues rather than

stifled intuition or a possible takeover by computers or robots.

Business leaders do believe they are more creative today than they were

ten years ago, although once again the optimism is lower in Europe (52

per cent) compared to Asia (64 per cent) and North America (63 per

cent). Europeans are also less positive about whether technology helps

them make good decisions, with 40 per cent believing it to be the case,

compared to Asia (59 per cent) and North America (52 per cent).

However, there are some areas where Europeans are more confident. 65

per cent believe that technology has helped drive open debate and

discussion within their organisations, compared to 57 per cent in Asia.

Europeans are also more confident about the role of technology in terms

of improving productivity. 72 per cent said that they believed this was

the case, compared to 59 per cent in North America and 68 per cent in


When asked to rank their top technology challenges, business leaders

placed 'systems not connected to each other' in the top spot, followed

closely by the fact that 'technology is evolving more quickly than the

internal processes that support it'. European business leaders are most

impacted by disconnected systems (46 per cent) compared to 39 per cent

in Asia and 34 per cent in North America.

Carsten Bruhn, Executive Vice President, Ricoh Europe, says: "European

businesses leaders face a challenging time - in addition to technology

led change they must manage complex regulations and grow their

businesses in a competitive and mature landscape. In addition, they are

focused upon recovering from the global economic crisis, where the

viability of the euro is being questioned. While this may attribute to

their increased concern about remaining competitive, what is important

is to determine what can be done to help drive growth and business

agility into the future.

"It is clear that the impacts of technology are varied, a one-size

approach to transformation is not possible. What is certain is - change

is unavoidable. The ways of working that we have taken for granted are

unlikely to survive much longer. However a workplace where decisions are

made entirely by computers or robots isn't forecast by global readers

just yet. The future shows great potential for humans to benefit from

more creative and informed decision making, supported by technology,

effective business processes and new ways to share and access

information. If European business leaders master a truly connected and

efficient workplace, just imagine what can be achieved on top of what

has already been experienced today."

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