Digital investments paying off

CARIBBEAN BUSINESSES are reaping the benefits of digital investments, but others risk falling behind at a time that cyber vulnerabilities are increasing.

These are some of the main findings of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) Caribbean Digital Readiness Survey 2024.

PwC says the seven key takeaways from the study are that businesses are thriving in an age of continuous reinvention, chief executive officers (CEOs) are taking ownership of transformation; artificial intelligence (AI) is accelerating the pace of change; digital IQ is rising, but this is not translating into innovation; while some Caribbean businesses are thriving, others risk falling behind; cyber vulnerabilities are increasing; and legacy systems are the biggest barrier to progress.

The research found overall that 47 per cent per cent of Caribbean businesses are seeing a return on their digital investment.


“Nearly half of Caribbean businesses surveyed (47 per cent) see a return on their digital investments in delivering value or transformative effects, including creating better customer experiences (65 per cent); improving decision-making (54 per cent); and enhancing brand (47 per cent),” the report stated.

“In comparison, a recent PwC US survey finds business leaders’ top challenges to their companies’ ability to transform largely centre around tech, including achieving measurable value from new tech (88 per cent).”

Some 68 per cent of respondents to the survey also agreed that the CEO was the champion for digital transformation, which PwC said was “the growing strategic importance and urgency of operational modernisation and business model reinvention”.

On AI, 45 per cent of respondents in the Caribbean see this as “the most critical technology to their company’s strategy today. That grows to 52 per cent in three years as the transformational impact of AI gathers pace”.

However, PwC also found that while some Caribbean businesses are thriving, others risk falling behind, with 37 per cent of businesses facing “survival-level threat from digital disruption”.

“More than a third of respondents believe their organisation faces a survival-level

threat from digital disruption. Only a quarter see their organisations as digital leaders, while less than half think their company’s digital transformation is on track and proceeding quickly enough,” the report outlined.

The report also shared that 55 per cent of businesses believed their cybersecurity needs improvement.

“Digital transformation and data proliferation are ramping up the cyber risks and need for effective protection. But over half of respondents acknowledge their ability to safeguard sensitive data and defend against emerging threats needs improvement,” it added.

Sense of urgency

Zia Paton, digital services leader, PwC Caribbean, said: “Our latest Caribbean Digital Readiness Survey highlights the growing sense of urgency within boards and business teams as they strive to keep pace with advances in technology and shifting customer expectations.

“Artificial intelligence is sharpening the focus – creating a catalyst for innovation and business model reinvention on the one side, and a high degree of uncertainty and concern on the other. Digitalisation remains a strategic priority for businesses as they need to address consumer expectations and build market position.”

Her assessment was that “well-targeted investments in systems and skills are clearly critical. But they’re not enough on their own to accelerate transformation and move out in front”. (SC)

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