How C-Suite Leaders Are Stress-Testing Potential Disruptions

This article was published on in February 2021.

After a challenging year filled with unexpected circumstances, business leaders are exploring how to make their systems and processes more resilient. For organizations to succeed, executives are realizing they must build resilience into their DNA. 

To understand how executives intend to handle future disruptions, Forbes Insights conducted a survey of 1,001 U.S. mid-market business leaders in late 2020 on behalf of Capital One.

Among the insights, the survey revealed that the majority of business leaders (89%) are executing more robust scenario planning. 

Planning For Future Change And Disruption

In many cases, leaders are building out their data capabilities and investing in tools to help detect change and disruption. They identified the actions they’re taking immediately, as well as the actions they plan to take in the coming year.

For most leaders surveyed (87%), devising strategies and building tools that will help them engage more closely with their customers is a top priority. Additionally, respondents (76%) acknowledged that accessing a wider range of data and building state-of-the-art data strategies would both play important roles in planning against future disruptions.

In a follow-up question, executives were asked to identify the scenarios for which they are running robust planning and analysis.

The Tech Factor

When Covid-19 arrived in the first quarter of 2020, many IT executives accelerated their digital transformation efforts. Projects like improving remote-access software, for example, suddenly became critical to keeping their organizations afloat.

But speed of access needs to be balanced with security, which may account for two top concerns among the majority of C-suite executives running scenario planning today. The first is serious cyber incidents, including security breaches and IT outages (67%). The second is other unknown risks associated with technological transformation (59%).

To improve their organizations’ resilience against such risks, half of surveyed executives said they will embrace more cloud-based technologies. More than half (51%) said they intend to enhance their cybersecurity efforts overall.

Additionally, half of the executives surveyed also indicated they’re shifting away from owned resources and toward service-based solutions like software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and so forth.

A Focus On Health And Regulation

The risk posed by pandemics was a primary concern for most (63%) business leaders executing more robust scenario planning now.

Beyond pandemic planning, executives are seeking to understand the potential impacts of operating in a more regulated landscape and how they can quickly adapt. Most of the surveyed executives (65%) said they are building scenarios around potential new regulatory changes today. 

The survey highlighted that decision makers in healthcare and the life sciences (83%), manufacturing (82%) and tech (75%) are more heavily focused on the impacts of regulatory changes than their peers in other sectors.

Leaders are always looking ahead for future disruption and future risks. Whether it’s a health crisis, unforeseen regulatory action or IT risk, the time to prepare is now.  



The information contained herein is shared for educational purposes only and it does not provide a comprehensive list of all financial operations considerations or best practices. This information does not represent any commitment, financial obligation, advice, opinion, guidance or recommendation, whether formal or informal, of Capital One, National Association, or any of its officers, directors, employees, advisors, attorneys, consultants, affiliates or subsidiaries (collectively, “Capital One”). Nothing contained herein shall give rise to, or be construed to give rise to, any obligations or liability whatsoever on the part of Capital One. 

Capital One does not provide, endorse, or guarantee any third-party product, service, information or recommendation listed above. The third parties listed are solely responsible for their products and services, and all trademarks listed are the property of their respective owners.

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