Accenture’s Pulse of Change: 2024 Index identifies and ranks six factors of change affecting businesses—Technology, Talent, Economic, Geopolitical, Climate and Consumer & Social—using a range of key business indicators, such as labor productivity and IT spending. It then compares this data to a survey of more than 3,400 C-suite leaders on how these factors are impacting their organizations. A comparison reveals insight into which affect companies the most and their preparedness to respond in 2024.
In 2023, business leaders faced an all-time-high rate of change. A majority see opportunity – and expect change to accelerate further in 2024
The Index indicator analysis found that overall, across all six factors, the rate of change has risen steadily since 2019—183% over the past four years and 33% in the past year alone.
The C-suite survey reveals that a striking 88% anticipate an even faster rate of change in 2024.
60% see change as an opportunity, and 68% expect revenue growth to accelerate in 2024.
The No. 1 cause of business change in 2023? Technology, catapulted by generative AI
According to the indicator analysis, technology disruption increased the most in 2023 (88%), rising to No. 1 from No. 6 in 2022, catapulted by advances in generative AI.
C-suite executives surveyed say that technology is the No. 1 cause of change, as well. 61% expect the pace of technology disruption to accelerate even further in 2024.
However, nearly half (47%) say they are not fully prepared for the accelerating rate of technological change. Further, only 27% claim their organizations are ready to scale up generative AI. 44% say it will take more than six months to do so and take advantage of the potential benefits.
While 76% saw generative AI as more of an opportunity than a threat, and more beneficial to revenue growth than costs reduction, nearly an equal amount (72%) are investing with caution due to concerns about its responsible use.
Technology aside, C-suite leaders globally rank the remaining five factors differently
Talent—including issues such as skills shortages and lack of employee engagement—lands just behind Technology as a top cause of business change, according to the indicator analysis. Not so for C-suite leaders, which rank Talent No. 4 behind Geopolitical and Consumer & Social issues.
This difference in how C-suite leaders perceive the impact of talent issues, underscores the importance for businesses of making their talent strategy a priority – especially as they work to tap the potential of new technologies.
Additionally, C-suite executives rank Geopolitics and Consumer & Social higher than they did Climate and Economic factors as drivers of change affecting their businesses.
Only half of C-suite leaders are confident their companies are prepared heading into 2024
52% say they are not fully prepared to respond the changes they will face in the 2024 business environment.
A majority believe the combination of Technology and Talent change will be the most disruptive to their organizations in 2024.
42% say the skills shortage is one of the top three challenges that would hold back their organizations’ ability to respond to change.
89% plan to reallocate budgets in 2024 considering the accelerating change disrupting business.
Increasing investments in new technologies is the No. 1 action organizations are taking to manage through change. Nearly 43% plan to do so to improve efficiency to manage through changes in the business environment.
Accenture’s Pulse of Change Index compares findings from two major inputs:
An analysis of change affecting businesses globally, caused by six major factors
Technology, which is based on indicators such as IT spending and VC funding on emerging technologies, reflects the pace and scale at which technologies, such as generative artificial intelligence, are adopted and implemented;
Talent, which includes indicators measuring the risk of labor shortages, level of employee engagement, wage costs and labor productivity, reflects the overall talent environment from a quantitative and qualitative perspective;
Economic, which includes macroeconomic, financial and business indicators, reflects the overall economic disruption, financial volatility and business outlook;
Geopolitical, which includes indicators measuring geopolitical risk, number of economic sanctions and number of cyberattacks, reflects changes in war and conflicts, trade tensions and cybersecurity;
Climate, which is based on indicators such as climate-related disasters and direct economic loss attributed to natural disasters, looks at the risks related to environmental issues, as well as the financial cost implications of climate-related regulations for businesses;
Consumer & Social, which includes indicators assessing social unrest and household savings, reflects the overall social climate as well as consumers’ confidence in the future.
To evaluate both the rate and nature of change, the Index computes, through AI led data modeling, 40 proprietary and public data series covering 2019 to November 2023 from leading institutions such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG). It quantifies the change businesses are facing and determines the rankings of the top six causes of change by comparing their respective increases from 2022 to 2023. This approach identifies the specific change factors that had the most substantial impact on the overall rate of change in 2023.
A global survey of more than 3,400 C-suite executives, conducted from October 2023 to November 2023, across 20 countries, 19 industries and a full range of corporate functions, to compare their perceptions of change with the analysis of business disruption.
Pulse of Change: October 2023
The Accenture Pulse of Change is a quarterly C-suite survey probing into how business, talent and technology trends are shaping and driving change. This latest edition is focused on how generative AI will impact business and future work trends.
One thing is clear. C-suite executives believe in the power of generative AI. Nearly all expect generative AI to be transformative for their company and their industry and the vast majority believe that integration of generative AI will allow them to increase their market share.
With the rise of generative AI and other emerging technologies, embracing change is essential for organizations to adapt to the now and prepare for the future.
What’s changed: technology, talent and business
Globally, 94% of C-suite executives surveyed anticipate increasing technology spending in 2024, with 74% planning to increase level of spending with a specific focus on data/AI.
Nearly all say generative AI will be transformative but only a third have started investing “significantly.”
Six in 10 (63%) say at least half their workers have received AI training but very few (5%) have reached the full workforce.
Getting the data strategy right is the top challenges faced when adopting generative AI.
Change coming: C-suite leaders weigh in
Globally, the C-suite’s top concern going into 2024 is adapting to advancements in technology and innovation such as AI and automation. This is ahead of concerns around cyberattacks and data breaches (55% vs. 48%).
As a result, organizations are planning to increase levels of technology spending primarily in data and AI. Over half (51%) are also adopting AI tools and technology to improve cybersecurity.
Nearly 9 in 10 of C-suite report using generative AI tools in their professional activities at least once per week. 1 in 4 cite daily usage.
Although generative AI training is well underway, executives sense that workers are hesitant to embrace the technology for a variety of reasons including the time it takes to learn new tools (44%).
About Accenture Pulse of Change
The Pulse of Change probes C-suite executives on the issues and technology that are driving change, how leaders are responding and their perspectives on the future. For the latest edition, Accenture Research conducted a survey of 2,425 C-suite executives across 13 countries and a variety of industries and functions. The survey was fielded in October 2023. The global sample has a margin of error of +/- 2.1%.