EY CEO Pulse Survey: AI investments rise amid data security vigilance

Amidst global economic uncertainties and geopolitical tensions, Indian CEOs are increasingly focusing on technology transformation, particularly leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to spur productivity and drive business growth, according to the latest insights from the EY CEO Outlook Pulse Survey focused on India.

The survey reveals an overwhelming optimism among CEOs, with 80% confident about their companies’ revenue prospects and 88% expressing confidence in profitability. This positive sentiment is reflected in their strategic outlook on mergers and acquisitions (M&A), as an impressive 96% of respondents are actively considering transactions, primarily through initial public offerings (IPOs).

Key strategic drivers for pursuing acquisitions include acquiring technology, new production capabilities, or innovative startups (44%), expanding market share (36%), responding to evolving customer behaviour (32%), and securing supply chains (32%).

The survey underscores Indian CEOs’ strong commitment to technology investments, including AI, with 70% planning significant investments to drive growth and enhance productivity over the next year, well above the global average of 47%. Concurrently, CEOs are prioritising data management and cybersecurity (56%) and cost optimisation (50%) as critical imperatives.

However, despite 60% of CEOs acknowledging the increasing importance of sustainability, there is a noticeable deprioritisation among 16% of CEOs due to financial constraints and shifting boardroom priorities. This trend is more pronounced globally, with 26% of CEOs deprioritising sustainability efforts.

The survey also reveals challenges in articulating compelling financial cases for sustainability investments, with 42% of CEOs citing difficulties. To address this, corporate India advocates for technology incentives, subsidies, tax breaks for green technology investments, and governmental support for sustainable infrastructure projects.


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