Cybersecurity, Digitalization and Millennials in CEOsʼ Focus

Retail

Big Four consultancy KPMG’s experts analyzed the state of digitalization, economic growth, and the growing influence of Generation Y on the Hungarian market during a breakfast briefing based on its latest CEO research.

Robert Stöllinger

Robert Stöllinger, CEO of KPMG Hungary, drew attention to the divergent views about growth. While economists expect growth of 4%, CEOs consider conservative estimates of around 2% more realistic, according to KPMG’s 2018 Global CEO Outlook research.

Stöllinger noted that optimism among the respondents is growing, with 67% of CEOs confident about the three-year growth prospects of the global economy.

“They might be too optimistic; many were optimistic a year before the financial crisis,” he warned, pointing out that the research had been carried out before the escalation of Donald Trump’s trade wars.

On cybersecurity, Stöllinger said: “Some 49% think that the question asked about cyber-attacks should be ‘when’, not ‘if’.” Tamás Kórász, KPMG Hungary’s IT advisory partner added that 33%of the surveyed companies admitted to becoming victims of such attacks. Kórász believes that the real figures might even be somewhat higher, as not all businesses like to admit to being attacked.

Putting the situation’s importance into perspective, he called cybersecurity a “board-level problem”, noting with concern that some boards lack digital experts. Just as worrying, Kórász also mentioned that less CIOs believe that their companies have prepared for cyber-attacks than CEOs.  

On the subject of the General Data Protection Regulation, which came into force on May 25, he said 38% of EU companies were not prepared for the introduction, adding that Hungarian numbers were “maybe even a bit worse.”

IT Familiarity

Ágnes Rakó, KPMG’s partner for smart digital finance, emphasized the need for people to be familiar with IT, as well as their own field. She noted how “Learning IT outside of traditional roles can serve as the basis of the future.” Rakó also called for a strong interaction between IT and finance departments.

Regarding the Hungarian job market, she remarked: “Potential job-seekers are more attracted to opportunities that are not too manual and repetitive,” referring to possibilities that combine traditional and digital challenges.

While not as popular or developed as in the United Kingdom (where it represents 8% of the grocery-shopping sector), supermarkets’ online shopping systems in Hungary (0.2%) are essential as a learning process, paving the way to other online services, according to Zsolt Müller, director of KPMG’s retail and consumer markets practice.

In other fields, such as device-penetration or internet usage, Hungary is performing remarkably well, Müller says. Calling attention to another, perhaps surprisingly successful aspect, he said: “Contactless payments are more developed in Hungary than in Germany for example,” noting that the ratio of such payments is already around 60% of the Scandinavian average.  

“The future is here, just not evenly distributed,” he said of the uneven state of digitalization. Assessing how Millennials might shape the Hungarian economy, he said: “Generation Y will become the group with the most purchasing power in Hungary in about eight years.” However, predicting the consumer behavior of the newer generations might be a serious challenge, even to Millennials. “Y does not understand Z,” said Müller.

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