Competition in the TMT industry isn’t what it used to be: Key insights from our CEO Survey

Author: Brad Silver, Global TMT Leader
Brad silver

As software and new technology become the lifeblood for all companies, CEOs are keenly aware of the challenge to sustain prominence in their own fields. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) sectors.

Fifty-four percent of TMT CEOs (compared to 27% of the global cross-sector average) in PwC’s 20th Annual Global CEO Survey say that technology has completely reshaped competition in their sector in the past 20 years. Nearly half (47%) say technology has completely reshaped competition in just the past five years (compared to 20% across sectors).

This evolution isn’t slowing down anytime soon and we can see the effects throughout the industry. For instance, Mobile World Congress—the mobile industry’s largest annual event—is no longer all about mobile devices, and companies will need to adapt. As Mike Butcher of TechCrunch pointed out, this year’s event had an increased emphasis on connectivity innovations and the services that will run our connected future.


Is there a sequel in the works?

The next five years could be pivotal, particularly across the TMT sectors, according to PwC’s CEO Survey. More than four in 10 TMT CEOs surveyed see technology once again completely reshaping competition in their sectors within the next five years. This is approximately double the cross-industry average of CEOs who shared this belief.  

So how are industry CEOs taking action now, amid such a radical and rapid transformation of the competitive landscape? This year’s CEO Survey pointed to three key areas that TMT CEOs are tackling now to ensure success:

Convergence and Collaboration: To stay ahead of customer demand and the pace of technological change, the TMT sectors continue to converge and collaborate in order to deliver seamless experiences. About half of CEOs from these sectors are prioritizing a new strategic alliance or joint venture in the next 12 months, and 36% (compared with 28% of the average) are planning to collaborate with entrepreneurs and startups.

Building a new workforce: CEOs from these sectors lead the pack with their plans to strengthen their innovation and digital capabilities, and more than half plan to strategically increase headcount in in the next 12 months. With 86% of these CEOs attributing pending headcount reduction to automation and technology, it is more important than ever to focus on talent with the right mix of problem solving, collaboration, leadership, and creativity/innovation skills.   

Creating a culture of innovation: To supplement this, 73% of TMT CEOs are implementing digital training in their learning programs (compared to 63% of the average). This effort reflects the crucial importance of establishing a culture of innovation, a shared digital language, and a tech-based skillset throughout a company that enables fast and successful transformation.

As TMT companies increase collaboration efforts, transform their workforce through technology, and nurture an innovative culture, there will be important risks and challenges to consider. The uncertainty of global economic growth, as well as cyberattacks on business information and systems, data privacy breaches, and IT outages and disruptions are top concerns for CEOs in our industry – and the majority are taking action now to prevent related crises.

While adapting to near-term transformation, CEOs from across the TMT industry must also keep in mind the long-term impact to their business—particularly because the next 20 years look like they could be just as dynamic as the past 20.

For an in-depth look at the data from PwC’s 20th CEO Survey, check out sector-specific insights for Technology, Entertainment and Media, and Communications.

Brad leads PwC’s Global Technology, InfoComm, and Entertainment & Media practice, a role in which he oversees PwC’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) clients across the PwC network. In this capacity, PwC provides services to over 90% of Fortune Global 500 TMT companies.




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