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All your promotion, advertising, marketing and goodwill can be ruined by one rude employee.

John Tschohl, Service Quality Institute

BUSINESSES AROUND THE WORLD believe 2018 will be much riskier than this year, according to a new survey. The threat will come, they say, not from economic uncertainty and regulatory scrutiny, as in recent years, but from disruptive innovation and fast moving technological change. 

The survey covered 728 board members and executives globally. It was conduced by global consulting firm Protiviti and the Enterprise Risk Management Initiative in the North Carolina State University Poole College of Management.

Top Business Risks for 2018• Unless we significantly change our business model, rapid speed of disruptive innovations or new technologies may outpace our organization's ability to compete.• Resistance to change may restrict our organization from making necessary adjustments to the business model and core operations.• Our organization may not be sufficiently prepared to manage cyber threats.• Regulatory changes and regulatory scrutiny may heighten.• Ensuring privacy and identity management and information security protection may require significant resources for us.• Economic conditions in the markets we currently serve may significantly restrict growth opportunities.Threats to cybersecurity are also a top risk area for business leaders  in light of recent cyberattacks such as WannaCry, along with those affecting major organizations like Equifax.

"Disruption and digital transformation are taking place across all industries and threatening core business models," says Pat Scott, an executive vice president with Protiviti. "It's clear from our latest survey that there has been a major shift in the top concerns for organizations. Digitalization-related risks have supplanted overall economic conditions and regulatory scrutiny as risks for board members and executives." They worry that they will not be able to remain competitive, he adds.

"It's no longer a question of if digital will upend your business, but when," said Jim DeLoach, a Protiviti managing director. "Digital transformation needs to become entrenched as a core part of the organization to ensure that companies are able to embrace disruptive change in the current business environment.

Businesses fear disruptive change will make 2018 much riskier than this year


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