Every company is a tech company, the maxim goes. Even businesses that don't trade in code rely on it to attract customers, distribute products, and keep internal operations humming. At the same time, the attendant cybersecurity failures and other tech headaches can be the bane of a CEO's existence. In November, Inc. surveyed CEOs and other senior executives from more than 150 Inc. 5000 companies to learn their views and concerns about a range of tech challenges they deal with every day--and what they expect in the future.
Look around long enough, and you might be able to find that rarest of creatures: a person who's not constantly on the phone. She wouldn't be a CEO. No matter where they are or what time of day it is, the vast majority of those in our survey could no more easily part with their devices than the hands they hold them with.
Tech titan tango
"Frenemies" may be the best way to describe CEOs' relationship with Amazon and Facebook. Many love the tech giants for marketing and selling their products, but have serious misgivings about their effects on business and culture. Half the survey respondents, for example, say their opinion of Facebook has fallen because of its spread of misinformation and fake news.
Cybersecurity failures can have big financial consequences: The average small-business data breach in 2018 cost $29,000, according to business insurer Hiscox. And while no one really believes that they'll fall victim, many of the CEOs in Inc.'s survey are spending time and money to make sure of it.
Data privacy: A growing worry
The CEOs in Inc.'s survey are reasonably confident that their sensitive company information is secure. At the same time, they appear resigned to the notion that their personal data is being collected and traded like baseball cards.