Boards and CEOs will have their hands full managing potential risks in the coming year. Some of those risks, like cybersecurity, are perennial issues that will increase in intensity and urgency. Others, like the fallout from a rapidly changing political landscape, are of more recent vintage. But all of them, say the directors we talk with, will require acute attention. Five of the most critical include the following:
Digital Disruption. In almost every industry, digital technologies will continue to upset business models, alter the terms of competition, compress strategy cycles, and set in motion unforeseeable developments. Consider, for example, the explosion of interconnected computing power now transforming industry. Through the cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT) connects billions of devices and machines that share information with other systems to make each device smarter and more capable. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly changing the nature of work humans do — consider driverless vehicles or the fact that most legal discovery work today is done by computer algorithms.