North Highland 2018 Beacon Report: Optimism Abounds Yet Industry Leaders Struggle with Preparedness for the Coming Year

December 15, 2017

December 15, 2017 (ATLANTA) – Today, global management consulting firm North Highland released its annual industry trends report — the North Highland Beacon 2018. The report examines important trends from across several industries, including energy, financial services, healthcare, retail and media, entertainment and telecom, that will impact all businesses this upcoming year. In compiling the report, North Highland consulted 600 leaders at companies with 2016 revenues of more than $1 billion.

“In today’s dynamic marketplace, businesses must have clear and thoughtful roadmaps for achieving business goals paired with flexible and fast-moving team structures that can continually assess and react quickly to industry, economic and global shifts,” said Dan Reardon, North Highland’s Chief Executive Officer. “In this report, we aim to give business leaders across industries the insight, foresight and analysis into rising trends to help them succeed in crowded and competitive marketplaces.” 

According to the 2018 findings, across the five areas deemed top strategic priorities, only between 31 and 39 percent of leaders feel very prepared to address their priorities for the year ahead.

Cyber security was the number one priority for business leaders when the five sectors were considered as a whole, yet only about one-third of respondents (34 percent) feel very prepared to address it in 2018. With the increased risks of cyber threats targeting large enterprises in 2018, businesses are focusing on how to increase their digital security platforms as a must-have versus a strategy.

In addition to cyber security, adapting to changing customer needs and digital capabilities are the No. 2 and No. 3 strategic priorities for the respondents, and have all increased in importance since 2017 across all industries. The survey demonstrated the ongoing organizational tension between understanding what must be done and knowing how to accomplish those goals. Employers must be adept at building business and workforce resiliency if they want to reduce these pressures and their impacts, especially during times of change. 

Customer experience (CX) and transformation round out the top five strategic priorities, signaling that business leaders are starting to acknowledge the need to move people and culture up the priority list for 2018. Although considered a definite competitive advantage, companies feel moderately prepared to address digitization in 2018, with approximately one-third of respondents stating they are “very prepared” to address it. 

The research also demonstrated that leaders across all industries surveyed reported “optimism, high energy and strong revenue potential for the near future.” However, most agree that they feel unprepared to navigate their top business priorities.

To view the full 2018 Beacon report, please visit:

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