Separating market reality from hype in 2019
Separating market reality from hype in 2019

Separating market reality from hype in 2019

Explores the “hype” vs. reality of various market topics and trends.

KPMG released via a webcast  the results of its 4Q18 Global Insights Pulse survey. The fourth-quarter Pulse survey annually focuses on top trends and predictions for the coming one to two years. A prior blog examined the top expected positive and negative trends for 2019.

Another topic explored in the Pulse survey was the “hype” (e.g., rumors about what's happening, optimistic best-case future scenarios, sell-side propaganda, uninformed optimism) vs. reality (e.g., what is really happening in the market, what organizations are doing today, buy-side real-world proof points, informed and/or prudence optimism) of various market topics and trends. Figure 1 illustrates the most and least hyped topics today and Figure 2 illustrates expected gains in moving from hype to reality over the next three years. Respondents were asked to rank each topic on a one-to-five scale, ranging from significant hype today/more talk than action to it’s for real today, more action than talk.

Market reality vs hype: Today

Figure 1 - from Pulse webcast
Source: 4th Quarter 2018 KPMG Global Pulse Survey, January 2019.

From hype to reality: Anticipated 3-year gains

Figure 2 - from Pulse webcast
Source: 4th Quarter 2018 KPMG Global Pulse Survey, January 2019.


The top four most “real” trends cited today are as follows:

  • Consistent and widespread deployment of data and analytics (D&A) to deliver meaningful business value: this illustrates the maturity of D&A efforts in many organizations, though the future potential for D&A is still huge.
  • Plans/resources to exploit e-commerce activities/respond to e-commerce competitive threats: “e-commerce,” as classically defined, is over 20 years old. Its impact, for example, in the retail space as illustrated in recent holiday sales, continues to grow in importance with much opportunity still untapped.
  • Solid cybersecurity strategies and operational plans and adequate resources to support: the high reality ranking for cyber is interesting given the recurring high-profile security breaches in the market, growing cyberespionage, and related threats and breaches.
  • Deployed and functional Intelligent Automation initiatives in Robotics Process Automation (RPA): there is no more hyped and in many cases overhyped topic in the market today than intelligent automation, especially artificial intelligence (AI). AI is viewed as, depending on your position, either the ultimate multipurpose panacea, a job-killer, bringing about a doomed dystopian society, or the source of all future good or maybe evil. Closer to home, however, RPA efforts are moving forward, albeit more slowly than expected, and already are bringing organizations tangible efficiency as well as effectiveness gains.

The four most hyped topics today are the following:

  • Deployed and functional blockchain initiatives, both in financial services and beyond: while blockchain is alive and well in the form of cryptocurrency, it is still often in its infancy in terms of its potential in other applications, though while it might not be living up to the hype promoted by some, there are numerous practical and deployed use cases in the market. This is highlighted in Figure 2, which illustrates blockchain making the most progress in becoming more “real” in the next three years.
  • Artificial intelligence as a service: AI as a service would help many organizations accelerate their AI deployment efforts, especially in overcoming growing AI talent and skills shortages that hamper many efforts and enabling organizations to tap into third-party expertise.
  • Adequate contingency plans in the event of major disruptive events: this is very worrisome given the myriad and growing number of potential “disruptive events” in the market.

The relationship between hype and reality is interesting and interconnected. In some cases, the more something is hyped in the market, the more it indicates organizations are focusing on the topic to make it more real. This is illustrated with cybersecurity. Separating hype from reality is difficult and hard work—and an effort that organizations must directly address in a thorough and organized manner, not in a disconnected and ad-hoc fashion—but it is a skill organizations must master and one that will remain an ongoing moving target.

Visit KPMG’s Advice Worth Keeping podcast site and series to hear more on top trends and predictions for 2019 and beyond from various KPMG executives and subject matter professionals.

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