The year 2022 was another challenging one. Although many acute pressures springing from COVID-19 in 2021 eased, such as rolling lockdowns, deeper problems emerged, many as a result of political, social and economic atrophy after three years of pandemic-related disruptions. As our team considered these challenges and what affected our clients most in 2022, we decided to focus our Strategic Intelligence Estimate for 2023 on the obstacles and opportunities that will impact Global Business Infrastructure in the coming year.
Global Business Infrastructure has faced a unique, multifaceted set of strains over the last several years, where strategic changes in the global environment, from climate to political upheaval, are forcing dramatic shifts for multinational business. These shifts demand a level of agility rarely practiced by large institutions. With the start of the Russia-Ukraine war in February 2022, global businesses were suddenly faced with Cold War-style choices, as old walls between the West and Russia were re-established and Western business became unpalatable in Russia almost instantaneously. Overnight, overtaxed vital commodity supply lines shifted, impacting everything from food to electricity supply. Meanwhile, climate change, and particularly water scarcity, wreaked havoc on the very same systems.
Strains on global economic systems will force changes to business, particularly as accumulated debt from the pandemic, coupled with high commodity prices, force more countries into International Monetary Fund debt restructuring programs. In some of these markets, rolling power outages and food shortages will present challenges as well as opportunities for innovation and the advancement of energy alternatives. But these same markets will continue to be the site of political proxy battles between the West and Russia/China, increasing conflict and political risk for companies with exposure or hopes of building new business in these markets.
These same trends, along with probable recessions in the Western world and continued social patterns of mental health distress and extremism, will deepen political divides and lead to more incidents of physical sabotage on infrastructure in and outside of business. We expect this to impact both the physical and cyber world, with ransomware, destructive cyberattacks and physical attacks on people and infrastructure likely to climb in 2023.
As with last year’s SIE, where we discussed the role business plays in global events – not just how it is impacted by the world, but how it influences the trajectory of global events – this year’s SIE will take us deeper into how this dynamic environment is likely to shift and be shifted by changes in global business infrastructure in the coming year.
Underscoring these topics is their interdependency in building a forward-looking, resilient and risk-aware organization. While it was once a “nice to have,” risk intelligence is now a critical component of a resilient organization. And as these topical discussions will demonstrate, broad awareness of factors that impact our organizational resilience goes far beyond traditional security, supply chain and human resources knowledge. Today’s risk and resilience experts must understand the deepest layers of our supply chains, a changing labor force, shifting systems of global and local governance, major technology and environmental challenges and regulatory regimes that are often competing with each other and struggling to keep up with evolving risks, technology and human behavior.
Through this volume of work, we hope to offer an at-a-glance view of what we see as some of the most important topics, developments, events and trends we anticipate over the next 12 months. We hope you find it thought-provoking as you consider your own team’s goals and priorities for the year. Meanwhile, we wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous 2023.
CEO and Founder
Chief Operating Officer