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Risks on the horizon

Technology, Media and Telecommunications Futures Report

July 15, 2021

Observations, insights and recommendations from key executives in the TMT and broader risk management space.

Companies must continuously innovate to stay ahead of the curve and manage risks effectively.”

Sara Benolken
Willis Towers Watson TMT Global Industry Practice Leader

The technology, media and telecom (TMT) industry has faced an extraordinary range of risk and uncertainty in recent years. Risks surfacing from tectonic shifts in technology have been compounded by rising geopolitical tensions, regulatory complexity and a never-ending talent shortage. And of course, inevitably, COVID-19.

In an effort to assist our clients’ understanding of the full business and risk landscape, Willis Towers Watson prepared this 2021 Technology, Media and Telecommunications Futures Report. The report grew out of a 2020 – 2021 research project collaboration with the Mack Institute’s Collaborative Innovation Program (CIP) at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

We set out to examine changes to the risk landscape that have surfaced over the past five years, as well as to identify emerging industry risks. In this report, we share ideas to help executives and their Board of Directors move beyond a “risk list” into a more holistic risk management approach to better address emerging risks and capitalize on opportunities.

This report includes observations, insights and recommendations from key executives in the TMT and broader risk management space. We identified five risk megatrends that form the overall framework.

5 megatrends

Business model & strategy pressures
Global talent & skills race
Digitalization & technological advances
Regulatory & legal risks
Operational complexity & vulnerability

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction

    Insights from TMT executives and tips on how to best view the report

  2. Overview & methodology

    This report grew out of a 2020 - 2021 research project undertaken by Willis Towers Watson with the Mack Institute’s Collaborative Innovation Program (CIP) at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

  3. Foreword

    A message from Sara Benolken, Willis Towers Watson Global TMT Industry Leader on digital transformation and dramatic changes to the risk environment

  4. Megatrends

    Business model & strategy pressures

    TMT business models and strategies have been forced in recent years to accomodate sudden shifts in the macro business environment.

  5. Global talent & skills race

    Talent shortages add to other exposures, notably from the efforts by TMT companies to make digitalization and technological advances to remain competitive.

  6. Digitalization & technological advances

    TMT executives sense that changes are intensifying with the growth of AI, 5G, IoT amongst other innovations.

  7. Regulatory & legal risks

    Without common global frameworks, keeping up with varying data protection and privacy laws is likely to remain a challenge.

  8. Operational complexity & vulnerability

    The pandemic's impact on business operations and buyer behavior has exposed new organizational shortcomings and aggravated old ones.

  9. Conclusions

    State of the TMT Insurance Market 2021

    With a shift in market conditions combined with rapid change in the risk environment, it is important to understand how insurance carriers have pivoted and find strategies to mitigate surprises.

  10. The future of insurance vulnerability - Climate Change 'Stress Test'

    TMT risk management has been put to a stress test in recent years with a combination of events, including digital transformation, rising trade tensions and the global pandemic. Results are mixed.

  11. Observations and recommended next steps

    A risk framework that includes data-driven risk modeling and an explicit view of risk tolerance can empower decision making for the short and long term.


Willis Towers Watson hopes you found the general information provided in this publication informative and helpful. The information contained herein is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with your own legal advisors. In the event you would like more information regarding your insurance coverage, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. In North America, Willis Towers Watson offers insurance products through licensed subsidiaries of Willis North America Inc., including Willis Towers Watson Northeast Inc. (in the United States) and Willis Canada, Inc.

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