Oracle NetSuite has published a study entitled “Unlocking Growth” (registration required). The study looks at what fuels and what inhibits business growth across Europe. The survey was based on answers from 1,050 business executives from small to mid sized businesses across Europe. In the UK the sample size was 300 and it was more than 150 in each of France, Germany, UAE, Benelux and the Nordics. The survey was carried out by Raconteur between October and November 2019.
The report broadly looks at five areas.
- The business outlook across Europe.
- Factors that drive growth.
- What risks are businesses facing?
- Is data driving business?
- Business decisions and culture.
This is a comprehensive report with many insights that make it well worth a read.
Nicky Tozer, VP EMEA, Oracle NetSuite noted in the report: “Primary among our findings is that there is a wealth of optimism amongst businesses, and the opportunities for growth, if measured, are substantial. Many respondents expect to hit their growth targets, with those in retail, manufacturing and software industries leading the pack.”
Growth is coming but it is hard
The survey found that 56% of respondents will grow over the next two years, the most optimistic is the UK with 63%, and least France (48%). In the current year the numbers were actually far higher with 77% expecting revenue growth, UAE was the most confident with 85% expecting growth. However, the 10% of UK respondents expect growth of 10% or more, the highest.
The factors driving that growth vary depending on the size, maturity and industry of the business. The larger organisations ($10-$200 million) are looking to cross-sell and up-sell into existing customers. In the smallest ($5-$9.99 million) expansion of existing marketing campaigns as they look to bring on new customers scored highest. The authors may share more insights once further analysis is complete.
What will be interesting is to see how Oracle NetSuite uses the data from different industries to feed into its SuiteSuccess program. For example, identifying when companies look at M&A or funding and what maturity of financial systems do they need to accomplish those steps.
Challenges also vary with political uncertainty making planning difficult for many. Other issues include Government regulation. However the results vary by country. In the UAE (32%) and Nordics (19%), the regulatory environment is the biggest concern. For Germany political uncertainty (36%) and a lack of customer focus (29%) present the biggest challenges.
In the UK, political uncertainty was top with 27%. However, the survey was carried out before the December election and that fear may now have diminished. Perhaps the second highest, that Senior leadership fails to offer a cogent plan for success (25%) should be more concerning.
The world is becoming data driven, but are organisations able to leverage that data effectively? 43% of organisations said they had become more data driven in the last 12 months but only 59% say they are data aware. This means most decisions are still supported by gut.
The problem seems not to be the availability of data but too much of it. 94% executives are overwhelmed by data during the decision-making process. This leads to some of the interesting data points.
- For 19% the access to data increases pressure.
- In 27% it decreases pressure.
- For 17% data is accelerating decision making.
- and for 28% it slows it down.
Clearly there are improvements to make in organisations use and presentation of data. What would have been very useful to see the trend from previous years of these attitudes.
It is clear that decisions made by executives are not evidence based in the majority of cases. This has an impact on wellbeing. 78% of executives said they they experience more pressure when making a big decision at work than in their personal life. That pressure is due to fears of:
- negatively impacting revenue (40 percent),
- damaging personal reputation (22 percent),
- losing their job (17 percent),
- adversely impacting co-workers (13 percent)
Another factor the survey looked at was trust. The survey asked who would people trust most to help them make critical business decisions. Most (39%) trusted colleagues, but only 4% would trust AI to help make critical business decisions. Will that lower figure increase in future years, one would expect it to do.
Trust in decisions and within the organisation is critical for success. One aspect to achieve that is transparency. Craig Sullivan, Oracle NetSuite group vice president of product management notes: “Be transparent with your employees, with your customers, with the market in general about who you are as a business and what you stand for when you go about executing your business. This is at a macro level as well as a micro level; transparency is key.”
Enterprise Times; What does this mean
This was a comprehensive survey of which there is more information to come out. This initial report gives some insights into how Europe is faring and the general business outlook. The message is that there is still much work to do. The study highlights three main findings
- Every Organisations growth is different
- Avoid Information overload
- Building trust is crucial
Nicky Tozer, VP EMEA, Oracle NetSuite commented: “… organizations need to address the decision-making and planning challenges identified in this study so they can use data to adapt to change faster than their competition and unlock new growth opportunities.”
It is not enough just to have data at one’s fingertip. It needs to be presented in the right way that assists with decision making and reduces the use of gut feeling. This does not mean that automation of decision making is around the corner, far from it. However, where data driven decisions are made using evidence they are more likely to succeed and cause less stress in employees.
The report is well put together with supporting quotes from both survey respondents and Oracle NetSuite people. The findings from the study help to inform businesses about the challenges they face. It will also help Oracle NetSuite in where they focus in the coming months. Oracle NetSuite appeals to fast growth companies and understanding which markets and industries are growing fastest will provide them with useful insights. The findings should also feed into the SuiteSuccess program that helps companies on their growth journeys. This is an interesting study in its own right but cleverly NetSuite should leveraged it for its own benefit as well as a for content marketing.