Eye EYE (c) 2016 Pixabay / cocoparisienne https://pixabay.com/en/eye-blue-eye-iris-pupil-face-1173863/ Several interesting pieces of research were published this week. They included a look at the state of professional services by Unit4. Coveo published its 2023 Customer Service Relevance report. Rockwell Automation published its 8th annual State of Manufacturing report: Automotive edition, drawing on data from a wider survey. Other research this week was published by BlackLine, FloQast, IFS, Outreach, Sage, and SAS.


BlackLine published the findings from a survey of 263 finance professionals working on intercompany processes in a report, The State of Intercompany 2023. 99% of respondents face challenges. These challenges resulted in an increase in statutory and tax audits and their associated fees by 49%. There is a lack of support from leadership, with 89% feeling that their C-suite leadership and corporate boards lack a solid understanding of intercompany details and associated business impacts.

The challenges also mean it is harder to hire. 96% of respondents regularly lose a full night’s sleep, and a third suffer from physical or mental health issues. The research only highlights a single challenge, a lack of visibility and control over transactions. 97% said they have to resolve multi-million dollar variances. The answer seems to lie with process automation (80%), and around 40% also feel that intelligent, automated intercompany analytics and reporting are important.

Mike Polaha, SVP of finance solutions and technology at BlackLine commented, “Given the complexity, volume and time-consuming nature of intercompany accounting, this is an area that can no longer be ignored. The cost of inadequate intercompany operations is so high that leaders don’t have the luxury of waiting.”


FloQast has published Compliance and Controls: The State of the Industry, created with the University of Georgia Consumer Analytics program. Based on 213 responses from the US and 157 from the UK, the report highlights the seeming lack of importance of the compliance and controls process. Only 26% of participants believe their existing compliance and controls processes add significant value to their organization despite each organisation spending $2.4 million annually on it.

93%  of compliance and control focus on adhering to regulations rather than adding organizational value. 56% believe the current processes add stress to work rather than remove it. One reason is that 37% do not have enough headcount to manage the process. To solve this, 70% of respondents believe automation would resolve the process.

The report highlights three ways organisations can transform compliance and control management programs. These would help evolve it from a necessary compliance requirement to a business benefit.

  • Improve the strategic focus behind all compliance and controls activities
  • Staff compliance and controls management to better reflect companies’ scale and needs
  • Implement workflow automation to streamline processes and glean richer data insights

Mike Whitmire, co-founder and CEO of FloQast, CPA, commented, Accurate and agile compliance and controls management programs are essential for protecting companies and avoiding costly inefficiencies, especially during turbulent economic times. Our survey revealed most compliance and controls programs aren’t providing value to teams, but also found clear and actionable steps that companies should take to improve these processes, and that the risk of not taking these steps is simply too great.”


IFS announced the results of an IDC InfoBrief, sponsored by IFS, Shaping the Future of Manufacturing. The report found that manufacturers are gambling on competitive advantage with slow digital investments and a lack of identifiable ROI. The key findings included:

  • Manufacturers with optimized digital transformation (DX) saw profits increase 40% vs less digitally mature organizations.
  • Only 26% of surveyed manufacturers are pursuing new revenue streams, while only 28% engage with new ecosystems.
  • The biggest ROI gains come from developing new business models (51%) that scale beyond “business as usual.”

Manufacturers are being distracted by key challenges which are currently:

  • Increasing labour costs (61%)
  • Growing costs for raw materials (42%)
  • Supply chain issues (42%)

IFS Argue that manufacturers must prioritise investments on two front, to increase resilience and generate value to gain a competitive advantage. Respondents highlighted that ROI is being delivered where manufacturers invest in developing new business models (51%) and engaging with new ecosystems (37%).

Maggie Slowik, Global Industry Director for Manufacturing at IFS, said: Manufacturers are under increasing pressure to differentiate in a landscape characterized by volatility while retaining the agility which is essential for building operational resilience. We know that digital maturity impacts profit. However, without transparency and measurable ROI it will become increasingly difficult for manufacturers to scale and deliver tangible benefits from their investments.

“The more digital initiatives deliver ROI, the easier it is for organizations to make a case for further digital investments – these must be enabled by scalable, cloud-based IT solutions to deliver long-term revenue and profit growth. We see that manufacturers who have broken through the pilot phases of their DX journey, and continue to push for digital maturity, are already reaping the benefits of ROI as a means to generate long-term value and remain competitive.

“In the future, successful organizations will implement an advanced approach to DX that considers the “impact-scale-trust” dimensions of digital initiatives, continuously using digital technology not only to optimize operations but also to achieve advantage and create value with digital technology.”


Outreach published the Outreach Spring ’23 Sales Confidence Index. The survey of 500 B2B sales leaders revealed a positive attitude with optimism. While hiring plans fell 9% to 65% compared to the winter index, 85% expect increased revenue. Respondents cited customer buying intentions (37%), overall sector performance (34%) and intro of new sales tech (29%).

Manny Medina, CEO and co-founder of Outreach, commented, We’re seeing a number of sales leaders remain optimistic about meeting their revenue goals for the quarter. However, many are also signaling a slowdown in hiring which means they must focus on increasing seller productivity from their existing teams. Harnessing the power of AI, the Outreach Sales Execution Platform unlocks seller productivity and empowers teams to create more pipeline and close more deals.”

While generative AI is being used by 63%, this is fairly level from previous results. It seems deployment has stalled for the moment. The study also looked at the business majors of respondents and found that while business majors were the most popular, 20% of Gen Z and Baby Boomers did not attend university, compared to only 2% of Millennials.

The Index also looked at popular social media with slight differences between the US and UK, with LinkedIn and Facebook popular, while Instagram was the second most used by Gen Z. 25% of Baby boomers still do not use social media.


Sage released the second part of its annual Grow Together report, which found that Canadian nonprofits express optimism about their financial outlook but struggle with rising costs and securing skilled talent to help drive strategic initiatives, including digital transformation. Key findings included:

  • Nonprofits are cautiously optimistic, seeing signs of a positive financial outlook, with 42% of nonprofits experiencing an increase in revenue over the past 12 months, followed by 34% where revenue remained flat YtoY. Whereas 18% experienced a decrease in revenue.
  • The largest increase in funding came from governments, with 28% of organizations experiencing an increase in the past 12 months, while the biggest decrease came from corporate (25%) and individual giving (23%).
  • More than half of respondents (53%) indicate that program costs have increased over the past 12 months.

Mark Hickman, Managing Director of Sage in Canada, commented, As Canadians are re-evaluating how they support charities, nonprofits need to examine how to make best use of the operational dollars available to meet the increased demand for services at an increasing cost. To maintain and grow their share of funding, they must advance brand awareness but also show operational efficiency.”

The report also highlighted the importance of efficiency and transparency in using technology to support activities. Nonprofits see technological advancement as a strategic necessity. However, 48% struggled with a lack of trained staff. They have taken a staggered approach to transformation.

  • 55% have completely digitized their financial processes
  • 37% their people management (37%)
  • 34% marketing activities
  • 27% donor and volunteer communications


The report,  A Silver Lining from Every Cloud from SAS, found that 99% of enterprise organisations in the UK & Ireland face various challenges from having data in multiple clouds. On average, respondents had three clouds, with 42% accessing two clouds. Multiple clouds bring multiple challenges:

  • Multiple answers to the same question depending on which cloud the data resides (64%)
  • High costs (64%)
  • A long time to insights (60%)
  • Poor accuracy (48%)

Organisations still use spreadsheets, and 70% use different analytics engines on each cloud. Paul Jones, Head of Technology at SAS UK & Ireland, says, “The headline challenge businesses are facing because of cloud proliferation is clear – they often can’t provide a single version of the truth, which calls into question how effective their insights are in the first place.

“Almost two-thirds of decision makers told us that operating multiple clouds means waiting long time for insights and answers from their data, while nearly half admit those insights are inaccurate. It’s a real worry that many businesses are not getting the impact they need from the significant investments they are making in their cloud infrastructure and are making business decisions based on inaccurate analytical insights.

“Only 30% of those who took part in our survey said that their cloud and analytics environment is set up to meet the type of problems they need to solve. It means for those organisations that have compliance and regulatory requirements, cloud proliferation and the challenges it brings could cause real dilemmas if their infrastructure isn’t redesigned to meet their business needs.

“A solution to these challenges is having a single analytics platform, such as SAS Viya, that can span multiple different cloud environments, including data held on premise, and produce high-speed analytical insights from that data in a way that minimises cloud costs and delivers a single version of the truth.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here