Several interesting pieces of research were published this week. They included JumpCloud publishing the results of a survey that looked at the top concerns of IT admins within SME organisations. Also, Nosto Research estimates brands will lose $13.8bn holiday spend due to poor search experience.
Other research came from Adobe, Cornerstone, Deloitte, iCIMS, IFS, Jobber, and Kantata. Nexthink, Salesforce, Salesloft, SAS, SD Worx, Unit4, Workday, Xero and Zellis.
Adobe published its digital price index. It noted that online prices have fallen to a 40-month low, down 3.2% in August. Online prices fell for over half of Adobe’s tracked categories (11 of 18) annually. On a month-over-month (MoM) basis, online prices rose 0.4% in August, following the Prime Day event in July. Which is now an industrywide e-commerce moment with heavy discounting across different retailers.
Notable categories for August 2023 include:
Groceries: Prices rose 5% YoY (down 0.2% MoM) but have slowed every month for the past 11 months. Reaching a peak in September 2022 when prices increased by 14.3% YoY. Consumers are increasingly buying more groceries online. Tis category has generally moved in lock step with the Consumer Price Index.
Pet Products: Prices were up 5.5% YoY (up 0.1% MoM). Similarly reflecting slowing price increases since August 2022, when price growth peaked at 12.7% YoY. This category has seen persistent inflation on a long-term basis. However, with YoY price increases observed every month since May 2020.
Appliances: Prices were down 7.3% YoY (up 1.3% MoM) after hitting a record low in June 2023, where prices fell 8.3% YoY. Appliance prices online have now fallen YoY for 11 consecutive months. Contrasting with 29 consecutive months of increases that started in May 2020, peaking at 7.1% YoY in December 2020.
Electronics: Prices have fallen sharply in recent months. Dropping 11.6% YoY (down 0.8% MoM), 11.7% YoY in July 2023 and 12.9% YoY in June 2023. As a major discretionary category, electronics price movements significantly impact overall inflation online.
Cornerstone released its 2023 Talent Health Index. The report provides a comprehensive view of the state of talent programmes across organisations worldwide. The key findings from the report include:
- 41% of employees don’t believe they have what they need to develop their skills
- 65% of employees are seeking additional learning content
- 62% of employees are eager to find more coaching and mentoring
- 59% of employees are on the lookout for more career guidance
While many employees want more development opportunities from their employers, the employers are falling short. Only 37% of organisations say they leverage learner-centric tools to streamline talent processes and info. With more than 60% of organisations stated they are not yet leveraging AI technology to optimise their talent.
For employees working in high-performing organisations, there is greater confidence with:
- 96% of employees at HPOs see their organisation tangibly demonstrate how they help them develop
- 92% express confidence in their talent development initiatives
- 96% believe their employer cares about them and their growth
Himanshu Palsule, CEO of Cornerstone, commented, “In an environment of constant change, workforce innovations, and new cycles of talent development, improving the maturity of your talent programmes is critical.
“The secret to adapting to all these new workplace changes and thriving in the future lies in an organisation’s willingness to modernise their talent strategies and invest in their people. Through our Global Talent Health Index, we aim to help customers identify areas of significant opportunity, create a roadmap for success, and build talent programmes and employee experiences that drive real business impact.”
Deloitte published four pieces of research last week.
Casey Quirk, a Deloitte business, found alternatives asset managers had strong median revenue and profit growth from Q2 2022 to Q2 2023. While their traditional asset management counterparts saw negative numbers over the same time period. Alternatives asset managers had 14% median revenue growth and 17% median profit growth year-over-year from Q2 2022 to Q2 2023. Meanwhile, traditional firms were in the red: They shrank 3% for median revenue growth and 21% for median profit growth over the same period.
The Deloitte retail and consumer products practice, projects that holiday sales will total $1.54 to $1.56 trillion from November to January. In 2022, holiday sales grew by 7.6% in the same period.
Deloitte also forecasts e-commerce sales will grow between 10.3% to 12.8% YoY, during the 2023-2024 holiday season. This will likely result in e-commerce holiday sales reaching between $278 billion and $284 billion this season.
Deloitte also published results from its CFO Signals Survey 3Q 2023. 57% of CFOs rate the current North American economy favourably, up from 34% in 2Q23 and marking the highest reading since 1Q22. Net optimism for CFOs’ own companies’ financial prospects also climbed to +22 from +6 last quarter.
42% of CFOs said their organizations are experimenting with generative artificial intelligence (GenAI). Though they acknowledge talent resources and capabilities are the greatest barrier to adopting and deploying GenAI.
Deloitte and the Manufacturing Leadership Council (MLC) published “Exploring the Industrial Metaverse.” The report examines the opportunity for manufacturers to leverage next-gen technology. By entering the industrial metaverse and its immersive three-dimensional virtual environments to spearhead ongoing transformation and improve operational efficiencies.
It found the industrial metaverse could transform manufacturing:
- Nearly 4 in 10 organizations surveyed are planning substantial growth using metaverse technologies
- Executives expect the metaverse to transform research and development, design and innovation, and enable new product strategies
- In the near term, the industrial metaverse appears poised to offer new ways to solve challenges. Such as attracting and retaining top talent and building supply chain visibility and resilience
The iCIMS 2023 Talent Experience Report spotlights what candidates really want from an employer. And how the hiring process can impact their outlook on a brand. 56% of workers are less likely to be a consumer of a brand if they had a bad experience applying or interviewing for a job.
Laura Coccaro, Chief People Officer at iCIMS, commented, “Providing a great experience for your internal and external job candidates is no longer a ‘nice to have’ — today it affects the bottom line and is critical for businesses to get right. The data in this report can help talent acquisition leaders identify their strategic focus areas and continue to build a business case for making investments there.”
Key findings included:
- 80% of job seekers said that getting status updates during the application process would improve their experience and their perception of an employer
- 40% of respondents described their last job search as frustrating and long
- 72% expect the job application process – from applying to receiving an offer – to take 3 weeks or less
- 47% say that texting is their preferred form of communication
- 56% ranked getting a phone call at the bottom of their communication preferences
- 40% of people are open to the use of AI in the workplace, and about 20% of people are more open to using it than they were six months ago
IFS published some results from a recent survey of 2,000 senior decision-makers – VP and above – in France, Germany, Japan, Nordics, UK, USA and the UAE. 43% of respondents stated that the momentum behind shifting their business model to a servitized one remained a clear priority for executives. It noted that for the laggards, the delay is a need to clearly define the impact on their workforce, processes, and technology landscape.
AI has become the essential technology for accelerating the servitization shift and value realization by improving operational efficiency (28%), capturing new customer segments or targeting new markets (28%), increasing customer satisfaction (27%), improving customer retention (26%), and securing higher profit margins (25%).
Alex Rumble, SVP of Product Marketing, Analyst Relations and Competitive Intelligence at IFS, commented, “We often hear from customers that digital transformation is not about technology. This research very clearly points to tight alignment between the C suite when it comes to evolving the business and bringing the organization proactively along the journey. Servitization is fundamentally about being customer-driven in the design, manufacturing, delivering and servicing of products and services. The topic has been around several decades, but the technology lacked.
“It is the coming together of servitization and the explosion of digital technologies that has created a perfect storm for companies to harness the power of AI, automation and ML, for example, to re-engineer and streamline their businesses behind the customers’ needs AND deliver business value. That is exciting for IFS.”
Jobber published the Blue-Collar Report: Gen Z and the Uncertain Future of the Trades. Based on survey responses from 1,000 US-based high-school and recent post high-school aged individuals (18-20). The report explores Gen Z’s views toward higher education, trade careers, entrepreneurship, artificial intelligence (AI), and job security.
74% of respondents note a stigma associated with going to a vocational school over attending a traditional four-year university. 79% of respondents say their parents want them to pursue a college education after high school. This is creating immense pressure for Gen Z to pursue a traditional white-collar career path while incurring large amounts of debt that they are concerned with repaying.
However, Gen Z are looking for security, and 75% of respondents say they are interested in exploring vocational schools that offer paid on-the-job training. 56% of respondents believe that “blue-collar” jobs have more job security than “white-collar” desk jobs. Two-thirds want to start their own business. And 41% are interested in starting a business with low upfront costs and little training.
Sam Pillar, CEO and Co-Founder of Jobber commented, “If we don’t educate society about the high value of trade work and the significant opportunities that exist in the field, the labor shortages we are seeing today will reach critical levels, resulting in a potentially catastrophic outcome for local economies and communities.
“We’ve seen countless people ditch desk jobs to start their own businesses, which is an incredible thing to do. These people earn more and have more control over their time, all while doing meaningful work. Going to a vocational school or starting a business doing blue-collar work should be encouraged, supported, and celebrated. Jobber is committed to changing the perception of blue-collar work and inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
Kantata commissioned a Total Economic Impact study from Forrester Consulting. The report, conducted two years after a similar study of Kimble Applications customers, found that Kantata professional services cloud provides an estimated 499% return on investment (ROI) over three years.
This report is based on a composite organisation of 2,500 consultants from a survey of 10 decision-makers. Whether the report focused on Kantata OX (Mavenlink) or, Kantata SX (Kimble Apps) customers, or both is unclear. It is believed both.
Michael Speranza, Kantata CEO, commented, “Professional services organizations are under constant pressure to optimize productivity and performance, while also using multiple, siloed software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications to manage different aspects of their operations.
“A single source of truth is essential for professional services organizations because it ensures that everyone within the organization has access to accurate, up-to-date information. The Kantata Cloud offers a more holistic view of the organization’s operations and enables managers to make data-driven decisions that elevate operational performance to build a thriving business.”
Nexthink announced the results from its new State of The DEX Industry Report. The report found that 69% of IT decision-makers (ITDMS) agree that the growth in remote work has made their jobs harder and more complex. The finding is even more troubling because today, employees are even less likely to report the technology issues they are experiencing (44%) than they were four years ago (55%).
Yassine Zaied, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at Nexthink, said, “Employees today are almost completely reliant on technology to do their jobs, so their digital experiences should be a priority for every organization. We’ve had four years to adopt solutions to make digital work seamless, to educate employees on how to get the most out of the technology available and to put Digital Employee Experience at the forefront of business. These findings highlight areas for growth across the industry that need to be addressed now before an organization starts to fall behind.”
90% of IT decision-makers stated that a good DEX strategy is important to their work. However, only 24% of office workers feel completely satisfied with their DEX strategy. A poor DEX experience can significantly impact the organisation. With IT teams spending 45% of their time fixing recurring issues and 43% putting devices back to the required state. The problems affect more than IT, though.
- 69% of ITDMs view a poor tech experience as contributing to a negative employee experience. Directly citing its impact on work quality, morale, customer relations, and the IT department’s reputation.
- 73% of ITDMs agree that when IT issues are not reported to the IT department, it leads to bigger issues across the organization.
Salesforce published headline statistics from an IDC study, the 2023 Salesforce Economy study. It found that Salesforce and its partner ecosystem would create 9.3 million new jobs and $1.6 trillion in new business revenues worldwide between 2020 and 2026. The study also looked at the impact and challenges organisations face around AI.
The biggest impacts of AI-powered solutions on organizations. These include:
- Helping employees do their jobs better (45%) and reducing repetitive tasks (42%)
- Over the next 12 months, respondents expect that helping employees perform better will continue to have a major impact (44%), in addition to boosting employee productivity (43%), increasing workforce AI skills (41%), and improving job satisfaction (40%)
Top reported challenges, which include:
- A lack of skilled personnel like data engineers and AI modellers (35% of respondents)
- AI governance and risk management (34%)
- Cost (34%)
- Trustworthiness/bias in data (31%)
Top roles organizations have hired for in the past 12 months or expect to hire for in the next 12 months include:
- Data engineers lead the AI roles (50% of respondents)
- Business analysts (43%)
Salesloft published a State of Revenue Engagement Benchmark report. The report looks at the top challenges and biggest growth opportunities. 55% of participants highlighted pipeline generation as the top challenge to revenue growth in 2023. The biggest opportunity is from existing customers. 40% of total revenue growth is attributed to existing customers. Increasing focus on pipeline development and revenue generation with existing customers should be a priority for revenue teams.
The report highlights that CRM and spreadsheets are not adequate forecasting tools. 91% of companies missed the new revenue forecast by +/- 6% or more, while 69% consistently missed the forecast by +/- 11% or more.
David Obrand, CEO at Salesloft, said, “Decreasing rates of quota achievement represents a material risk in the form of attrition and lost productivity, which will inevitably impact both new and expansion revenue growth in the near and long term. Now is the time for revenue leaders to reimagine their sales teams’ workflows, which at present can only be characterized as chaotic, unpredictable and inefficient. Using AI to codify workflows is the key to making them consistent and repeatable, thereby improving deal cycle time, customer time to value, and ultimately, revenue outcomes for the business.”
SAS published a consumer fraud study which identified that 86% of UK consumers are more wary of fraud in 2022 than before. Consumers are more open to better security but want a frictionless experience. 56% prefer to be authenticated at the time of transaction using unique identifiers like biometrics rather than remembering fixed passwords.
Christen Kirchner, Senior Solutions Expert, Fraud & AML at SAS Northern Europe, said, “With fraudsters becoming increasingly sophisticated, it’s no surprise that three-quarters of consumers are fearful of becoming a victim of fraud. The study also shows that a quarter of consumers believe that their financial providers are not clear on the action they are taking to protect them from fraud and other financial crimes.
“The use of facial recognition and fingerprints could solve two challenges at once. It provides an extra layer of security to prevent fraud, while speeding up transactions because consumers don’t have to remember long and complex passwords.
“The research also shows a willingness among consumers to enable providers to use technology in the fight against fraud. Around seven in 10 are willing to share personal data with service providers on the basis they can use this information to better protect them against fraud.”
SD Worx published more findings from its recent research of 16,000 businesses in sixteen European countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Belgium. It found that 40% of Brits confess to struggling with digital tools used in their workplace. Despite digitalisation being a clear business priority for 89% of British companies. The challenge is similar across Europe. With 48% of German employees struggling to keep up with digital tools, followed closely by similar levels in Ireland (46%), Croatia (43%), and Switzerland (41%).
Rachel Clough, UK Country Lead at SD Worx, comments, “Digitalisation is often motivated by aims to improve productivity and introduce vital automation in a business. However, it’s important to remember that companies may have more than five separate generations in their workplace for the first time in history.
“Not every employee is digitally native nor is everyone confident using technology. Digital transformation is no overnight miracle – it is a long-term commitment that must include people first. Training and education is of paramount importance to ensure successful roll-outs and uptake, and organisations must come together to meet employee needs and ensure staff are properly onboarded from the get-go if they want to truly realise the benefits.”
Unit4 has highlighted key trends in shared services adoption among public sector and professional services organizations (PSO). Drawing on data from the 2023 State of the Digital Nation and Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC) Study: Professional Services – A Benchmark for 2023, both commissioned by Unit4.
The studies reveal widespread acceptance of shared services among PSOs and public sector bodies. However, it suggests that there is a clear focus on using shared services to drive cost savings and improve operational performance, decision-making and agility to achieve organizational resilience.
Belgian PSOs (37%) are ahead of the global average. Intending to move finance and accounting functions to a shared services model in the next three years, compared to 25% in the Nordics and globally 38% of IT Services firms. The DACH region clearly illustrates the benefits of moving to a shared services model. As 77% of PSOs have already moved their project management teams to this way of working. They outperform their peers in terms of delivering projects on time. This can, in part, be attributed to having a holistic view of all the data within their organizations on project management.
Mike Ettling, CEO of Unit4, commented, “PSOs are adapting quickly and they understand that shared services can help to build resilience against market uncertainty, which is critical if they are to remain competitive. During the pandemic, PSOs experimented with global delivery models and, for ambitious mid-market firms, this can act as a way to differentiate. To be successful, though, requires streamlined and aligned internal and external business processes. It is clear that the shared services model offers a more effective way to establish the right foundations for global delivery strategies.”
Workday published its latest global study examining how AI and machine learning (ML) will impact how the future works. Key findings include:
- 98% of CEOs said there would be some immediate business benefit from implementing these capabilities
- 47% of all business leaders believe AI and ML will significantly amplify human potential
- 43% of all business leaders are concerned about the trustworthiness of AI and ML
- 59% of respondents said their organizations’ data is somewhat or completely siloed
- Only 4% of all respondents said their data is fully accessible
Jim Stratton, Chief Technology Officer of Workday, said, “Despite some uncertainty, leaders are optimistic that AI and ML will augment their workforce and drive productivity. Trust is paramount to embracing these benefits, and building trust requires the right data foundation and commitment to governance. By implementing trustworthy solutions that prioritize data quality and transparency, companies can reap the rewards of AI and ML across their organization.”
Xero has revealed that 53% of small businesses in Canada cited inflation as impacting their cash flow management in the last six months. 31% of Canadian small business owners have been unable to pay themselves at times in the last 12 months.
Faye Pang, Canada Country Manager at Xero, commented, “The Money Matters report reinforces the importance of effective cash flow management for Canadian small businesses and their owners. With many small businesses facing the challenges of inflation head on, having access to tools that can help simplify the cash flow process is essential to weathering difficult economic times and sustaining growth.”
The report highlighted that few organisations are using software to help manage cash flow. Pang added, “We know 69 per cent of small businesses are not using accounting software tools as their primary approach to cash flow management, highlighting opportunities to integrate online tools with features like digital payments and invoicing, payment reminders, as well as tools leveraging AI like Xero Analytics Plus, which offers cash flow forecasting. Additionally, customers who accept digital payments on Xero online invoices get paid up to twice as fast as those who don’t use online invoice payments.
“We want our customers to feel confident in their ability to manage their cash flow, knowing they have the backing of trusted resources, tools, and software which are designed to help them efficiently track their finances. As Canadian small business owners continue to navigate a dynamic economic landscape, our accounting software suite offers integrated solutions to manage their cash flow and grow their business.”
Zellis published research that found 77% of workers in the UK and Ireland (UK&I) have experienced financial stress in the past 12 months. Stress is felt more widely amongst under 35s (83%). And 45% stated that they are losing sleep over financial stress, leading to them being tired and 54% being less productive at work. Male workers are more likely to report a drop in their productivity levels due to financial stress (63%) than their female colleagues (50%).
Gethin Nadin, Chief Innovation Officer, Zellis, commented, “Our research shows that two of the most pressing socio-economic challenges in the UK are related: the crisis of persistent low productivity growth across the economy, and the extremely low levels of mental and physical health across the workforce.
“Performance is important to wellbeing, with employees getting a sense of purpose and belonging at work by being successful. With financial worries clearly impacting workers across the UK, it’s more critical than ever for business leaders to start thinking of investment in wellbeing not as an insurance against people falling ill in the future, but as a means to drive greater performance and productivity today.”