Eye EYE (c) 2016 Pixabay / cocoparisienne https://pixabay.com/en/eye-blue-eye-iris-pupil-face-1173863/ Last week, Precisely, a global leader in data integrity, and ASUG, (America’s SAP User Group), released a new study. The 2023 State of SAP Automation Report looked at the role of automation and trusted data in digital transformation. Kantata published “Key Trends in the Professional Services and Consulting World. The report looked at trends, challenges and opportunities for professional services organisations.

Dynatrace

Dynatrace announced the findings of an independent global survey of 450 IT practitioners responsible for DevOps and security automation in large organizations. The research reveals that organizations’ investments in DevOps automation are delivering significant benefits. Including a 61% improvement in software quality, a 57% reduction in deployment failures, and a 55% decrease in IT costs.

Key findings from the research include:

  • In the next 12 months, organizations are investing in DevOps automation to support security and compliance management (55%), infrastructure provisioning and management (52%), and performance optimization (51%).
  • However, only 38% of organizations have a clearly defined DevOps automation strategy to inform these investments.
  • On average, organizations have succeeded in automating just over half (56%) of their end-to-end DevOps lifecycle.
  • The average organization relies on more than seven different tools for DevOps automation.
  • The biggest barriers preventing organizations from automating new DevOps use cases are security concerns (54%), difficulty operationalizing data (54%), and toolchain complexity (53%).

Bernd Greifeneder, Chief Technology Officer at Dynatrace, said, “As more organizations embrace cloud-native software delivery, DevOps automation has evolved to become a strategic imperative. The prevalence of Kubernetes architectures and technology stacks that have surpassed human ability to manage are driving the need for automated ecosystem orchestration and protection.

“Organizations are attempting to meet this need by building and managing automation scripts using a growing array of open source tooling bolted together with DIY approaches and manual effort. However, the cracks are starting to show in this fragmented approach. Teams are entrenched in data silos, isolated pockets of automation, and reactive and manually intensive operations and security efforts. They urgently need a unified, AI-backed approach to DevOps automation, or it will be impossible to accelerate innovation while maintaining software quality and security.”

Freshworks

Freshworks released the findings of its second annual “State of Workplace Technology” report. It found a 71% increase in software applications on IT teams’ work computers over the last year. The report found that IT pros—especially senior leaders and younger generations—embrace AI to automate workflows and boost efficiency. 86% of IT pros reported that their organizations are already using AI.

The report found that companies in the US could save over $15,000 per IT employee each year. By using AI to eliminate time wasted on repetitive tasks. This means an enterprise-sized company with 200 IT professionals on staff could save at least $3 million annually using AI.

Other findings included:

  • IT professionals manage more software than ever and see an opportunity to simplify. Software applications installed on IT teams’ work computers increased by 71% over the last year. Despite this, IT professionals only use one-third of the applications daily (just eight out of 24), compared to half in 2022.
  • IT teams put efficiency first. They rank ease of use and efficiency as top attributes of business software, ahead of feature suite, reliability and cost-effectiveness.
  • AI eliminates repetitive tasks. IT pros agree AI frees up time spent on repetitive tasks (49%) and allows them to do more complex, meaningful work (45%). Moreover, IT pros estimate they could save more than five hours per week by using AI to complete repetitive tasks.

Dennis Woodside, Freshworks President, said, “I’ve had a front-row seat to the mobile and cloud revolutions and witnessed how both delivered powerful efficiencies that enabled IT teams to improve performance—without expanding costs. We’re already seeing customers like Smartsheet and Sony Music Entertainment who plan to harness AI to substantially improve employee service, while saving on costs from legacy software accrued over time.”

Globant

Globant published its “AI is changing the game” report. This report focuses on the implementation of AI in sports organizations. It also showed how that has transformed the way companies engage with sports fans. Resulting in a transformation of novel revenue opportunities and fan immersion.

Globant’s report also details how organizations can unleash athlete potential and provide better performance management through data. AI can be used to identify athlete actions and emphasize their improvement areas. Allowing coaches and trainers to make well-informed real-time decisions regarding training and nutrition. Ultimately ensuring the athlete’s full potential is reached. Integrating AI in sports is expected to enhance individual and team performance. Resulting in an average improvement of 17% for individuals and 28% for teams.

Diego Tartara, Global Chief Technology Officer at Globant, commented, “In the realm of sports operations, the capability of AI is truly formidable, extending beyond traditional functions like crowd management and security into areas such as environmental analysis and match scheduling.”

IBM

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), the Center for Digital Government (CDG) and IBM released a report entitled Preparing for Future Shocks in State Government. The report is intended to help frame future disruptions for state chief information officers (CIOs) and how they can effectively tackle them.

The report uncovers key themes about the threats state governments face. Together with the tools, processes and resources CIOs need to build more resilient organizations. CIOs face issues from future public health crises. Also cyber threats to climate change, workforce shortages and disruptive new technologies. The research looked at how CIOs approach resilience from multiple perspectives: enterprise, IT, workforce, employee, and personal resilience.

Doug Robinson, NASCIO Executive Director, commented, “The past few years have presented a multitude of challenges and increased demands on state CIOs. State CIOs have had to be resilient in the face of uncertainty to lead their organizations.

“Responsible AI and automation are essential elements of state leaders’ IT modernization strategies as they strengthen resiliency,” said Frank Attaie, General Manager for IBM’s US Public Market. “This roadmap will help state CIOs as they extend their capabilities and agility in responding to future disruptions and we look forward to collaborating with them.”

“CIOs play an important and unique role in state government resilience,” said CDG Senior Vice President Teri Takai. “Our research shows they are working closely with traditional emergency management teams for both cyber incident response and physical disaster recovery. They are at the forefront of confronting public sector talent shortages, and leading statewide discussions around technology modernization to reduce threats to critical government services.”

IFS

IFS shared further findings from a survey of 2,000 senior decision leaders. Customer expectations for servitization already exist (61%). These are projected to increase (70%) in the next three years in terms of value, service and reliability.

The survey highlights the CFO (21%) behind the CEO (35%) as the guardian of business resilience and financial health. As well as the purse string holder for technology investments. CFOs recognize that the move to servitization is essential in providing predictability in revenues, expenditure and third-party costs. They are aligning themselves to becoming stewards of identifying cross-business strategies to build competitive advantage.

32% of CFOs prioritise adoption over the next 18 months, the highest across the CSuite. Product R&D (34%) and service R&D (32%) are two areas CFOs prioritise when looking at servitized business processes.

Alex Rumble, SVP of Corporate Communications, Product Marketing, AR, &CI at IFS, commented, “The CFO’s remit has evolved hugely in the last decade away from financial reporting to understanding and influencing business-wide strategies and aiding transformation. Our research illustrates this very well and that CFOs not only understand the positive impact of aligning a business behind the customer’s expectations, but also the much broader business value of doing so.

“Today CFOs are visionary advocates of change and digital transformation and will help build predictability in revenue and costs, ultimately the holy grail for CFOs but still technology dependent.”

iplicit

Based on a survey of 1,000 CFOs in the UK, the iplicit CFO Research report looks at the finance function and the limitations of current accounting systems.

The key findings included:

  • 66% Of UK finance decision-makers would be willing to switch accounting software providers in 2023. If they can achieve a return on investment in under 12 months.
  • A fifth of UK finance decision-makers say the biggest cause of delay in preparing and submitting month-end financial reports is unreliable data.
  • 26% of UK finance decision-makers say fear of losing access to historical data is a major barrier to investing in a new financial system.
  • 72% longer than three days to prepare and submit month-end accounts. Almost a fifth (17%) take more than two weeks.

Paul Sparkes, Commercial Director at iplicit, said, “With remote and hybrid working practices here to stay, the four-day working week becoming a reality and an increasing pressure on companies to provide fit for purpose equipment – the research raises serious concerns for the accounting and finance profession. Accounting software providers need to stand up and deliver systems fit for the purpose of supporting modern working practices.

“The biggest concern is that remote access and sharing data with colleagues is cumbersome in the current system. In addition, respondents complain that the current solution doesn’t integrate well with other existing systems and it is difficult to generate the required reports.

“It’s crucial for businesses to invest in modern cloud-first technology that integrates systems and robust data-sharing capabilities to help meet the demands of the modern finance function. The onus is very much with accounting software providers to illustrate exactly how their technology will improve operations, generate savings and support staff and customers alike – while positively impacting the bottom line.”

Jenzabar

Spark451, a Jenzabar Company, published two new independent surveys. These reveal that the leading deciding factor for parents and students when making their college decision was academic quality. Followed by cost and financial aid.

The key findings included:

  • Money matters, but it’s not the primary consideration
  • Personalizing content maximizes engagement with students and parents
  • Students and parents are diligent during the college search

Steve Kerge, co-founder of Spark451 and Vice President of Enrollment Marketing at Jenzabar, commented, “We saw several important takeaways from this survey, including that institutions may see substantial and positive changes if they personalize content and communications, are consistent with their branding, and convey critical information on their website.

“Our surveys also found that 30% of incoming freshmen aren’t attending their top choice of school because another institution was more affordable. First impressions are vital to retaining those learners and colleges and universities want to make sure they deliver the first-year experiences that they promise.”

Mineral

Mineral announced the release of its 2023 State of HR Report. The report reveals that SMBs have successfully pinpointed their most pressing challenges for the future. It also identifies where closing key gaps in technology investments could help them better meet those challenges while driving greater performance and growth.

According to 2023 State of HR data, 76% of respondents are generally optimistic about their business outlook for the next 12 months. However, a closer look reveals that SMBs also struggle to modernize operations to meet 21st-century challenges. Particularly around enhancing HR and compliance tools related to people and productivity.

49% of respondents use or know about automation and technology tools. These include artificial intelligence (AI), that can streamline HR operations and free up employees for more valuable tasks.

Among the barriers to adopting modern HR solutions, respondents cite:

  • Lack of knowledge about available technology solutions (40%)
  • Distrust in AI (36%). More than a third of State of HR respondents report disinterest in AI’s potential. 74% are neutral about it or say using AI in HR solutions is unlikely
  • Resistance to new technology (33%)
  • Lack of IT staff/skills (25%) is a significant hurdle in embracing modern HR technology

Nathan Christensen, Mineral CEO, commented, “Small business leaders understand the importance of being agile, especially as the business environment evolves rapidly and factors beyond our control create new challenges. Our survey findings underscore the urgency for SMBs to confront those challenges with the same spirit that helped them hurdle previous obstacles—by embracing modern strategies and bridging the gap between their current HR practices and the evolving expectations of the workforce.

“The 2023 State of HR Report underscores the importance of strategic investments that align with business goals. Embracing technology and innovation will not only enhance HR operations but will also serve to drive overall business success that can equip leaders with the tools to future-proof their organizations.”

o9 Solutions

o9 Solutions released a new survey that reveals how consumers perceive the impact of supply chain disruptions, specifically regarding product availability. More than half of consumers (52%) surveyed indicated that they experienced supply chain disruptions in the last 12 months. With 49% reported issues with product availability for goods they typically purchase.

The report found that 38% of consumers have stopped purchasing items due to cost increases. 35% have started to do more comparison shopping. With 33% adjusted their shopping habits by prioritizing what products they need to purchase each month.

Igor Rikalo, President and COO at o9 Solutions, said, “Retail and CPG sectors are certainly the most visible to consumers since we can immediately detect when supply chain issues arise and result in out-of-stock inventory. Companies need to excel in predicting demand well ahead of when products will be available in stores and then synchronize production and logistics to ensure the right product is in the right quantity at the right store.

“That requires complex planning processes that are supported by advanced analytic technologies, such as the o9 integrated business planning platform. The use of these technologies doesn’t just alleviate supply chain risk; it fundamentally transforms how businesses operate, making them more resilient, efficient, and responsive to market changes and shifting consumer buying behaviors.”

Procore

Procore and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) released the Top Civil & Infrastructure Trends: Today’s Industry Challenges and Opportunities report. It revealed that 78% of civil and infrastructure construction firms expect their project backlog to increase or remain the same over the next year. As new federal infrastructure funding ramps up. It also found that many firms are worried that labour shortages. With productivity challenges could undermine their success with these projects.

Sandra Benson, Vice President of industry strategy at Procore, said, “With increased backlogs prompted by once-in-a-generation government investment in the US and Canada, civil and infrastructure organizations are on the precipice of historic projects across North America. To achieve these massive undertakings, while also navigating the ongoing labor shortage, companies will have to find innovative solutions, improve self-performance, and leverage clean data to build better.”

The report looks at the opportunities and challenges facing the industry. A third of civil and infrastructure projects fail to meet their specified budget, schedule, and quality goals. Leaving important opportunities for improvement in project outcomes. 60% of the most influential success factors identified by civil and infrastructure builders were linked to workforce considerations.

Key factors influencing these outcomes included:

  • Material and labour costs (41%)
  • Worker skills and training (40%)
  • Project management (39%)
  • Supply chain management (38%)
  • Workflow efficiency (35%)

Firms are making changes; they are getting involved in projects earlier. Furthermore, 52% of firms report adopting technology solutions that improve financial visibility and project cost control.

Salesforce

Salesforce released the 2023 Asia Pacific AI Readiness Index, showing a growing divide between economies based on their readiness to adopt the technology. Generative AI is changing the way governments and businesses are thinking about AI. McKinsey projects that generative AI could grow the Asia-Pacific region’s economy by $2.6 trillion to $4.4 trillion annually by 2030.

  • Overall AI Readiness: Singapore leads the region (70.1), followed by Japan (59.8), and China (59.7)
  • Business AI Readiness: Singapore leads the region (53.6), followed by China, (43.1), and South Korea (42.7)
  • Government AI Readiness: Singapore leads the region (86.5), followed by Australia (77.7) and Japan (77.5)

The report predicts that business AI readiness will accelerate as micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) start to invest in and adopt AI technology. Actions that businesses and governments can take to further expedite AI readiness include:

  • Implementing national AI strategies
  • Adopting a risk-based approach to AI regulation and harmonization and consistency around existing rules
  • Enabling responsible AI and ethics
  • Boosting AI talent
  • Leveraging AI for societal and economic benefit, together with an education campaign

Sassoon Grigorian, VP of APAC Government Affairs, Salesforce, said, “For countries to succeed in this exciting AI environment, including the adoption of generative AI, their economies require a sufficient level of AI readiness. Strong institutional, infrastructural, organizational, and ethical foundations around AI will be critical to success now and in our global AI future.”

Workhuman

Workhuman and Gallup released a new report. Empowering Workplace Culture Through Recognition examines the significance of recognition in the workplace. As both a foundational element and a catalyst for organizational culture.

Employees who strongly agree that recognition is an important part of their organization’s culture are 3.7 times as likely to be engaged. 3.8 times as likely to feel connected to their culture. And half as likely to experience frequent burnout than those who do not.

KeyAnna Schmiedl, Workhuman Chief Human Experience Officer, said, “This new research serves to illustrate the choice that lay ahead for company leaders: to either invest in culture and define it for themselves, or risk it being defined for them. Our analysis found that when engaged employees describe their company’s culture, they’re using words such as caring, innovative, and inclusive.

“Meanwhile, actively disengaged employees are more likely to use words such as toxic, disorganized, and chaotic. It’s up to leaders to decide which of those cultures they want associated with their companies, keeping in mind this isn’t just about their employee satisfaction scores or the tone of the office, it’s a choice that determines if their business is future-proof or not.”

Employees who strongly agree they are connected to their organization’s culture are:

  • 3X as likely to be engaged at work
  • 5X as likely to strongly agree they would recommend their organization as a great place to work
  • 55% less likely to be actively or passively seeking new job opportunities

Only 34% of employees say that their employer has a recognition program in place, of those just 13% of employees rate it as excellent.

The report provides four steps to create or improve a recognition program.

  • Establish Your Workplace Culture Goals and Values in Alignment with Business Strategy
  • Use Recognition to Reflect Your Workplace Culture Goals and Values
  • Continuously Evaluate and Refine Your Recognition Strategy
  • Promote Quality Recognition Across Your Organization So Your Culture Can Flourish

Xero

Xero announced the release of its State of the Industry Report for Canada. The report revealed that 70% of Canadian accounting and bookkeeping practices surveyed experienced revenue growth over the past 12 months. With 56% attributing their revenue growth to an increase in clients. At the same time, 70% of practices reported increased profits. With more services provided (48%) and streamlined internal processes (41%) most commonly cited as reasons for rising profitability.

Faye Pang, Country Manager for Canada, Xero, said, “Canada’s accounting and bookkeeping industry has responded to successive waves of disruption with resilience, ingenuity, and a remarkable willingness to adapt.

“We’re seeing subtle but significant shifts towards business models and uses of technology that amplify the value practices can offer their clients. The positive impact that these changes are having on revenues and profitability suggest that they could well become the industry norms of the future.”

One factor is technology. 74% of practices using cloud accounting solutions had experienced increases in revenues, compared to just 41% of non-cloud users. 32% of practices cited the use of the cloud as a factor that directly led to their increases in revenue.

Pang concluded, “The accounting and bookkeeping industry is increasingly aware that cloud-based solutions drive greater growth by not only making operations more efficient, but also creating more optimal conditions for collaboration and flexibility. Practices which adopt cloud solutions can give themselves a competitive advantage in hiring, retaining, and engaging top talent to do their best work.

“We’re seeing significant change to the industry as a result of this increasingly collaborative and engaged approach to generating value for clients – one which bodes well not just for practices’ returns, but the health of the entire Canadian business community.”

Research from the week beginning 18th September 2023

 

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