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 survey from Slack that targeted the demise of email in preference to collaboration software. There was also a comprehensive study by flyers-on-line.com that analysed the eCommerce markets across the globe. Other research comes from Blue Yonder, Ciphr, Cornerstone, Deloitte, Ellucian, iCIMS, MineralTree, NTT, Qualtrics, SD Worx, Staffcircle, Syncro, UiPath, UKG, Wolters Kluwer and Workforce.

Blue Yonder

Blue Yonder published the “Are Retailers Prepared for the AI Era?” report. The findings exposed critical gaps in retail’s understanding and use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in supply chain and omnichannel execution. The key finding was that leaders are overconfident.

  • 85% of executives say they are extremely or very knowledgeable about AI
  • 85% say they have no hesitations about applying AI to their business operations
  • 95% say they are already using AI technology in at least one application
  • 96% have made further AI adoption a priority going forward

However, the actual use of AI is limited and nowhere near its potential, especially around inventory and fulfilment.

  • 26% use AI for markdown predictions and avoidance
  • 18% use AI to optimize their inventory by keeping their dynamic safety stock up to date
  • 16% apply AI to improve the accuracy of their estimated ship dates
  • 7% use AI to improve order-picking accuracy

The report goes on to look at the impact of this low adoption and the reasons why there is not more use of AI in organisations.

Srinivas Pujari, Corporate Vice President of Blue Yonder, commented, “Today, there is a proliferation of AI solutions available to retailers, but understanding general technology concepts is not the same thing as knowing which AI-enabled product or service is best suited for individual retailing needs. Retailers who are innovating with AI will leave their competitors behind, especially those who deploy the most efficient solutions that best meet their customer needs. Retail executives cannot afford to be overconfident in their AI strategy.

“The costs of these missed opportunities will prove painful for many retail businesses. The top 10% of retailers already create 70% of the sector’s profit, and those large retailers stand at the leading edge of the AI revolution, so companies that don’t embrace AI will almost certainly fall behind. Blue Yonder can help retailers use AI and ML to make proactive business decisions using powerful insights from deep volumes of data.”


A study by Ciphr looked at what jobs people feel are the most meaningful and rewarding. The results based on a survey of 1,000 workers identified 200 different jobs. With nurses, doctors, and teachers were ranked the most rewarding of all the caring professions – despite well-publicised concerns over falling real pay and staff shortages.

There were significant differences between responses from men and women. Within the top ten for women were midwife, support worker, social worker, charity worker, and animal care worker. For men, it was IT professional, manager, police officer, working for the NHS, and professional footballer.

Claire Williams, Chief People Officer at Ciphr, says, “We all have an idea of what makes a job feel meaningful and rewarding to us. What’s interesting about this research is the breadth of jobs that people feel fit that description. And that’s because rewarding can be read in many ways. A job can be fulfilling, worthwhile, and satisfying for numerous different reasons.

“The most popular rewarding jobs named in Ciphr’s top 20 do have a universal attribute: nearly all these roles help and benefit others in some way, which makes the world we live in that bit better and brighter.

“It’s worth remembering, that if you’re not happy in your role and you don’t feel fulfilled by your job, then it’s time to speak with your manager and see what changes may need to be made. While switching jobs can work, there might be a simpler – and less extreme – way to improve your work situation.

“From an employer’s perspective, it’s in an organisation’s interest to understand what they can do to help their people to feel more fulfilled and rewarded in their roles, and make changes where possible when they are not. Put simply, happy, engaged employees are good for morale, good for productivity, and are more likely to stay with you for longer.”


Cornerstone identified a 30% increase in overall active learners since last year. With more than 50% of total minutes spent learning dedicated to professional skills development. The findings were based on more than 1 million anonymised customer data from its platform.

The most popular topics for study included:

  • project management
  • time management
  • business acumen
  • emotional intelligence
  • effective communication

What is interesting is that the initiative is often from the employees, with 72% spending more time on self-directed learning. There was an increase of 38% more time spent on online content. In the first half of 2023, the number of employees proactively consuming learning content grew 43% YoY.

Karthik Suri, Chief Product Officer, Cornerstone, said, “Employees today are more motivated than ever to find continuous skills development opportunities inside their organizations. Proven by recent data trends, there is a clear and sustained focus on professional skills development, providing HR leaders with an incredible opportunity to provide increased content that is actively sought out and will result in a sound investment. The right learning content can play an instrumental role in building stronger communicators, strategic thinkers and higher functioning teams.”


The Deloitte State of Ethics and Trust in Technology Report looked at the ethical implications of emerging technologies. With an added focus on Generative AI this year. Worryingly, it found that 56% of respondents don’t know or are unsure if their organizations have ethical standards guiding its use. This is despite 74% of individuals surveyed saying their companies have begun testing Generative AI, 65% are already using it inside their businesses, and 31% have begun using this technology for external consumption.

Kwasi Mitchell, Chief Purpose and DEI Officer at Deloitte, commented, “There is an inherent opportunity to apply emerging technologies for societal good while creating financial value for the enterprise. However, the adoption of Generative AI is outpacing the development of ethical principles around the use of the technology, intensifying the potential risks to society and corporate trust if these standards continue to lag.”

Other key findings included:

  • Data privacy was reported as the top ethical concern (by 22%) about Generative AI
  • The perception of cognitive technologies’ potential for social good is increasing (39%, up 6% YoY)
  • The perception of its potential for harm is rising even faster (57%, up 16% YoY)
  • Organizations opt to retain (85%), retrain and upskill (67%) in response to automation
  • Collaboration with other businesses on ethical tech standards remains unchanged, while expectations of government increased (71% up 10% YoY)

Beena Ammanath, Managing Director of Deloitte Consulting LLP and Leader of Deloitte’s Technology Trust Ethics practice and the report’s author, said, “The potential benefits of emerging technologies can increase when companies collaborate and share their knowledge. The sooner companies work together to identify the risks and establish governance up front, the better their ability may be to help generate stakeholder value, elevate their brands, create new markets and contribute to building a more equitable world.”


Ellucian published the “Higher Education Leaders Eager to Embrace AI to Transform Campus Operations” report. It was based on a survey of 1,140 US higher education administrators from 768 institutions. The report uncovers a significant opportunity. Highlighting gaps between the perceived prevalence of AI and the actual reported usage by individuals.

Key findings included:

  • 60% of administrators claim their institution uses AI functionality, but less than one-third of higher education professionals have experience using AI at work
  • About half of respondents expect that the positive effects of AI will span the student experience. From better supporting the student journey to improving student outcomes at their institution
  • Almost 48% of respondents say they have yet to utilize AI in their personal or professional capacities
  • 30% of staff report “advanced” or “extensive” use of data analytics and data-driven decision-making
  • The main barriers to AI adoption include data security concerns, the need for AI training programs, and ethical implications

Jeff Dinski, Chief Strategy and Corporate Development Officer Ellucian said, “The findings of our survey highlight the untapped potential of AI in higher education. While there is a clear gap between the perceived and actual use of AI, our data shows that over 70% of respondents view AI favorably. This indicates a promising future for AI in enhancing efficiency, staying abreast with technological advances, and better supporting students and outcomes.

“At Ellucian, we believe we have a role to play in facilitating this transition, helping institutions navigate the process of adopting and leveraging AI technologies for increased effectiveness.”


iCIMS has released the iCIMS Insights October Workforce Report. The new data found that hires and openings in retail have decreased by 12% and 25%, respectively, from this time last year. While the transportation sector saw declines of 22% and 2%.

  • Overall hires and job openings took a slight dip last month (down 1% and 2% from January 2022, respectively)
  • Applications across industries are up 51% from the start of last year. Showing a strong candidate pool for talent leaders to choose from
  • Applications for talent acquisition roles are down 20% since last month

The report also looks at the trends around hiring with the use of mobiles rising and a move towards the Indeed job boards.

Rhea Moss, Global Head of Workforce and Customer Insights at iCIMS said, “In two years, we’ve seen a shift in these industries from hiring teams looking for warm bodies to fill roles to an influx in applicants. There’s a lot less pressure now to hire just anyone, and teams have the chance to be a little more tactical in their hiring as they approach their busy season.”


MineralTree has released its eighth annual State of AP Report. This year’s survey looks at progress in modernizing back-office finance processes for businesses amid the impact of multiple macroeconomic factors.

With increasing corporate belt-tightening, finance leaders are focused on boosting the productivity of lean AP teams and taking measures to cut costs.

  • 59% of finance leaders cite doing more with less, followed by reducing AP processing costs (49%), improving the ability to manage cash flow (43%), and gaining better visibility into their current cash position (42%).
  • 45% of firms looking to hire anticipate hiring challenges and delays.
  • AP teams are also more likely to work remotely, as 68% of AP work environments are now hybrid or fully remote – which is expected to increase over the next year.

AP automation is allowing finance teams to do more with less.

  • 85% of those using AP automation realized efficiency gains (85%) and faster, more timely payments (63%).
  • 58% are able to absorb a growing volume of invoices and payments with the same-sized team. 24% have reallocated freed-up staff time to other projects.
  • The most digitized AP task is invoice approval/workflows (71%), followed by invoice data capture and coding (66%).

The pandemic put a lot of focus on the importance of strategic vendor relationships, and that sentiment continues to grow.

  • 66% of finance leaders agree or strongly agree that their vendor relationships have grown in importance.
  • Vendors continue to rank speed of payment as the top priority in the payment experience but are unhappy with the time it takes to respond to payment inquiries.
  • Vendor dissatisfaction may be growing, with 52% feeling that AP follows up on payment inquiries in a timely manner, compared to 56% last year.

Brian Greehan, Head of B2B Solutions for Global Payments, said, “As businesses continue to face a number of challenges and pressures, finance teams are being tasked with finding new ways to drive operating efficiencies and get more control over cash flow. In response, they are prioritizing investments in back-office automation and working with vendors to increase the adoption of digital payments.”


NTT released its 2023 Global Employee Experience Trends Report. Exploring how current workplace trends, such as hybrid work and AI, are influencing EX strategies and the correlation between EX and business performance.

The report found that while 90% of businesses see the enablement of hybrid and remote work as having a positive impact on their bottom line. Less than half (48%) of organizations strongly agree that employees have access to the technology they need to work well both at home, and in the office. Many organizations are now implementing more structured approaches to work. With the report finding that approximately 56% of hybrid workers spend half the work week at the office.

Amit Dhingra, Executive Vice President of Network Services at NTT Ltd., said, “The disconnect between what employees need and what businesses provide them with is still too large. Too often, we see hybrid working strategies focusing on one type of working style, despite employees wanting the flexibility to work in a way that suits them.

“It was positive to see that 73% of organizations agree that hybrid and remote working has led to their investment in mobility over the last two years to promote flexibility, but more still needs to be done to reduce the disconnect and improve EX. This is especially true given that satisfied and engaged employees are 66% more likely to deliver exceptional customer service.”


Mind Share Partners and Qualtrics released their third report that gauges attitudes of US workers on mental health.

Kelly Greenwood, Founder & CEO of Mind Share Partners, said, “The state of workplace mental health has changed substantially over the past few years–largely for the better. Many employers have begun to take mental health at work seriously, and their efforts are producing noticeable results. That said, mental health broadly is not improving. Economic uncertainty and workplace factors — unsustainable workloads, a lack of a supportive community, and systemic inequalities — are leading to employees languishing in their jobs. This is where organizational culture change is needed.”

The report highlighted four takeaways:

  • Investing in organizational culture outperforms therapy services and self-care apps
  • Mental health is a mixed picture in the workplace post-pandemic
    • 39% of workers cited personal finances
    • 23% cited work as their biggest stressors
  • Investments in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are improving mental health
  • The employee voice matters in the hybrid work debate, employee voice matters. Some level of control and influence over where they work tended to experience better outcomes when it comes to mental health, engagement, and work itself

Qualtrics Chief Workplace Psychologist Dr Benjamin Granger said, “Work has a substantial influence on peoples’ mental health. While every employee’s mental health needs are unique, an organization’s culture reflects the shared beliefs, values, and behaviors of all employees and has the potential to promote mental health, and by extension, the organization as a whole.”

Bernie Wong, Principal at Mind Share Partners and lead for the organization’s biennial reports, noted, “Employers need to go back to the basics. This means livable wages, true balance between work and life, a sense of belonging, and sustainable ways of working. There will be no technological revolution, no productized panacea, and certainly no renaissance of mental wellbeing if the voices and livelihoods of workers aren’t fundamentally at the center of our cultures and systems. A mentally healthy future is possible, and we all can play a role.”

SD Worx

Research by SD Worx found that 46% of UK employers face a shortage of workers. Exacerbating the issue is that 41% have little or no time to take training courses at work. The problem is European-wide, with French (61%), Italy (49%) and Germany (47%) facing similar issues. While it is harder to recruit (38%), the great resignation is over, with 46% stating that it is easy to retain staff. The report highlights the importance of providing training and development technology for employees.

Rachel Clough, UK Country Lead at SD Worx, commented, “The gap between talent supply and demand is widening once again. Moving out of economic downturn, as companies look to grow and expand, it’s crucial to have the right workers on board and the right strategies in place to keep them. Today’s workforces have high expectations for their workplace experience. They want greater control of their career development and expect to have access to the tech tools and upskilling opportunities that will support them along the way.

“Leaders that empower their workers through training and technology can ensure longer employee tenure and more positive engagement. Maintaining a competitive edge is dependent on a happy workforce. Employees know their worth and won’t hesitate to leave if the grass appears greener elsewhere. That’s why businesses need to work twice as hard to create a positive personal development culture within organisations, as well as arming staff with the tools and capacity to pursue training opportunities.”


A survey by Staffcircle of 250 HR professionals and 1,000 employees. It revealed that over one in five (21%) of HR professionals admitted that their organisation doesn’t have a performance management process in place at all. With 73% of Gen Z employees likely to leave an organisation if they don’t receive frequent managerial feedback and communication, this is a concern for many.

Mark Seemann, Founder and CEO at StaffCircle, commented, “If organisations don’t check-in with their employees, it’s very likely that their staff will start checking out altogether, and Gen Zs are leading the way with this feedback. It’s bad enough that a fifth of organisations don’t conduct performance reviews, but even those that do aren’t ensuring that their employees have access to their development plans. Organisations need support to overcome these challenges.”

The report looks at what organisations do to engage employees or are not doing. And looks at the shifting expectations of the workforce, which is itself evolving. With Gen Z making up a bigger proportion. Key benefits for Gen Z employees are flexible hours (75%), remote working (56%) and money (55%).

Seeman added, “Each new generation that enters the workforce brings a new set of expectations, and Gen Z is no different, if anything they are more demanding. HR teams using an effective performance management process are more likely to understand what every generation in their workforce needs. If employees feel heard, they’re much more likely to be more engaged and productive.”


Channel Program, in partnership with Syncro, has released the 2023 Channel Technology Map. This comprehensive Map categorizes vendors by product speciality, offering a single-screen overview of the entire IT channel landscape. It is powered by insights derived from more than 3,000 MSP reviews on Channel Program.

Key Features of the MSP Technology Ecosystem Map:

  • Vendor Categorization: The Map categorizes vendors by product speciality, providing an organized and accessible view of the IT channel
  • Sponsored by Syncro: Syncro’s support and expertise played a crucial role in bringing this project to life
  • Comprehensive Insights: Derived from more than 3,000 MSP reviews. The Map offers unparalleled insights into vendor performance, enabling informed decision-making for MSPs and vendors alike

Kevin Lancaster, Channel Program CEO, commented, “Cultivating the Channel Technology Map in collaboration with Syncro has been an extraordinary journey. This comprehensive resource is a testament to the incredible power of community-driven insights. We believe it will serve as a guiding light, helping MSPs and vendors navigate the vast IT channel with precision and foresight. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing the Map evolve and grow in the years to come. At Channel Program, we are dedicated to empowering our community, and this Map is a giant leap toward that mission.”

For more insights on the Channel Program Technology map, check out this blog on the Syncro website. Or download the Map here.


Bain has partnered with UiPath to release The State of AI-powered Automation. The report finds that while automation has long been a force for improvement and efficiency within organizations, the fast-paced deployment of AI is accelerating the scope and scale of business change. 45% of respondents forecast that the integration of automation and AI will catalyze major transformations in their industry in the next few years

Ted Shelton, Bain & Company expert partner in the firm’s Enterprise Technology and Performance Improvement practices, said, “Enterprises have an opportunity with AI-powered automation to infuse a shot of adrenaline into their business roadmaps and reconfigure their goals, regardless of size and scope – if they take a holistic approach and act now.

“Businesses must go beyond deploying this technology and fundamentally rethink and redesign business models to integrate AI and automation seamlessly. The truly future-proofed organizations will be agile, with a fluid culture and design, constantly evolving, and reconfiguring in tandem with technological advancements in AI.”

The report looks at the adoption of AI and where organisations see its potential. 44% of respondents stated that Gen AI will be transformative.

It identifies several opportunities:

  • 58% believe AI enables new product or service offerings
  • 52% believe it could create avenues for data monetization
  • 47% believe it will allow heightened personalization in offerings
  • 26% think it will pave the way to tap into previously uncharted markets or customer segments

Rob Enslin, Co-CEO at UiPath, said, “This Bain research shows the acute inflection point businesses face with AI and automation. The majority of organizations report AI and automation are critical to their business objectives, and most will use AI and automation as a catalyst for generating new revenues and future product offerings. UiPath can operationalize the transformative force of AI through automation, seamlessly integrating intelligence into everyday operations, automating all knowledge work, and revolutionizing entire industries with AI at work.”


UKG announced that it has joined with 10 other global organisations in a three-year research project led by Great Place to Work called The Great Transformation. It joins leaders from Accenture, Cadence, Cisco, DHL Express, Dow, Encore, Hilton, KPMG, Synchrony, UKG, and World Wide Technology.

Chris Todd, CEO of UKG, commented, “It’s been incredibly thought-provoking to work with this collection of leaders who understand that engaged employees and business success are intrinsically linked. We’re on a journey to understand how we can further lean on the voices of our employees to drive better outcomes for ourselves and our customers. One avenue we’re exploring together is the untapped potential of ERGs.

“We already see the incredible impact that ERGs have at UKG, surfacing ideas that have led to meaningful changes for our employees and the business. It has been energizing for me personally, and I’m grateful for this journey to keep learning together.”

At the end of the three-year initiative in May 2024, Great Place To Work and the cohort will showcase the results at the For All Summit in New Orleans.

Wolters Kluwer

Wolters Kluwer has investigated whether small businesses are prepared for the new Beneficial Ownership requirement. Despite an effective date of January 1st 2024, a significant portion of businesses subject to new US “beneficial ownership” rules under the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) are either unaware of the reporting obligations they face or are unsure about how they will comply. 74% of respondents only became aware of the change as a result of completing the survey. 41% of respondents were unsure whether the beneficial ownership rule, as implemented by FinCEN, would apply to them. Despite their company’s reporting status and revenue size.

George May, Vice President and Segment Leader, Small Business for CT Corporation, a Wolters Kluwer business, commented, “Lack of understanding regarding the applicability of beneficial ownership reporting is significant — 41% are ‘unsure’ among companies we surveyed — as is the lack of awareness about the CTA in general.

“These are troubling figures, given both the percentage of businesses that are subject to the reporting requirements and where their organizations stand today in terms of preparing for an effective date that is right around the corner.”

The beneficial ownership reporting rule, part of the CTA and issued by FinCEN in September 2022, will require companies to collect, document and monitor previously unreported data on a company’s primary owners. Via completion of a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) report. Every person who owns or manages a limited liability company (LLC) needs to be aware of the new reporting requirement first to determine if their company is subject to BOI reporting and, if so, to begin preparing to comply.


Workforce released the findings of its third annual Global Employee Experience (EX) Study. The gap in employee and employer perceptions of employers’ ability to deliver capabilities that create a good employee experience. The 2023 findings show that the challenges underlying the experience gap remain – with more than two in five (43%) employees not feeling valued by their employer. And more than a third (35%) believing their employer does not recognize their contributions to the business.

New factors are emerging, with 77% of employees seeing the importance of flexible scheduling, up 25% in three years.

The report recommends two areas for employers to focus on to reduce the gap.

  • Offer scheduling flexibility and autonomy
  • Provide easy access to training

Mike Morini, CEO of WorkForce Software, said, “Keeping employees engaged to avoid losing valuable talent is of paramount importance right now. The cost of doing nothing, including the negative impact on productivity, talent acquisition, and retention, far outweighs the investment needed to adequately support, upskill, and empower deskless employees.

“The technology to provide greater flexibility for disparate workforces is readily available today, so taking action to remove the barriers to better employee experiences should begin immediately. There is really no reason why any employee can’t view their shift schedule and make changes, contact their manager, or complete relevant training digitally in 2023.”

Research from the week beginning 2nd October 2023



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