Several interesting pieces of research were published this week. They included Unit4 publishing a report that looked at the state of transition to cloud technology by non-profits. The Horizons of Identity Security report from Sailpoint shows even mature organisations are struggling with digital identity. LastPass and the FIDO Alliance identified that businesses are ditching passwords in the 2023 Workforce Authentication Report. Other research came from AccounstIQ, Deloitte, Epicor, Mediafly, Onna, Pluralsight, Seismic, Qlik, Tradeshift and Wolters Kluwer.
According to research by AccountsIQ, 39% of young people have taken time off for stress. 36% of their senior colleagues have also done so. The findings come in a report entitled “Confessions of the Finance Function”.
The report looks at the impact of stress on the workforce, from lack of sleep to diet. Conversely, despite the impact of stress, job satisfaction among senior professionals is high (76%). Despite this 52% of young professionals are considering leaving their position rather than seeking more senior roles.
Darren Cran, COO at AccountsIQ, said, “Stress and burnout are significant challenges in the finance function. The pressure of deadlines, increased financial complexity and the imperative for high-quality and error-free work, combines with an overall sense that expectations are not being met.
“These difficulties affect finance professionals of all ages but are more acute among those who are new in the industry. Younger professionals are often lumbered with much of the uninspiring, repetitive, spreadsheet-based work despite being the first, truly digital native generations. Organisations must address these problems with solutions that remove intensive manual work, to place younger talent in a position where they can truly have an impact in the organisation.”
Deloitte has published details from the “2023 Holiday Retail Survey”, based on a survey of 4,330 consumers fielded between Aug. 30 and Sept. 8. The report examines what retailers can likely expect from consumers shopping for the holidays.
The key findings included:
- Holiday shopping is back, with spending expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels for the first time. Consumers surveyed plan to spend an average of $1,652, representing a 14% year-over-year increase. Though a modest four-year CAGR of 2.5% reflects a normalization of trends.
- Nearly all consumers surveyed plan to participate in the holiday season. (95%, up from 92% in 2022 and 88% in 2021), reflecting a return to pre-pandemic levels.
- Nearly three-quarters (72%) of consumers surveyed expect higher prices and plan to navigate inflation by budgeting for fewer gifts (eight versus nine in 2022). Spending more on gift cards ($300 versus $217 in 2022), and seeking out deals (66% plan to shop on Black Friday — Cyber Monday (BFCM) versus 49% in 2022).
- Nearly one-third of shoppers’ budget will be spent in the last two weeks of November, with 78% actively shopping during that period.
- Student loan repayments are a lump of coal for some but will likely have a minimal impact overall on the holiday season.
Nick Handrinos, Vice Chairman, of Deloitte LLP, and US retail, wholesale and distribution and consumer products leader, said, “Although inflation shows signs of moderating, consumers have come to expect higher prices and are adjusting their holiday spending accordingly. We expect to see shoppers make their lists and check them twice for deals, but a return to pre-pandemic spending levels shows promise for the season overall. Retailers can expect continued store growth as shoppers aim to maximize their budgets with their favorite retailer, presenting new opportunities to build loyalty.”
Epicor published an IDC brief it sponsored, entitled “The Evolving Role of the CFO in 2023. IDC found that 80% of manufacturing and distribution organizations surveyed agreed that today’s economic uncertainty has “significantly” elevated the importance of the CFO in driving strategy and technology optimization initiatives.
Marco de Vries, Epicor Vice President of Product Marketing, said, “The back office is not the back office anymore, with CFOs and their finance organizations increasingly playing a more vital role in driving IT investment to compete and grow. It’s all about transforming the speed and efficiency in decision-making across the business, which is critically important for supply chain industries that have faced continual disruption and economic pressures to adapt and thrive.”
CFOs are looking to technology to optimise efficiency and free up time for more strategic tasks. Finance leaders are looking to invest in financial planning and analysis (FP&A), cash management, and accounts payable automation to achieve this. Manufacturers indicated they are more focused on period-end closing; and distributors more on inventory management.
In addition, 42% of respondents agreed that Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning capabilities will have the greatest impact in their organizations over the next five years. By finding patterns, turning data into actionable insights, and enabling automation across business and production processes.
The report also looks at the challenges faced with the talent gap a key issue facing finance leaders.
Mediafly unveiled findings from the 2023 State of Revenue Enablement study. The study surfaced behavioural and technological insights, trends, and best practices from large, global revenue teams.
The key findings included:
- Skyrocketing Content Influence: As buyers spend less time with vendors, content is doing the selling when sellers aren’t in the room. High-performing organizations are 37% more likely to track the impact of sales content using data and insights compared to low-performers.
- CRM Accuracy Matters: High-performing organizations understand the critical importance of CRM data accuracy. They are 20% more likely to depend on CRM data that is automatically collected and uploaded, easing the burden on sellers.
- Unlocking Data Intelligence: Surprisingly, only 44% of organizations leverage data-driven processes for understanding pipeline health and forecasts. This indicates untapped potential for improving data intelligence practices.
- Embracing Value-Selling: High-performing organizations prioritize value-selling methodologies. With 19% more likely to have integrated these approaches into their strategies. Additionally, they are 38% more inclined to use business value assessments in their sales cycles.
- Seeking a Single Source of Truth: A substantial 70% of respondents expressed a strong preference for vendors offering a single source of truth for revenue data. Noting the growing importance of data consistency and reliability.
- Pioneering GenAI: The adoption of GenAI is on the rise, with 59% of revenue teams either currently using or experimenting with this technology. High-performing organizations lead the way, being 44% more likely to embrace GenAI solutions.
Mary Shea, Co-CEO at Mediafly, said, “Our research underscores the profound impact of changes currently reshaping the business landscape. With Millennials and Gen Z comprising over 60% of the workforce, the permanence of remote work, and the emergence of generative AI, organizations face a pivotal choice: adapt and thrive, or risk obsolescence.
“Traditional sales enablement, initially designed for direct sales, falls short in today’s dynamic environment. The evolution to revenue enablement represents a comprehensive transformation, empowering all revenue roles and harnessing data from all pertinent systems. This holistic approach spans content engagement, data-driven insights, sales analysis, value-based selling, and skill enhancement. The time to embrace this transformation is now.”
Onna published “The 2022 State of Organizational Knowledge.” The findings reveal a troubling knowledge gap in many organizations. Where 87% of IT and business decision-makers are using “best guesses” and “hunches” to make decisions. Worse still, 51% of IT decision-makers and 32% of business decision-makers are using best guesses and hunches for the majority of decision-making.
98% of respondents say their organization is experiencing challenges with finding information from their workplace apps. 46% lack certainty that they have all the information they need from their workplace apps to make the best decision.
Jose Lazares, Chief Product Officer at Onna, said, “Knowledge is a precious asset for businesses, and it all comes down to information and data. It’s the various facts, figures, and context about something, which come together to inform how we make decisions, solve problems, and take action. But this is exactly the problem. Businesses today are completely overwhelmed by their data, and it’s hurting their capacity for knowledge. Closing the knowledge gap needs to start with better data management – knowing where your data is, being able to get to it quickly, and having tighter control over it.
“Structured data is just the tip of the iceberg; it’s the exponential growth of unstructured data – everything in our cloud apps, from text files and slide presentations, to video recordings, chat messages, support tickets, and more – that’s building up information overload. Enterprises that factor this type of data into their data governance strategies will be in the best position to begin transforming their valuable corporate knowledge into insights that drive competitive advantage and innovation.”
Pluralsight released new research via its Flow Developer Success Lab titled “The New Developer: AI Skill Threat, Identity Change & Developer Thriving in the Transition to AI-Assisted Software Development.” The research compiles survey results from more than 3,000 developers and software engineers across 12+ industries engaged in the transition to generative AI-assisted software development.
Key findings from the report include:
- 45% of developers experience AI Skill Threat
- 74% of developers plan to upskill in AI-assisted coding, but equity and opportunity gaps persist
- Cultures of learning and belonging mitigate AI anxiety and drive efficiency
Dr. Cat Hicks, VP of Research Insights at Pluralsight, said, “AI is quickly entrenching itself in software development, revolutionizing the way code is written and software is built. However, the human needs of developers matter profoundly in how this new technology is adopted and whether its implementation is successful. While there is marked uncertainty and anxiety among developers, our research underscores that core skills of lifelong learning and collaboration remain central to building software, and the future of AI-assisted coding relies on prioritizing a human-first approach.”
The report also includes a Generative AI Adoption Toolkit comprised of free and adaptable research-backed resources to help practitioners increase learning and belonging within their organizations. The toolkit includes facilitation guides and an assessment tool enabling teams to measure and track changes in their own AI Skill Threat, learning, and belonging as they navigate AI-assisted coding adoption.
Seismic published The State of AI in Enablement: 2023 Report. The report found that go-to-market (GTM) leaders expect investments in AI to pay off in dividends. 85% of respondents believe the fusion of AI and GTM strategy will lead to revenue growth for their organization.
While many are looking to increase investments, there are some challenges, to reaping the rewards. 66% have faced challenges. With 51% saying that implementation and adoption are their greatest areas of concern in regard to using AI in enablement.
Other findings included:
- 93% of GTM leaders who intend to boost their investment in enablement technology attribute their decision to the significant advancements in AI
- 54% of GTM leaders say their organization already uses AI-powered tools for sales enablement
- 91% of those who have implemented AI tools say that their company has noted an increase in customer satisfaction since implementing AI into their enablement processes
Doug Winter, CEO and Co-founder, of Seismic, commented, “The past year has been wrought with market challenges, which makes AI-powered enablement technology more crucial for business success than ever before. The proof is in the pudding: When an organization’s enablement efforts are streamlined with AI technology, it drives greater GTM efficiency, operational optimization, and better buyer experiences – all of which translate into a stronger bottom line. At Seismic, we are leading the charge to define the future of AI-powered enablement and look forward to working closely with our customers and partners on this endeavor.”
The Qlik “Generative AI Benchmark Report” explores how leaders are leveraging the generative AI tools they purchased, lessons learned, and where they are focusing to maximize their generative AI investments.
68% said they plan to leverage public or open-source models refined with proprietary data. While 45% are considering building models from scratch with proprietary data.
Data is a challenge. Though with only 20% believing their data fabric is very/extremely well equipped to meet their needs for generative AI. The good news for Qlik and other vendors is that 73% expect to increase spending on technologies that support data fabrics. Other data tools will also be important.
James Fisher, Chief Strategy Officer at Qlik, notes, “Generative AI’s potential has ignited a wave of investment and interest both in discreet generative AI tools, and in technologies that help organizations manage risk, embrace complexity and scale generative AI and traditional AI for impact. Our Generative AI Benchmark report clearly shows leading organizations understand that these tools must be supported by a trusted data foundation. That data foundation fuels the insights and advanced use cases where the power of generative AI and traditional AI together come to life.”
Tradeshift published the Q3 Index of Global Trade Health. The data shows activity levels tracking 6 points below expected levels over the summer months (July-September). A slump in demand for manufactured goods is undoubtedly a factor in the latest slowdown. Activity across the sector dropped 9 points below the baseline in Q3. Freight demand also softened, dipping to 6 points below the anticipated level.
Trade activity dropped across all markets, with the Eurozone falling 9 points, China 6 points and the US 3 points. James Stirk, CEO (interim) at Tradeshift, said, “Globally, we’re seeing mounting evidence of an economy that’s preparing to land. Traditional manufacturing powerhouses across the Eurozone and China are facing a lot more turbulence than the US, where a robust domestic market means a softer landing seems more likely.
“Global trade has looked more local in 2023, but a new kind of globalization is also starting to emerge and new stars are rising. To thrive in this environment businesses will have to forge a new set of relationships in new jurisdictions. For supply chain operators, enhancing the digital connectivity between trading partners will play a key role in ensuring this transition happens seamlessly.”
Wolters Kluwer released the results of its 2023-24 Wolters Kluwer Accounting Industry Survey for the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. “Accounting Evolution Report: Unlocking Revenue Opportunities with New Technology” reveals that the accounting industry continues to undergo a significant shift, driven by changing economic conditions and rapid advancements in technology.
Key findings include:
- Almost 70% of those firms who consider themselves to be innovators and digital leaders are now on the cloud for all solutions. Compared with only 41% of those firms who consider themselves to be mainstream or conservative in their adoption of technology.
- 80% of firms expecting low or no financial growth in the 2024 financial year consider themselves to be mainstream or lagging in technology uptake.
- 51% of ANZ firms and 59% of SEA firms look to advancements in technology to protect sensitive data. However, 74% of SEA firms and 79% of ANZ firms are still sharing information with clients via email with attached links. Resulting in significant vulnerability for firms who are already at heightened risk of cyber-attack.
- 77% of firms report an increased demand for advisory services over the last 12 – 24 months. This compares to last year’s findings, where only 40% of respondents saw this level of increased demand.
- 65% of firms that expect high financial growth are relying on technology to help attract and retain clients and increase service offerings.
Izzy Silva, Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting APAC Managing Director, said, “The 2023 Accounting Industry Survey results reinforce that the adoption of technology and cloud-based solutions that improve workflows and employee effectiveness will continue to be key for accounting firms seeking to achieve their strategic goals. While sustainable revenue growth remains key for firms across the region, finding solutions that create the capacity to enable this growth is critical.”