Eye EYE (c) 2016 Pixabay / cocoparisienne https://pixabay.com/en/eye-blue-eye-iris-pupil-face-1173863/ Duda published the 2024 AI Outlook for Digital Agency Leaders report. Celonis published the 2023 Process Optimisation report. 83% of business leaders say that processes are the greatest lever for value and the fastest lever for change. Digitate published a new report that studies IT leaders’ automation goals and roadmaps.

New research from Infosys Knowledge Institute suggests US Companies are ramping up investments in generative AI (GenAI) and realising returns. European companies are also investing in generative AI (GenAI). However, they are taking a more cautious path than their North American counterparts. Distil.ai crunched Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) weekend data and shared its findings for the UK and US markets.

Adobe

Adobe announced the 2024 Adobe Creative Trends Report, which showcases the trending visual styles and themes that are set to scale in demand and make a creative impact throughout 2024. The report identifies four design trends and aesthetics that will dominate digital content and influence photography, videography, social media content, blogs and more — in 2024; they are ‘Calming Rhythms,’ ‘Wonder and Joy,’ ‘Dynamic Dimensions’ and ‘The New Nostalgia.’

Brenda Milis, Principal of Consumer and Creative Insights at Adobe commented, “As we head into a new year, the creative landscape mirrors our disruptive, rapidly changing world. This year’s creative trends are especially indicative of how both creators and consumers are craving visuals that inspire and reflect the endless possibilities of the imagination.”

ADP

ADP published the November ADP National Employment Report produced by the ADP Research Institute in collaboration with the Stanford Digital Economy Lab (“Stanford Lab”). It found that private sector employment increased by 103,000 jobs in November, and annual pay was up 5.6% year-over-year.

Nela Richardson, Chief Economist at ADP, commented, “Restaurants and hotels were the biggest job creators during the post-pandemic recovery. But that boost is behind us, and the return to trend in leisure and hospitality suggests the economy as a whole will see more moderate hiring and wage growth in 2024.”

Alation

Alation released the The State of Data Culture Maturity: Research Report. The report highlights the pivotal role of data culture in business success.

  • 89% of respondents with strong data leadership say their organizations met or exceeded revenue goals in the past year.
  • 70% of respondents shared that their organizations are focused on improving governance in the coming year.
  • 56% describe the direction of their data governance strategy as “offensive” (enabling data usage to support business growth) rather than “defensive” (protecting the business from risk and preventing regulatory infringements).

The research also underscores the importance of data search & discovery, data literacy, and data leadership to support a thriving data culture.

Julie Smith, Director of Data & Analytics at Alation, said, “It is poetic how this report uses data to illustrate the value of being data-driven. Fostering a data-centric culture in organizations involves providing individuals with essential tools to search and access reliable data efficiently. This enhances innovation and agility, ultimately granting organizations a sought-after competitive edge. With these advantages to be won, organizations need a clear and fast way to plot a path forward in their data maturity.”

Alteryx

Alteryx released independent research titled Defining the Enterprise of the Future. It reveals how accessible AI technology will change how organisations operate.

Key findings include:

  • 82% say that AI is already impacting what their organization can achieve, while 52% state they will invest in advanced technologies such as AI to respond to the changing market environment.
  • 57% cite that AI uptake will become pervasive across all sectors and business functions, and 48% are excited about the combination of automation and AI in data analysis.
  • 89% believe that regulations and standards around AI usage (including the use of generative AI) should be developed within their sector as it transforms the business landscape.
  • 91% say that such policies would help businesses implement AI responsibly, and 49% cite the possibility of legal and ethical consequences from not having an ethical AI framework in place.
  • 72% state that it is more important for their employees to be multi-skilled than specialized in a specific area. 61% named “creativity” the skill humans will contribute in a market environment shaped by AI, followed by “emotion” and “critical thinking”.
  • 62% believe the advanced tech talent landscape will be characterized by a talent surplus over the next three years.

Trevor Schulze, CIO at Alteryx, said, “While the future tech stack will require many emerging technologies, it will only be as good as your workforce’s ability to use and benefit from it. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to help businesses understand customer needs, drive efficiencies, and find their competitive edge. Only by empowering the entire workforce to take full advantage of the technologies to harness the data, compute, and automation resources available will you unlock full ROI potential and business value.”

Avalara

Avalara released findings from a new survey of UK-based businesses around the complexity of US sales tax. 60% of UK business leaders are deciding not to expand into a new market due to the complexity of dealing with additional compliance. 80% of UK business leaders believe that tax complexity is one of the greatest burdens facing their organisation. British businesses are faced with time costs and penalties as they struggle to manage the complexity.

Alex Baulf, Vice President of Global Indirect Tax at Avalara, said, “International sales tax complexity continues to stump UK businesses and is causing many to hold on plans to sell their goods and services into the US, which is hurting the economy on both sides of the pond.

“Thankfully, there is a solution that does not involve throwing tea or other goods into the Thames. UK businesses can save time and money by turning to automated tax and compliance solutions like Avalara that are designed to streamline tax calculations, tax filing, and tax document management — removing international sales tax complexities and freeing up time for growth and expansion.”

Avalara also found that it is not only the British that suffer from the complexity of US sales taxes. 70% of US businesses report that sales tax complexity is one of the biggest burdens on their companies. 69% of small to medium businesses found that sales tax complexity looms large with far-reaching impacts on their bottom line.

With 8,700 sales and use tax rate changes across the US reported thus far into 2023, that’s nearly 30 a day, it is no surprise that organisations struggle to manage.

BlackLine

A BlackLine survey of 1,399 C-suite and F&A professionals around the world (US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Australia, and Singapore) found that leaders are willing to embrace technology such as cloud computing (80%), generative AI (78%), and new kinds of AI (76%) to enhance financial operations. However, the skills shortage is a barrier, with 28% saying, not having the right skills on their F&A team today or the ability to develop them would be a problem for the adoption of AI and other new technologies.

Therese Tucker, Co-CEO of BlackLine, said, “Financial automation technology is now a necessity for F&A departments, and businesses are excited and optimistic about how technology like AI can further streamline processes and augment existing systems. While there is understandable apprehension in the adoption of emerging technologies, therein also lies a valuable opportunity for F&A leaders to enable the upskilling of their teams through automation.

“Business leaders must continue to proactively embrace available technologies to reduce time spent on manual tasks, cut down on errors in financial data, and provide visibility that will help them make faster, smarter, and more informed decisions.”

BlueYonder

BlueYonder announced the results of its 2023 holiday shipping survey, which polled US consumers on their anticipated holiday shopping decisions, given shipping deadlines.

Most consumers (59%) plan to use online shopping for most of their holiday purchases. As for the timing of their shopping, half (50%) of respondents believe placing an online order by Dec. 15 will ensure their packages arrive by Christmas. Shoppers are being frugal, with 48% of respondents expressing an unwillingness to pay for expedited shipping. 38% reported a preference for in-store (versus online) shopping this holiday season due to more flexible return options, with 35% specifying that the availability of free in-store returns was a key priority for them.

Shannon Wu-Lebron, Corporate Vice President of global Retail Industry Strategy Blue Yonder, said, “The survey results tell us that consumers are well aware of the benefits and potential drawbacks of the multitude of shopping options. Whether visiting a store in-person, buying online, or using BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store), consumers are thoughtfully considering several determining factors: price, convenience, and timing.

“Online shopping was previously considered the pinnacle of convenience; however, today, 48% of consumers believe delivery estimates to be potentially unreliable, and 38% are afraid their packages will be damaged en route. For some consumers, the risk is worth the benefit — others will make different choices.”

Deloitte

Deloitte published its 15th tech trends report.

The key takeaways were:

  • Generative AI is the tech story of the year, but over focusing on any single technology risks failing to see the forest for the trees.
  • Leading organizations are balancing new investments in emerging technologies with redoubled efforts to strengthen foundational infrastructure, core systems and technology teams.
  • While efficiency gains are low-hanging fruit, businesses cannot “shrink their way to success.” Pioneers are instead seeking to differentiate by using emerging technologies to catalyze growth, sustainability and innovation.

Bill Briggs, Chief Technology Officer and Principal of Deloitte Consulting LLP said, “Emerging technology is having a moment, but to reap the benefits of this revolution, organizations must look beyond any one technology domain as the singular hero of the story of their future. The convergence of Generative AI with advances in the spatial web, industrial metaverse, and specialized hardware is redefining possibilities for transforming industries.

“But this transformation is not just about the technology; it’s about empowering engineers, fostering responsible innovation, and staying ahead of next-gen cyber threats. These trends are not isolated islands; they are a unified force propelling us into a new era of tech-enabled growth. And pioneering leadership will use this moment to lay deep technology roots that stay planted even as landscapes continue to change.”

New research from global asset management strategy consultant Casey Quirk, a Deloitte business, listed traditional and alternatives asset managers saw their growth trends converge in Q3 2023. After multiple quarters of alternatives managers substantially outshining their traditional counterparts.

Traditional asset managers saw 2% median revenue growth, suffered a -3% quarter-over-quarter decline in assets under management (AUM), and 4% median profit growth from Q2 2023 to Q3 2023. Meanwhile, median revenue growth at alternatives managers was flat. In contrast, median AUM grew 1% median, and median profit growth was 1% from Q2 2023 to Q3 2023. A slowdown from stronger quarter-over-quarter growth numbers earlier in 2023.

Amanda Nelson, Principal at Casey Quirk, said, “Alternatives managers have outperformed their more traditional counterparts in revenue growth and profitability since Q1 2021, but alternatives managers are now beginning to experience some of the same pain that their traditional counterparts have been feeling for some time now.

“Alternatives managers have described a significantly more challenging environment in 2023 than in previous years. Within the alternatives space, managers that saw the healthiest financial performance and fastest fundraising were those with strong private credit capabilities.”

Ivanti

Ivanti announced the results of its Getting Employees on Board for the AI Revolution Report as part of Ivanti’s Digital Employee Experience series.

Key findings included:

  • Office workers are 6x more likely to say generative AI benefits employers than employees.
  • 36% of IT workers are very concerned that generative AI tools will take their jobs in the next five years – 17 points higher than office workers.
  • Company leaders report that the top benefits of AI in the organization are automating mundane tasks (62%) and higher employee productivity (60%).
  • Just 1 in 10 office workers say AI will deliver “high improvement” in productivity.

Dr. Srinivas Mukkamala, Chief Product Officer at Ivanti, said, “Although companies are racing to adopt new use cases for AI, their employees are divided about what it means for their careers. Companies can’t afford to shy away from this subject and preaching all the benefits of AI isn’t enough.

“Executives need to be clear in their communication about AI strategy and how it impacts the future of the employee experience, productivity and career progression. Without employee support and oversight of generative AI, companies will be slow to leverage the gains and may have unintended consequences without the needed human oversight.”

NTT

NTT published its annual sustainability report.

Key highlights include:

  • Achieved a 21% reduction in total emissions in FY22, resulting in the saving of over 1.6 million tonnes of carbon.
  • NTT attained external validation from the Science Based Targets initiative for its ambitious net-zero emissions commitment in line with the Paris Agreement.
  • Pioneering data waste assessment solutions to minimize data clutter, thereby reducing data centre needs and emissions.
  • NTT implemented cooling technologies in our data centres to enhance sustainability amid increased computing demands.
  • Committed to community engagement through volunteer programs, contributing over 2,825 days of volunteer time and substantial waste collection during World Cleanup Day.
  • NTT gained recognition for fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion within our organization, including awards for gender diversity and commitment to disabled veterans.

Pipedrive

Pipedrive announced its Marketplace yearly results and most popular apps of 2023. The data showed that small businesses using software integrations to automate tasks across the revenue cycle win about 1.5 times more deals than companies that have not adopted any third-party tools.

In the first 11 months of 2023, over 134,000 users installed at least one application from the Pipedrive marketplace. The top three apps were Zapier, Google Meet and Zoom Meetings.

Other key findings included:

  • Companies leveraging integrations generate roughly five times more deals
  • On average, 41% of all deals are facilitated through integrations
  • The average win ratio for businesses utilizing integrations stands at 47%
  • The adoption of integrations not only reduces the time spent on deals but also accelerates the winning process by 12%

Pluralsight

Pluralsight published the Pluralsight AI skills report: The gap between AI Investments and worker readiness.

Key findings included:

  • Executive investments in AI outpace employee proficiency
  • There is a need to build AI literacy across organisations
  • Establishing effective AI upskilling programs remains a challenge

Aaron Skonnard, CEO and Co-Founder of Pluralsight, commented, “AI is transforming the way that business is done, but many companies are behind the curve when it comes to preparing and training their employees for AI because they don’t understand the skills that are needed to deal with AI effectively. This all points to the critical need for companies to take a more active role in developing the skills of their current workforce.” 

QuickBooks

QuickBooks has revealed the personal and business impacts of Self Assessment season on UK small businesses and sole traders as the 31st January 2024 deadline looms closer. Despite having up to 10 months’ notice to file their Self Assessment tax return, nearly half (46%) of owners are holding off filing until 2-3 months before the deadline. In fact, a quarter (25%) of the millions of small business owners across the country will file in the last month.

The findings make an interesting and amusing read as people avoid filing their taxes as long as possible. 25% prefer to listen to Mariah Carey on a loop, and 21% would rather spend time with their in-laws!

Pauline Green, Head of Product Compliance & Programs at Intuit QuickBooks UK, comments, “In most cases, the idea of filing your Self Assessment tax return is much worse than actually doing it. Our research shows that doing things differently can build confidence.

“73% of sole traders and small businesses said that in order to submit their tax return earlier, they’d need to understand how to prepare their documentation in bite-sized chunks. 76% also agreed that having an easy-to-use business tool where they can track details in an app would help.

“Starting early and being consistent is critical. With potentially tougher economic times ahead, using the tools and technology available will ultimately give UK business owners the confidence to spend their time on what they love doing – running and growing their businesses.”

Rimini Street

Rimini Street announced the findings of the Tech Research Asia Survey Report, “Operational Excellence is a Key Part of System Modernisation.” It examines the challenges, opportunities, and priorities of CIOs and CTOs in their modernization journey.

Key findings include:

  • 98% of survey respondents are pursuing digital transformation (DX), but many organizations lack a comprehensive vision for their digital future and fall into “DX fatigue.”
  • 88% of survey respondents are running an IT modernization program; however, more than half say they are behind schedule (61%) and over budget (68%).
  • Nearly 60% of respondents say that their modernization programs were not succeeding beyond marginal improvements for the business.
  • 81% of organizations believe that hybrid IT is a key approach to IT modernization.

David Rowe, EVP of Global Transformation and Chief Product Officer at Rimini Street, commented, “The research indicates that there is significant room for improvement when it comes to modernization programs, and many organizations believe they can – and should – extract greater ROI out of their existing core systems. Enterprise software system roadmaps have been dictated by the vendors, leaving little to no control to the organization implementing them.

“This is increasingly changing, and we are seeing more leaders take their roadmap into their own hands to achieve better outcomes by optimizing existing systems tailored to their business goals, innovating around the edges, and outsourcing maintenance and support.” 

UKG

UKG published the November 2023 Workforce Activity Report. It found that November was the strongest month for workforce activity since June. Shift work increased by 0.4%, with gains across most sectors signalling more strength for the remarkably steady labour market.

Noah Yosif, Lead Labor Economist at UKG, said, “November was ‘all gravy’ for the labor market, continuing its upward trend and showing the strongest workforce activity since June. There were, however, fewer shifts in retail and hospitality during the Thanksgiving/Black Friday holiday for the fourth consecutive year, as retailers adapt to changing consumer preferences accelerated by the pandemic. Still, with steady gains month to month, the labor market remains strong overall.”

Research from the week beginning 27th November 2023

 

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