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Back to the Future – Virtusa Creates Tech Trend Almanac to Help Companies Improve Investment ROI

Almanac analyses data from 40 analyst, consultant, and futurologist reports to assess a range of trends – from our ‘digital predestination’ to the introduction of ‘upgraded humans’

Virtusa xLabs, the global consultancy’s digital innovation hub, has identified the top 10 tech trends likely to impact business within the next five years.

The xLabs team analysed 40 reports from leading analysts, futurologists, consultants, and industry influencers – including the likes of Gartner, Fast Co, and Forrester – and correlated the data to identify the top themes and innovations that will impact digital transformation within enterprise. The results revealed that alongside areas such as blockchain and AI, the future will see ‘emotional quotients’, ‘engineered empathy’, and ‘transcendent realties’, among others, hit businesses hard. The Trend Almanac details each of these evolutions; taking into account both the human and tech perspectives to help businesses prepare for the incoming wave of digital disruption and know where best to invest.

“The Almanac – inspired by Marty McFly and co. – offers a view into the future that can help our clients make informed investment decisions,” said Senthil Ravindran, EVP & Global Head, xLabs at Virtusa. “Our focus at xLabs is wholly on innovation, so it is vital to stay on top of emerging technologies we can experiment with in the lab. However, we recognise it’s a huge struggle for businesses to stay on top of the mountain of information available. There are so many reports it’s almost impossible for businesses to find one single point of truth – this is what the Almanac addresses. It was evident when analysing all the trend…

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Banking ranked as fourth best sector for customer experience, according to annual CX report

The banking sector has secured its spot as the fourth best sector for customer service and experience for the second year in a row, according to an annual customer experience report from service design consultancy, Engine. Since 2014, there has been a 29% increase in customers naming banking as the best sector for customer service and experience.

The Customer Experience Report 2018 has also named Lloyds Bank as the second-best brand for customer experience losing to Amazon (1st) but beating Santander (=7th), Barclays (=7th), Nationwide (=7th) and Halifax (=10th).

However, as banks continue to invest in technology to automate customer service, a mere 15% of consumers want brands to focus on innovations such as voice assistants – and just under a fifth of respondents (17%) want businesses to use their data to create personalised recommendations.

Instead, 62% of customers said businesses should focus on launching ‘simpler, flexible, and more affordable customer service options’.

Joe Heapy, co-founder of Engine, commented:

“Over the last year, the rise of really well-designed banking apps has made the more established financial institutions step up their customer experience game. A long-term investment in digital capabilities across the sector means that banking is now consistently ranked as one of the top five sectors for service and experience. However, banks need to prioritise future investment in customer service infrastructure carefully. Only 22% of respondents say that they want automation. Customers certainly do not want automation at the expense…

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Atul Dixit, CEO, Prudential Finance, speaks with Global Banking and Finance Review on The Best Consumer Finance Company for Customer Service, Vietnam 2018.

What particular highlights are you proud of?

The award recognizes Prudential Finance’s high standards of customer experience and best-in-class services which are embedded in various initiatives launched last year to optimize the company’s resources and infrastructure.

We were commended for understanding the value that customer experience has on building the Brand’s positive reputation and, ultimately, the difference it makes to our business success and customer success.

How did it feel for being the best consumer finance company for customer service, Vietnam 2018?

We are honored to be named The Best Consumer Finance Company for Customer Service of the Year 2018. This award highlights our long-term commitment to building a culture of providing excellent service to our customers throughout their journey with Prudential Finance. Driving customer satisfaction and delivering impactful customer experience are core to our continued business success. The new digital era has changed the way we communicate with each other; however Prudential Finance takes it as an opportunity and a priority to innovate in order to meet the fast changing needs of our over 500,000 Vietnamese customers.

Tell us how you’ve approached change?

2017 was a turning point for Prudential Finance in terms of customer communications and experiences. …

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Private equity capital calls shrink to lowest level on record

Private equity fund distributions have outweighed capital calls by a significant and striking degree over the past five years.

Data from eFront, the world’s leading alternative investment management software and solutions provider, shows that since the start of 2013, distributions from private equity funds have remained at historically high levels, while capital calls have fallen steadily to their lowest level on record, when measured as a proportion of committed capital.

Key findings:

  • Global private equity distributions have exceeded capital calls significantly for the past five years.
  • Positive net distributions even accelerated in 2017, possibly leading to significant funds commitments in 2018.
  • The current phase is exceptional in its duration and the size of the gap (Figure 1).
  • Strikingly, the pace of capital deployment – measured as a proportion of committed capital – is slower than during the worst of the 2007-09 crisis.
  • This slow deployment is evidence of investment discipline by fund managers, and a signifier of a build-up of dry powder.
  • This could translate into a further extension of investment periods for active funds.
  • Since 2014 capital calls have remain below the lowest point of 2009 and are minimal since 2015.

Figure 1 – Global private equity capital calls and distributions by quarter

Source: eFront INSIGHT, As of Q4, 2017

Cash flows are of particular importance in private equity, as they provide an unbiased perspective on the dynamics of the sector. While the balance has shifted between capital calls and distributions over the past two decades, from 2013 onwards distributions have significantly and durably exceeded capital calls.

If net distributions are assumed to be a reliable and valid proxy for short-term fund commitments, then the record net distributions of 2017 foretell significant commitments in 2018. This assumes that fund managers will raise large funds able to accommodate this cash inflow.

The current phase is exceptional in its duration and the size of the gap: five years of significant…

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UK research throws accuracy of mileage expenses into doubt

Almost two thirds of respondents do not query mileage expenses in the sign-off process 

Research from SAP Concur, the world’s leading provider of expense, travel and invoice management solutions, has cast doubt over the accuracy of thousands of mileage expense claims across the UK.

After surveying hundreds of business employees responsible for authorising claims, a worryingly high 59 per cent of respondents stated that mileage expenses were rarely, or never, queried in the sign-off process.

Further reinforcing the idea that something is not quite right when it comes to expense procedures, 77 per cent of those asked with the authority to sign off mileage expenses considered themselves to be very or rather confident in the accuracy of mileage claims, despite the low levels of mileage queries.

SAP Concur data shows that last year in the UK $222 million was spent on mileage reimbursement. Despite this, just 20 per cent often analyse mileage claims submitted, 50 per cent from time-to-time and just over a quarter (30 per cent) rarely or never. With 41 per cent of respondents saying that employees can make more than 50 mileage claims per week, businesses are potentially reimbursing too much and, in addition, leaving themselves open to fraudulent activity.

Dafydd Llewellyn, MD of SMB, UK & France, SAP Concur commented: “Millions are spent on reimbursing travellers’ mileage expenses every year – and yet it would seem that businesses are taking what can at best be…

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