Connect with us

Business

3 REASONS WHY BUSINESSES GET STUCK AT THE STARTING GATE OF DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Published

on

3 REASONS WHY BUSINESSES GET STUCK AT THE STARTING GATE OF DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

By Nick Pike, VP UK and Ireland, OutSystems

If any more evidence were needed that a fire has been lit under digital transformation, then the prediction that the enterprise mobility market will to explode to $500bn by 2020 is it. Fuelling this blaze is customer and employee demand for a seamless mobile digital experience in all aspects of their home and working lives. For businesses, it’s a case of adapt or be left in the dust, as they face challenges from disruptive industry entrants and innovators. IDC predicts that, by 2020, half of the Global 2000 enterprises will see the lion’s share of their businesses depending on their ability to create digitally-enhanced products, services and experiences. The deadline is short and the opportunities are huge, so why are some corporate organisations stuck at the starting gate?

Reason 1: The fear factor

Digital transformation means just what it says: fundamentally changing the way enterprises do business from top to bottom. That’s a daunting prospect for many executive teams in large corporations, despite the promised rewards. While workers at the coalface of the business may be crying out for streamlined mobile business processes and apps that will make them more efficient, the drive for large scale strategic change has to come from the top. Human and financial resources need to be allocated and the whole business lined up in support of the process so that digital transformation is viewed as a strategic investment in the future competitiveness of the company, rather than an expense.

Fear can also arise from concerns that already overstretched IT departments will struggle to cope with the new demands of application development and rollout. In fact, Gartner fed this particular fear in 2015, when predicting that by the end of 2017 the demand for enterprise-grade mobile apps would have grown at least five times faster than the ability of internal IT departments to deliver them. However, in the two years since that prediction was made, the rise in rapid application development platforms has reduced the burden on IT departments and shortened the time to launch. So, this particular fear can now be faced with a degree of confidence.

Reason 2: User resistance

Large companies with employees that are used to a slower pace of life can find it hard to adapt to the speed of digital transformation. They can struggle to align vital employee education programmes with the rollout timeframe that can be achieved. It’s no good having a fantastically efficient new system if users are still hankering after the legacy technology – warts and all – and struggling to embrace their new environment. Therefore, user education is a critical part of the transformation process.

OutSystems customer Aravind Kumar encountered this challenge when migrating his consulting company from a collection of 50 IBM Lotus Notes applications to a suite of new applications that were developed using the OutSystems low-code platform. He told us: “Getting people to shift their thinking was one of the greatest hurdles we had to overcome. In fact, even as we were building new applications, people were saying we should try to recreate them just as they were in Lotus Notes!”

Fortunately Aravind was able to bring his users with him on a journey to discover the efficiency and accessibility of the new applications his team had developed. The key point is that, to be successful in digital transformation, businesses need to invest in the human factor as well as in the technological expertise in order to realise the full benefits and mitigate resistance.

Reason 3: Letting the past dictate the future

Every large enterprise has a past. Unlocking information and freeing business processes from legacy IT systems can be one of the biggest stumbling blocks when it comes to digital transformation. However, it is important to recognise that, as I’ve said before, legacy systems exist because they work – they just don’t have the agility that the digital world requires. Establishing when legacy systems should be retired and when they should be incorporated into mobile business processes is a key challenge and evidence suggests that enterprises are mixing it up. A recent report by VDC research found that 53% of large organisations (organisations with >1000 employees) said that the most common development projects they worked on involved building net-new applications from the ground up; however 43% stated that they were modernising legacy applications.

The elegant solution is to find a way to leverage the legacy systems of the past without letting them crush the ambition and potential of the future. An advantage of the OutSystems low-code platform is its ability to integrate with legacy systems, even if they are unique to the customer, meaning that prior investment is not wasted.

As IDC neatly put it “Digital transformation starts with mobility. Organisations with untethered business processes and ubiquitously accessible IT resources will be better positioned to compete and thrive in the digital economy.” This is why organisations need to address the challenges of fear, user resistance and integrating legacy systems to get out of the starting gate onto the competitive racetrack of digital transformation.

Business

Euro zone business activity shrank in January as lockdowns hit services

Published

on

Euro zone business activity shrank in January as lockdowns hit services 1

By Jonathan Cable

LONDON (Reuters) – Economic activity in the euro zone shrank markedly in January as lockdown restrictions to contain the coronavirus pandemic hit the bloc’s dominant service industry hard, a survey showed.

With hospitality and entertainment venues forced to remain closed across much of the continent the survey highlighted a sharp contraction in the services industry but also showed manufacturing remained strong as factories largely remained open.

IHS Markit’s flash composite PMI, seen as a good guide to economic health, fell further below the 50 mark separating growth from contraction to 47.5 in January from December’s 49.1. A Reuters poll had predicted a fall to 47.6.

“A double-dip recession for the euro zone economy is looking increasingly inevitable as tighter COVID-19 restrictions took a further toll on businesses in January,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.

“Some encouragement comes from the downturn being less severe than in the spring of last year, reflecting the ongoing relative resilience of manufacturing, rising demand for exported goods and the lockdown measures having been less stringent on average than last year.”

The bloc’s economy was expected to grow 0.6% this quarter, a Reuters poll showed earlier this week, and will return to its pre-COVID-19 level within two years on hopes the rollout of vaccines will allow a return to some form of normality. [ECILT/EU]

A PMI covering the bloc’s dominant service industry dropped to 45.0 from 46.4, exceeding expectations in a Reuters poll that had predicted a steeper fall to 44.5 and still a long way from historic lows at the start of the pandemic.

With activity still in decline and restrictions likely to be in place for some time yet, services firms were forced to chop their charges. The output price index fell to 46.9 from 48.4, its lowest reading since June.

That will be disappointing for policymakers at the European Central Bank – who on Thursday left policy unchanged – as uncomfortably low inflation has been a thorn in the ECB’s side for years.

Factory activity remained strong and the manufacturing PMI held well above breakeven at 54.7, albeit weaker than December’s 55.2. The Reuters poll had predicted a drop to 54.5.

An index measuring output which feeds into the composite PMI fell to 54.5 from 56.3.

But despite strong demand factories again cut headcount, as they have every month since May 2019. The employment index fell to 48.9 from 49.2.

As immunisation programmes are being ramped up after a slow start in Europe optimism about the coming year remained strong. The composite future output index dipped to 63.6 from December’s near three-year high of 64.5.

“The roll out of vaccines has meanwhile helped sustain a strong degree of confidence about prospects for the year ahead, though the recent rise in virus case numbers has caused some pull-back in optimism,” Williamson said.

(Reporting by Jonathan Cable; Editing by Toby Chopra)

Continue Reading

Business

Volkswagen’s profit halves, but deliveries recovering

Published

on

Volkswagen's profit halves, but deliveries recovering 2

BERLIN (Reuters) – Volkswagen reported a nearly 50% drop in its 2020 adjusted operating profit on Friday but said car deliveries had recovered strongly in the fourth quarter, lifting its shares.

The world’s largest carmaker said full-year operating profit, excluding costs related to its diesel emissions scandal, came in at 10 billion euros ($12.2 billion), compared with 19.3 billion in 2019.

Net cash flow at its automotive division was around 6 billion euros and car deliveries picked up towards the end of the year, the German group said in a statement.

“The deliveries to customers of the Volkswagen Group continued to recover strongly in the fourth quarter and even exceeded the deliveries of the third quarter 2020,” it said.

Volkswagen’s shares, which had been down as much as 2%, turned positive and were up 1.5% at 164.32 euros by 1158 GMT.

Sales at the automaker rose 1.7% in December, at a time when new car registrations in Europe dropped nearly 4%, data from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association showed.

Like its rivals, Volkswagen is facing several challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic as well as a global shortage of chips needed for production.

It also sees tough competition in developing electrified and self-driving cars. The merger of Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot-owner PSA to create the world’s fourth-biggest automaker Stellantis adds to the pressure.

Volkswagen said on Thursday it missed EU targets on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from its passenger car fleet last year and faces a fine of more than 100 million euros.

The group is expected to release detailed 2020 figures on March 16.

($1 = 0.8215 euros)

(Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Mark Potter)

Continue Reading

Business

Global chip shortage hits China’s bitcoin mining sector

Published

on

Global chip shortage hits China's bitcoin mining sector 3

By Samuel Shen and Alun John

SHANGHAI/HONG KONG (Reuters) – A global chip shortage is choking the production of machines used to “mine” bitcoin, a sector dominated by China, sending prices of the computer equipment soaring as a surge in the cryptocurrency drives demand.

The scramble is pricing out smaller miners and accelerating an industry consolidation that could see deep-pocketed players, many outside China, profit from the bitcoin bull run.

Bitcoin mining is closely watched by traders and users of the world’s largest cryptocurrency, as the amount of bitcoin they make and sell into the market affects its supply and price.

Trading around $32,000 on Friday, bitcoin is down 20% from the record highs it struck two weeks ago but still up some 700% from its March low of $3,850.

“There are not enough chips to support the production of mining rigs,” said Alex Ao, vice president of Innosilicon, a chip designer and major provider of mining equipment.

Bitcoin miners use increasingly powerful, specially-designed computer equipment, or rigs, to verify bitcoin transactions in a process which produces newly minted bitcoins.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co and Samsung Electronics Co, the main producers of specially designed chips used in mining rigs, would also prioritise supplies to sectors such as consumer electronics, whose chip demand is seen as more stable, Ao said.

The global chip shortage is disrupting production across a global array of products, including automobiles, laptops and mobile phones. [L1N2JP2MY]

Mining’s profitability depends on bitcoin’s price, the cost of the electricity used to power the rig, the rig’s efficiency, and how much computing power is needed to mine a bitcoin.

Demand for rigs has boomed as bitcoin prices soared, said Gordon Chen, co-founder of cryptocurrency asset manager and miner GMR.

“When gold prices jump, you need more shovels. When milk prices rise, you want more cows.”

CONSOLIDATION

Lei Tong, managing director of financial services at Babel Finance, which lends to miners, said that “almost all major miners are scouring the market for rigs, and they are willing to pay high prices for second-hand machines.”

“Purchase volumes from North America have been huge, squeezing supply in China,” he said, adding that many miners are placing orders for products that can only be delivered in August and September.

Most of the products of Bitmain, one of the biggest rig makers in China, are sold out, according the company’s website.

A sales manager at Jiangsu Haifanxin Technology, a rig merchant, said prices on the second-hand market have jumped 50% to 60% over the past year, while prices of new equipment more than doubled. High-end, second-hand mining machines were quoted around $5,000.

“It’s natural if you look at how much bitcoin has risen,” said the manager, who identified himself on by his surname Li.

The cryptocurrency surge is affecting who is able to mine.

The increasing cost of investment is eliminating smaller players, said Raymond Yuan, founder of Atlas Mining, which owns one of China’s biggest mining business.

“Institutional investors benefit from both large scale and proficiency in management whereas retail investors who couldn’t keep up will be weeded out,” said Yuan, whose company has invested over $500 million in cryptocurrency mining and plans to keep investing heavily.

Many of the larger players growing their mining operations are based outside of China, often in North America and the Middle East, said Wayne Zhao, chief operating officer of crypto research company TokenInsight.

“China used to have low electricity costs as one core advantage, but as the bitcoin price rises now, that has gone,” he said.

Zhao said that while previously bitcoin mining in China used to account for as much as 80% of the world’s total, it now accounted for around 50%.

(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Alun John; Editing by Vidya Ranganathan and William Mallard)

Continue Reading
Editorial & Advertiser disclosureOur website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.

Call For Entries

Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2021
2021 Awards now open. Click Here to Nominate

Latest Articles

Top 8 Tax Scams to Watch Out For 4 Top 8 Tax Scams to Watch Out For 5
Finance9 hours ago

Top 8 Tax Scams to Watch Out For

It is tax time and that means finding the best way to file your taxes and to get a refund...

CEO Hisham Itani and Resource Group Recognized in the 2020 Global Banking & Finance Awards® 6 CEO Hisham Itani and Resource Group Recognized in the 2020 Global Banking & Finance Awards® 7
Technology10 hours ago

CEO Hisham Itani and Resource Group Recognized in the 2020 Global Banking & Finance Awards®

Global Banking & Finance Review has awarded Hisham Itani the Chairman and CEO of Resource Group, Technology CEO of the...

Euro zone business activity shrank in January as lockdowns hit services 9 Euro zone business activity shrank in January as lockdowns hit services 10
Business13 hours ago

Euro zone business activity shrank in January as lockdowns hit services

By Jonathan Cable LONDON (Reuters) – Economic activity in the euro zone shrank markedly in January as lockdown restrictions to...

Volkswagen's profit halves, but deliveries recovering 11 Volkswagen's profit halves, but deliveries recovering 12
Business13 hours ago

Volkswagen’s profit halves, but deliveries recovering

BERLIN (Reuters) – Volkswagen reported a nearly 50% drop in its 2020 adjusted operating profit on Friday but said car...

Global chip shortage hits China's bitcoin mining sector 13 Global chip shortage hits China's bitcoin mining sector 14
Business13 hours ago

Global chip shortage hits China’s bitcoin mining sector

By Samuel Shen and Alun John SHANGHAI/HONG KONG (Reuters) – A global chip shortage is choking the production of machines...

Iran's oil exports rise 'significantly' despite sanctions, minister says 15 Iran's oil exports rise 'significantly' despite sanctions, minister says 16
Business14 hours ago

Iran’s oil exports rise ‘significantly’ despite sanctions, minister says

DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) – Iran’s oil exports have climbed in recent months and its sales of petroleum products to foreign buyers...

Nissan to source more UK batteries as part of Brexit deal 'opportunity' 17 Nissan to source more UK batteries as part of Brexit deal 'opportunity' 18
Business14 hours ago

Nissan to source more UK batteries as part of Brexit deal ‘opportunity’

By Costas Pitas LONDON (Reuters) – Nissan will source more batteries from Britain to avoid tariffs on electric cars after...

Muted recovery for UK retailers in December ends worst year on record 19 Muted recovery for UK retailers in December ends worst year on record 20
Business14 hours ago

Muted recovery for UK retailers in December ends worst year on record

By David Milliken and Andy Bruce LONDON (Reuters) – British retailers struggled to recover in December from a partial coronavirus...

Chinese phone maker Honor partners with key chip suppliers after Huawei split 21 Chinese phone maker Honor partners with key chip suppliers after Huawei split 22
Business14 hours ago

Chinese phone maker Honor partners with key chip suppliers after Huawei split

By David Kirton SHENZHEN, China (Reuters) – Chinese budget phone maker Honor said on Friday it had signed partnerships with...

Oil down $1 as China COVID-19 cases trigger clampdowns 23 Oil down $1 as China COVID-19 cases trigger clampdowns 24
Business14 hours ago

Oil down $1 as China COVID-19 cases trigger clampdowns

By Noah Browning LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices fell on Friday, retreating further from 11-month highs hit last week, weighed...

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now