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FOUR OUT OF FIVE BUSINESSES SAY FAILURE TO COMPLETE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION INITIATIVES WILL NEGATIVELY IMPACT REVENUE IN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS

FOUR OUT OF FIVE BUSINESSES SAY FAILURE TO COMPLETE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION INITIATIVES WILL NEGATIVELY IMPACT REVENUE IN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS

Integration Challenges Are Slowing Down Digital Transformation Efforts for Majority of Companies

MuleSoft Inc. (NYSE: MULE), provider of the leading platform for building application networks, today announced the findings of its Connectivity Benchmark Report 2018 on digital transformation initiatives and the business impact of APIs. This year’s study specifically looks at how IT decision makers (ITDMs) are handling digital transformation, IT operations and change management.

The global survey of 650 ITDMs reveals that four out of five businesses (81 percent) are expected to see a negative impact on revenue in the next 12 months if they fail to complete digital transformation initiatives. While IT budgets have remained relatively static, ITDMs have seen project volumes grow, on average, by 27 percent. As a result, IT departments are being stretched even thinner. Most concerning, the research reveals an IT delivery gap, with two-thirds of ITDMs admitting they were unable to deliver all projects asked of them last year.

Among the key results of the survey:

Integration headaches are creating an IT delivery gap and hindering innovation

One of the main contributors to the growing IT delivery gap is integration, which continues to be a significant drain on time, budget and resources. The survey results show the vast majority (89 percent) of ITDMs believe that integration challenges are slowing or hindering digital transformation within their organizations.

  • According to Gartner, “Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.7 trillion in 2018, an increase of 4.5 percent from 2017.”* Based on our survey results, organizations are spending nearly a quarter (22 percent) of their annual IT budgets on integration and thus could equate to over $800 billion spent on integration in 2018.
  • On average, organizations are using 1,020 individual applications across their business. However, on average, a relatively small number (29 percent) of these applications are currently integrated or connected together.
  • A significant number (81 percent) of ITDMs admit that point-to-point integration has created some of the biggest headaches their organizations have ever seen. This is clearly a source of frustration for many ITDMs; in fact, at least 80 percent agree “point-to-point integration must die in the next five years if organizations are to reduce costs, deliver on business needs faster, remain competitive, deliver innovation faster, and extract more value from data.”

“When it comes to digital transformation, it is no longer a case of ‘if’ but ‘when’ for organizations. However, there is growing impatience at a business level to make the goals of digital transformation a reality right now, as those that fall behind will start to lose revenue and market share fast,” said Ross Mason, founder and vice president of product strategy, MuleSoft. “Today, CIOs and IT decision makers are under a huge amount of pressure to meet business expectations, but it’s clear that they are struggling to keep up. Integration challenges are creating an IT delivery gap, and organizations can no longer afford to let it drain time, resources and budget.”

Inefficient IT operating models are slowing the pace of change

It is clear that organizations need to adopt a more efficient IT operating model. Yet, this is easier said than done as ITDMs continue to face the age-old dilemma of ‘keeping the lights on’ versus innovating. Furthermore, when it comes to building new applications and services, it is very common for development teams to work in isolation, meaning organizations are unable to discover and reuse the assets that have been created.

  • ITDMs continue to spend the majority (63 percent) of their time on “running the business” activity compared to innovation and development projects.
  • 93 percent of ITDMs admit that their application development process could be more efficient.
  • Just a third of organizations’ internal IT software assets and components are available for developers to reuse.83 percent of ITDMs say their organization does not always reuse software assets when it comes to developing new products and services.

API strategies are delivering greater efficiency, innovation and revenue

For organizations to deliver digital transformation and innovate quicker, they need to enable self-serve IT, where the wider business can do more on its own without relying on central IT for each project. By making IT assets discoverable and reusable via APIs, organizations can become more agile and competitive to drive revenue.

  • 93 percent of ITDMs believe that IT self service will be critical to their digital transformation success. From those organizations that own APIs, more than half (58 percent) have been able to leverage them to increase productivity; while nearly half (48 percent) have increased innovation.
  • By leveraging APIs, organizations have been able to increase employee engagement and collaboration (43 percent), meet line-of-business demands quicker (35 percent), increase IT self service (35 percent) and decrease operational costs (34 percent).
  • On average, ITDMs reported that a quarter of their organization’s revenue is now generated from APIs and API-related implementations. More than a third (35 percent) of respondents stated over a quarter of their organization’s revenue came from APIs.

Marshall Van Alstyne, MIT digital fellow and Boston University professor, commented: As the digital economy continues to grow, more organizations are starting to realize the benefits of an API strategy and the financial benefits it can bring. MuleSoft’s Connectivity Benchmark Report corroborates our own findings that there is a positive relationship between the intensity of API usage and financial performance.”

Digital transformation isn’t just a matter of buying new software and hoping it solves all problems. In today’s digital economy, more data, applications and devices need to be connected than ever before – yet organizations are suffering from the chronic integration issues of the past. However, through application networks, organizations can make more of their IT assets reusable and make application development much more efficient. This will truly transform how IT functions in the modern enterprise and deliver greater value to the business,” added Mason.

Business

Return to work: Flexibility, preparation and communication are key

Return to work: Flexibility, preparation and communication are key 1

By Matt Weston, Managing Director, Robert Half UK

As lockdown restrictions ease for the foreseeable future, conversations across the business world are starting to turn to how employers can safely and seamlessly prepare for their workforce to return to the office.

Research from Robert Half has found that over half (54%) of employees are worried about working in close proximity to their colleagues, while a similar proportion are eager to return to the office due to loneliness working from home (45%) or concerns about missing out on career opportunities (30%).

Unsurprisingly, after everything companies and their employees have done to successfully adapt their operations and working practices to social distancing rules over the last few months, immediately returning to the old ways of working will likely neither be sensible or practical. With safety being the key priority for the ‘new normal’ of office life – communication, flexibility and preparation should be the main focus areas for employers.

With this in mind, what are the challenges and opportunities that employees anticipate as they prepare for the return to work, beyond government and industry supplied health and safety best practice? Furthermore, how can employers best support their staff during this period?

Keep people at the heart of change

It is important to recognise that your workforce has been working through an intense period of uncertainty and change for months, which can be incredibly unsettling. On top of this, working for weeks in isolation without the usual physical interactions with team members could be potentially detrimental to employee engagement and mental wellbeing.

Having adjusted to keep staff connected with one another from a distance with virtual team building exercises, video calls and daily check-ins, as teams begin working in hybrid models with some in the office and others remote, staff engagement will need to adapt again.

Managing people with greater sensitivity and maintaining positivity throughout will be crucial. To help instil a sense of normality and engagement, encourage maximum collaboration between individuals (in accordance with social distancing rules), and make sure teams feel part of company goals and opportunities through regular meetings and communication – no matter their location.

Continuing to invest in technology and offering flexibility will also be important to ensuring that people can continue to work remotely or on-site, either in accordance with their own wishes or as part of your staggered return-to-office plan.

Communicate, communicate, communicate (and listen)

Reassuring staff that they are able to safely return to the office will require continuous communication. From expectations of the physical office, to expectations of how to operate within hybrid teams, these new expectations and new workplace requirements should be communicated to all staff clearly to avoid confusion.

Regular email updates, updates on the company’s intranet and social media channels, as well as frequent town hall meetings (either online or in a smaller setting) could be key elements of an effective communications approach.

Also, consider a feedback channel to allow staff within the team to offer thoughts on their experience of returning to the office and any suggestions on improving the process. Whether on a company-wide basis or a team-by-team approach, schedule regular check-ins to engage with employees’ questions and concerns.

Maintaining open communication channels with your team will be essential for keeping up employee morale and ensuring clarity. For example, if some employees aren’t comfortable with coming to the office every day, then they should have plenty of opportunities to voice their concerns and have them dealt with promptly, respectfully and fairly.

Staggered return-to-office planning

Depending on the size of business and density of office space, maintaining home working arrangements across teams on an alternating basis could make it easier to implement safe social distancing. This involves select teams working remotely while others work on-site on any given day.

An alternating approach to remote working might also reduce the risk of staff feeling pressured or overwhelmed by an immediate return to the office five-days-a-week. After all, some families might be juggling temporary disruptions to childcare arrangements and public transport systems will likely become crowded again. So, a transitionary period will help everyone adjust to post-lockdown office working.

Finally, if you have developed your technology infrastructure to facilitate remote working, you would do well to continue to leverage these new capabilities as in all probability, a mixture of remote and at-office work will be needed for some time.

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Business

Contis enters RBS Capability and Innovation Fund bid seeking £35 million for disruptive SME growth strategy  

Contis enters RBS Capability and Innovation Fund bid seeking £35 million for disruptive SME growth strategy   2

Leading payments provider, Contis, has applied for two grants from the RBS & BCR Alternative Remedies Package, totalling £35 million.  

Unlike most applicants who will deploy funds through a single brand, Contis is taking a completely different approach. The funding will be used to drive fintech innovation in the UK by developing an off the shelf, B2B electronic and card payment technology platform for SMEs. With Contis’ powerful tech stack and regulated status, this will empower hundreds of fintechs to support the SME market with groundbreaking technologies, payments and lending capabilities. Contis today services over 800,000 consumer accounts, 14,500 business accounts and processes £4bn in transactions per year, demonstrating a proven track record.   

UK businesses are facing a challenging economic environment with the impacts of Covid-19 and Brexit. As large corporations and entire sectors are affected, SMEs will play a vital role in the recovery. Contis’ approach is completely disruptive, offering three channels to maximise support for SMEs and sole traders, through three unique brands, all powered by APIs from Contis’ modular and configurable engine. 

1.       Canvas for Business 

Contis is a super-vendor in the world of fintech, offering payments through proven banking rails and card scheme capabilities including issuing pre-paid, debit and virtual cards. They’re linked to digital delivery like Apple Pay and Google Pay, and a trusted tech stack that boasts 99.99% uptime.  

With funding from the Capability and Innovation Fund (CIF), Contis’ technology and regulated services will be made available to the whole fintech community, enabling them to provide dedicated SME accounts with the latest leading-edge capabilities delivered via Contis’ wholly owned, secure, cloud-based technology and apps. Contis’ solution has a firm eye on the need for SMEs to compete internationally, particularly after Brexit, and offers FX integration as standard.  

Canvas for Business will increase competition by providing fintechs serving the SME market with technology that outstrips the big banks. Contis will also provide credit referencing capabilities and empower fintechs to lend to their SME client base through Contis’ own credit licence. Without the constraints of legacy systems, it will enable simple connectivity to accounting and payments solutions, as well as to unlimited future innovations.  

2.       Engage for Business 

Over 150 Credit Unions currently use Contis’ Engage service and technology, and hold an estimated £400 million in undeployed cash reserves. Developed with CIF funding, Engage for Business will enable Credit Unions to launch business accounts and payments products for the first time, and allow excess funds to be redeployed in the SME sector through business support loans. This will revolutionise access to funding for sole traders and small businesses. 

3.       Freedom for Business 

With CIF funding, Contis will also offer large scale SMEs a direct-to-market solution where Contis holds the relationship and provides a bespoke offer to meet the business’ exact needs. 

Contis’ application to the Capability and Innovation Fund is focused on creating the widest possible impact for UK SMEs by fulfilling their accounts & payments needs and driving innovation in SME financial services. 

Through the grant, Contis will empower over 200 fintechs and Credit Unions to provide credit, simplify payments integration into everyday business needs, offer digital credit referencing, provide budgeting tools to SMEs, enable automated payments, give predictive insight on cash flow, provide rewards to SMEs on spending, and much more. 

Peter Cox, Founder and Executive Chairman of Contis said: “Our mission is to democratise payments and financial services for all SMEs, so they’re spoilt for choice with innovative and affordable solutions that meet their exact needs. Our approach, based upon proven technologies, will broaden and disrupt the services available to SMEs far beyond the capabilities of existing providers such as the big banks.  

“By driving competition and innovation, while improving the availability of funding, our approach will increase the services on offer to SMEs and make them more affordable, therefore becoming easier for every entrepreneurial person with vision to run their own businesses.” 

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Business

Four years of digital transformation in four weeks: UK lockdown puts pressure on brands to digitally deliver

Four years of digital transformation in four weeks: UK lockdown puts pressure on brands to digitally deliver 3

Nearly a third (32%) of consumers would switch providers if a brand’s website is unavailable for more than 24 hours

A study released today reveals the scale of omni-channel pressure brands now faced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, as consumers flock to apps and websites to as the priority destination to transact with brands.

The UK has experienced a huge leap in use of online services thanks to lockdown, with the public appearing to have less concern for the availability of a brand’s physical location. Research by Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS) uncovers a “window of availability” that UK businesses now have before consumer loyalty changes:

  • If a brand’s website is down for 24 hours – 32 percent of consumers would switch provider
  • If a brand’s app is down for 24 hours – 28 percent of consumers would switch provider
  • If a physical store is closed for 24 hours – 20 percent of consumers would switch provider

The results by industry paint an interesting picture of the availability timeframes brands are expected to adhere to:

  • For online retailers, excluding grocery retailers – 23 percent of consumers would switch provider if they could not access online services for 12 hours, rising to over a third (34 percent) after 24 hours
  • For financial services and entertainment streaming platforms – 21 percent of consumers would switch provider after 12 hours, rising to 33 percent after 24 hours
  • In the case of online grocery shopping – 20 percent would switch provider after 12 hours, rising to one third 33 percent after 24 hours

The findings also highlight that as digital reliance increases, so will consumer expectations towards availability in the future. Over the coming two years, a third (33 percent) of consumers expect online financial services to always be available, rising to 35 percent for streaming services.

“UK consumers have become reliant on the constant availability of online services, and lockdown has only served to heighten this,” comments Chris Huggett, SVP, EMEA at Sungard AS. “What used to be a choice between physical and digital has now firmly accelerated into digital environments across various industries. As online worlds continue to outpace bricks and mortar as the face of businesses, ensuring constant availability and clear communications on downtime will be key for brands to build trust and loyalty.

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