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PROGRESS ANNOUNCES NEW DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION SOLUTIONS TO COMBAT DIGITAL DENIAL

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PROGRESS ANNOUNCES NEW DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION SOLUTIONS TO COMBAT DIGITAL DENIAL

Progress DigitalFactory addresses critical customer-centric digital transformation
concerns by breaking down silos between IT, development, marketing and deployment

Most enterprise decision makers see digital transformation as a critical imperative, yet few have reached full production and roll out. Those same decision makers feel they have to make significant inroads with digital transformation in the next 12 months before they begin to suffer financially or from competitive threats.[i] That’s why Progress (NASDAQ: PRGS) today announced its strategic vision and Progress® DigitalFactory™ solutions, to enable enterprises to harness the full potential of digital business.

“When we set forth on our own digital transformation journey, we identified four fundamentals for success—optimise customer engagement, collaborate with partners, unburden IT and simplify operations,” said Phil Pead, CEO, Progress. “Our vision and DigitalFactory solutions are a direct result of living these tenets each day. We know technology is not the entire answer. Rather, it‘s part of a larger perspective that includes a shift in thinking and stronger levels of collaboration between the CIO and CMO. Progress has the experience, capabilities and technology to partner with our community of digital decision makers to ensure we’re arming them with the right tools to put them on the path they need to succeed.”

“Going digital is not a nice to have—it’s a requirement if you still want to be around in five years,” said Jacqui Safis, eBusiness Solutions, NorthWestern Energy. “While we face the same day-to-day challenges as anyone else, we recognised early on the need to have a strategy in place and to begin taking steps in that strategy. When Progress showed us DigitalFactory solutions, we were blown away. Their vision is exactly in line with our own digital efforts. There’s no doubt that DigitalFactory solutions will help us keep pace and stay competitive in this ever-evolving market.”

Introducing Progress DigitalFactory

Progress DigitalFactory is a new cloud-based platform that provides a holistic, extensible solution for businesses to create omni-channel digital experiences. DigitalFactory solutions enable collaboration, flexibility and ease for IT, marketers, developers and business users looking to implement digital transformation within their organisations. It provides ease-of-use like no other because DigitalFactory solutions empower users that need to manage digital assets or define the customer journey to manage their workflow, instead of having to solely rely on others to initiate changes.

Today’s announcement highlights the three core solutions which will be released in the coming months, with additional solutions planned for 2017.

DigitalFactory for Sites— Large globally dispersed organisations are faced with a number of web-related challenges: difficulty managing a large number of properties and assets, inability to share content consistently across web and mobile and dependencies on local resources and budgets. There are also a plethora of governance and regulatory requirements to navigate.

DigitalFactory for Sites solution enables the management and scale of websites and digital assets to elevate a businesses’ global presence, while maintaining necessary security and governance requirements. It enables easy content creation, management and reuse across web assets, so digital marketers can focus on creating new content, not refactoring existing assets.

DigitalFactory for Sites solution also provides the ability to develop and push web assets in a timely manner while supporting scale with effective automation. It ensures operational management by helping business users provide the right content, in the right context and at the right time. It also fosters collaboration on a multitude of levels by not only breaking IT dependencies that hinder execution, but by fostering an easy-to-use approach that supports the business user.

DigitalFactory for Engagement— Multi-national organisations large and small are struggling with omni-channel development. Application backlogs stymie transformation efforts. New customer channels and personalised experiences are a struggle to deliver because incorporating existing systems and the data needed to create those experiences is difficult, at best.

Further, there continues to be a debate over who owns digital transformation—is it the CIO, the CMO or is it a collaborative effort? According to our research, 72% of survey respondents feel IT is more likely to be the final decision maker/budget holder for digital initiatives; and 78% say better alignment of IT and marketing is needed to deliver on digital transformation efforts[ii].

DigitalFactory for Engagement is the only solution that brings together the CIO and CMO for seamless decision making. It takes a content-first approach, providing the delivery of an appealing multi-channel experience consistently across business lines, assets and properties, regardless of device choice. It offers full control of digital assets and provides an “author once” capability, focused on creation and reuse of content versus traditional siloed channel approaches.

DigitalFactory for Engagement solution provides new levels of customer journey optimisation by offering marketers a single view of the customer experience via a unified content command center. In addition, IT and development can build and deploy websites and mobile apps, within hours, leveraging a single platform and codebase. It is the only multi-function solution that combines mobile and web seamlessly as it tracks, personalises and optimises the customer journey while helping to enforce security, governance, workflow and compliance without sacrificing agility.

DigitalFactory for Mobile— While a seamless omni-channel customer experience is the end-goal, for many, mobility continues to be a prime growth driver. For those choosing a mobile-first approach, DigitalFactory for Mobile solution enables fast, tailored mobile experiences for any device and data source. Taking advantage of the full lifecycle approach to mobile app development, developers can create apps for iOS, Android and Windows devices, on a single platform without downloads, installs or configurations. DigitalFactory for Mobile solution is the quintessential one-stop shop for cloud-based mobile development needs. And, when an organisation is ready to integrate mobile into the omni-channel experience, expansion into DigitalFactory for Engagement solution is quick and easy, with no complicated migrations involved.

“Transforming into a digital business doesn’t happen overnight. Many of the tools and technologies within the current Progress portfolio aid customers in not only addressing today’s business challenges, but are foundational for enabling the digital goals of tomorrow,” continued Pead. “With Progress DigitalFactory solutions and the full range of Progress products and services, we’re delivering new levels of ease-of-use and cross-team collaboration that customers can use to drive immediate success.”

Progress DigitalFactory solutions are targeted to be available in Q3 2016. For more details or to view our recent study, “Are Businesses Really Digitally Transforming or Living in Digital Denial?” go to www.progress.com/state-of-digital-business.

[i] Progress survey, “Are Businesses Really Digitally Transforming or Living in Digital Denial?” May 2016

Progress and DigitalFactory are trademarks or registered trademarks of Progress Software Corporation or one of its subsidiaries or affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. Any other trademarks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains statements that are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Progress has identified some of these forward-looking statements with words like “believe,” “may,” “could,” “would,” “might,” “should,””expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “target,” “anticipate” and “continue,” the negative of these words, other terms of similar meaning or the use of future dates.

Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to, statements regarding Progress’ business and the timing of certain product releases. There are a number of factors that could cause actual results or future events to differ materially from those anticipated by the forward-looking statements, including, without limitation:  (1) Progress’ ability to release its product development initiatives in a timely manner; (2) market acceptance of Progress’s product development initiatives; (3) pricing pressures and the competitive environment in the software industry; (4) business and consumer use of the Internet and the continuing adoption of Cloud technologies; (5) the receipt and shipment of new orders; (6) the timely release of enhancements to Progress’s products and customer acceptance of new products; and (7) the positioning of Progress’s products in its existing and new markets; (11) variations in the demand for professional services and technical support. For further information regarding risks and uncertainties associated with Progress’ business, please refer to Progress’ filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended November 30, 2015. Progress undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release.

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OPEC+ to weigh modest oil output boost at meeting – sources

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OPEC+ to weigh modest oil output boost at meeting - sources 1

By Ahmad Ghaddar, Alex Lawler and Olesya Astakhova

LONDON/MOSCOW (Reuters) – OPEC+ oil producers will discuss a modest easing of oil supply curbs from April given a recovery in prices, OPEC+ sources said, although some suggest holding steady for now given the risk of new setbacks in the battle against the pandemic.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, known as OPEC+, cut output by a record 9.7 million bpd last year as demand collapsed due to the pandemic. As of February, it is still withholding 7.125 million bpd, about 7% of world demand.

In January OPEC+ slowed the pace of a planned output increase to match weaker-than-expected demand due to continued coronavirus lockdowns. Saudi Arabia made extra voluntary cuts for February and March.

Three OPEC+ sources said an output increase of 500,000 barrels per day from April looked possible without building up inventories, although updated supply and demand balances that ministers will consider at their March 4 meeting will determine their decision.

“The oil price is definitely high and the market needs more oil to cool the prices down,” one of the OPEC+ sources said. “A 500,000 bpd increase from April is an option – looks like a good one.”

A rally in prices towards $67 a barrel, the highest since January 2020, the rollout of vaccines and economic recovery hopes have boosted confidence the market could take more oil. India, the world’s third biggest oil importer, has urged OPEC+ to ease production cuts.

Saudi Arabia’s voluntary cut of 1 million barrels per day (bpd) ends next month. While Riyadh hasn’t shared its plans beyond March, expectations in the group are growing that Saudi Arabia will bring back the supply from April, perhaps gradually.

Some OPEC+ members also anticipate that the Saudis will be willing to ease cuts further, but it was not clear if they had had direct communication with Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia has warned producers to be “extremely cautious” and some OPEC members are wary of renewed demand setbacks. One OPEC country source said a full return of the Saudi barrels in April would mean the rest of OPEC+ should not pump more yet.

“The Saudi voluntary cut will be back to the market,” the source said. “I’m personally with no more relaxation, not until June.”

Russia, one of the OPEC+ countries which was allowed to boost output in February, is keen to raise supply and a source last week said Moscow would propose adding more oil if nothing changed before the March 4 virtual meeting.

(Additional reporting by Rania El Gamal and Nidhi Verma; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

 

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UK’s Sunak to build bridge to recovery with more spending

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UK's Sunak to build bridge to recovery with more spending 2

By William Schomberg

LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will next week promise yet more spending to prop up the economy during what he hopes will be the last phase of lockdown, but he will also probably signal tax rises ahead to plug the huge hole in the public finances.

Sunak, who is due to announce a new budget plan on March 3, has already racked up more than 280 billion pounds ($397 billion) in coronavirus spending and tax cuts, pushing Britain’s borrowing to a peacetime record.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to lift England’s current lockdown entirely only in late June so Sunak is expected to rely heavily on the debt markets again.

His job retention scheme, paying 80% of employees’ wages, will probably be extended beyond a scheduled April 30 expiry date, further inflating its estimated cost of 70 billion pounds. Support for the self-employed looks set to stay too.

Businesses are demanding Sunak keep other lifelines, such as exempting the firms hardest hit by the lockdown from property taxes and giving them a value-added tax cut.

And calls are growing for an extension of a 20 pounds-a-week emergency welfare increase due to expire in April.

The Times newspaper said Sunak would prolong his stamp duty property tax break for three months until the end of June.

Sunak hopes that by then Britain will be emerging from its deep freeze thanks to Europe’s fastest vaccination programme.

Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane likens the economy to a “coiled spring” primed with the savings that households have built up after being stuck at home.

A strong recovery would mean a jump in tax revenues, doing some of the Treasury’s job of fixing the public finances.

Rupert Harrison, an aide to former finance minister George Osborne, said Sunak should not try to slash Britain’s 2.1 trillion-pound debt mountain, equivalent to 98% of GDP – a ratio unthinkable for decades.

Instead he should write new budget rules tied to the cost of debt servicing, which is close to record lows.

“We can safely carry higher levels of debt than before,” Harrison told a webinar organised by Onward, a think-tank.

But the scale of Britain’s borrowing is raising questions about how long Sunak and Johnson can stick to their promises not to raise key taxes, made to voters before the 2019 election.

BROKEN PROMISES?

The huge costs of tackling the worst of the coronavirus pandemic are likely to ease in the months ahead, meaning this year’s 400 billion pound budget deficit should narrow.

But Britain is probably on course to be stuck with a gap of 60 billion pounds between revenues and day-to-day spending by the mid-2020s, the Institute for Fiscal Studies think-tank says.

In a nod to that, Sunak is expected to start raising Britain’s low corporation tax rate.

The Sunday Times said the rate would rise steadily to bring in an extra 12 billion pounds a year by the time of the next election, due in 2024.

Other options include ending a freeze on fuel duty increases which has been in place since 2012 and looks at odds with Britain’s plans to be carbon net zero by 2050.

But higher fuel prices now would hurt the haulage industry, already struggling with Brexit-related disruption, and could alienate working-class voters who backed Johnson in 2019.

Higher capital gains tax or lower pension incentives would anger lawmakers in Johnson’s Conservative Party.

David Gauke, a former deputy finance minister, said the only big revenue-raising options were the ones that Johnson has promised not to touch – income tax, VAT and national insurance contributions.

“In the end, they are going to have to say, sorry we just can’t responsibly maintain that manifesto commitment,” Gauke told the Onward webinar.

($1 = 0.7046 pounds)

(Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Catherine Evans)

 

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Women inch towards equal legal rights despite COVID-19 risks, World Bank says

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Women inch towards equal legal rights despite COVID-19 risks, World Bank says 3

By Sonia Elks

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Women gained legal rights in nearly 30 countries last year despite disruption due to COVID-19, but governments must do more to ease the disproportionate burden shouldered by women during the pandemic, the World Bank said on Tuesday.

Nations should prioritise gender equality in economic recovery efforts, the bank said, warning that progress on equal rights was threatened by heavier job losses in female-dominated sectors, increased childcare and a surge in domestic violence.

“This pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities that disadvantage girls and women,” David Malpass, World Bank Group president, said in a statement accompanying the annual “Women, Business and the Law” report.

“Women should have the same access to finance and the same rights to inheritance as men and must be at the centre of our efforts toward an inclusive and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

A total of 27 countries reformed laws or regulations to give women more economic equality with men in 2019-20, said the report, which grades 190 nations on laws and regulations that affect women’s economic opportunities.

While countries in all of the world’s regions made improvements in the new index – with most reforms addressing pay and parenthood, women on average still have only about three quarters of the rights granted to men, the report found.

Notably, nearly 40 countries brought in extra benefit or leave policies to help employees balance their jobs with the extra childcare needs created by coronavirus restrictions.

But such measures were “few and far between” worldwide and will probably not go far enough to tackle the “motherhood penalty” many women face in the workplace, it said.

The report also noted separate data from a United Nations tool tracking gender-sensitive pandemic responses which found 70% of such measures addressed violence, with just 10% targeting women’s economic security.

The pandemic could result in “a backslide on various hard-won advances in women’s rights achieved in recent years”, said Antonia Kirkland, the global lead on legal equality at women’s rights organisation Equality Now.

“This disruption is a unique opportunity for countries to rebuild more resilient, inclusive and prosperous economies,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by email.

“But this can only be achieved alongside the removal of sex discriminatory laws that prevent women from participating fully and equally in economic, social and family life.”

(Reporting by Sonia Elks @soniaelks; Editing by Helen Popper. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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