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PROGRESS SURVEY FINDS BUSINESSES HAVE UNDER TWO YEARS TO MAKE DIGITAL INROADS BEFORE SUFFERING FINANCIAL AND COMPETITIVE LOSSES

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PROGRESS SURVEY FINDS BUSINESSES HAVE UNDER TWO YEARS TO MAKE DIGITAL INROADS BEFORE SUFFERING FINANCIAL AND COMPETITIVE LOSSES

More than 700 decision makers surveyed on the current state of digital business– results indicate significant digital denial

Progress (NASDAQ: PRGS) today announced the results of its recent global survey, “Are Businesses Really Digitally Transforming or Living in Digital Denial”. Businesses today are faced with pressures to optimise customer experience and improve business outcomes across all channels, connecting the dots between people, information and systems. The survey, conducted in Q1 2016 by Loudhouse, the specialist research division of Octopus Group, aimed to better understand how business leaders view digital transformation and learn their plans to address its challenges.

Survey respondents included a mix of more than 700 geographically dispersed C-Level/VP decision makers; heads of marketing, digital and IT; as well as developers, IT architects, directors, engineers and line of business managers. These individuals represent organisations ranging from SMBs through large global enterprises.

While most businesses recognise the inherent benefits of “going digital,” the majority of respondents are hitting roadblocks—lack of internal alignment, lack of adequate skills and plenty of cultural resistance. Coupled with technology constraints and an overall inability to execute, the result is a growing state of anxiety about embarking on digital transformation, with some fearing it may already be too late.

Key findings from the survey concluded:

  • 96% of organisations see digital transformation as important or critical, yet 62% say their organisation is in denial about the need to transform digitally
  • 86% say they have two years to make inroads before suffering financial or competitive consequences (55% say a year or less); 59% are worried they may already be too late
  • In the UK, the key advocates for digital change are CEO’s at 52%, compared to just 36% of CMO’s
  • 72% feel IT is more likely to be the final decision maker/budget holder for digital initiatives; 78% say better alignment of IT and marketing is needed to deliver on digital transformation efforts
  • 70% of UK respondents consider a reliance on the IT team as being the biggest barrier to delivering compelling customer experience

“Digital technologies are radically transforming business as we know it today and the driving force of change is based on the customer experience. Yet, many organisations continue to resist change. There needs to be a rapid awakening and acceptance that organisations must digitally transform to survive—and do it now,” said Mark Troester, Vice President, Digital Solutions, Progress. “This survey brings to light the reality of today’s digital transformation challenges, helping to educate and equip businesses with the information they need to succeed. Broad ‘digital’ concern has been palpable, but now we have data to prove it.”

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Siemens Healthineers gains EU nod for $16.4 billion Varian buy

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Siemens Healthineers gains EU nod for $16.4 billion Varian buy 1

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU antitrust regulators on Friday cleared with conditions Siemens Healthineers’ $16.4 billion acquisition of U.S. peer Varian, paving the way for the German health group to become a world leader in cancer care therapy.

The European Commission said Siemens Healthineers pledged to ensure that its medical imaging and radiotherapy equipment will work with rivals in return for its approval, confirming a Reuters story. The pledge is valid for 10 years.

“High quality medical imaging and radiotherapy solutions are crucial to diagnose and treat cancer. The efficiency and safety of treatment relies on the ability of these products to work together,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

Varian is the leader in radiation therapy with a market share of more than 50%. The deal received the U.S. antitrust green light in October last year.

 

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)

 

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Battling Covid collateral damage, Renault says 2021 will be volatile

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Battling Covid collateral damage, Renault says 2021 will be volatile 2

By Gilles Guillaume

PARIS (Reuters) – Renault said on Friday it is still fighting the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a shortage of semiconductor chips, that could make for another rough year for the French carmaker.

Renault reported an 8 billion euro ($9.7 billion) loss for 2020 which, combined with gloomy take on the market, sent its shares down more than 5% in late morning trading.

“We are in the midst of a battle to try to manage a difficult year in terms of supply chains, of components,” Chief Executive Luca de Meo told reporters. “This is all the collateral damage of the Covid pandemic… we will have a fairly volatile year.”

De Meo, who took over last July, is looking at ways to boost profitability and sales at Renault while pushing ahead with cost cuts. There were early signs of improving momentum as margins inched up in the second half of 2020.

The group gave no financial guidance for this year, although it said it might reach a target of achieving 2 billion euros in costs cuts by 2023 ahead of time, possibly by December.

Executives said they were confident the carmaker could be profitable in the second half of 2021, but that they lacked sufficient market visibility to provide a forecast.

Renault struck a cautious note, saying it was focused on its recovery but warned orders had faltered in early 2021 as pandemic restrictions continued in some countries.

The group is facing new challenges as the European Union tightens emissions regulations and after rivals PSA and Fiat Chrysler joined forces to create Stellantis, the world’s fourth-biggest automaker.

The auto industry endured a tough 2020 but a swift rebound in premium car sales in China helped companies such as Volkswagen and Daimler to weather the storm.

Auto companies globally have since been hit by a shortage of semiconductors that has forced production cuts worldwide.

“The beginning of the year has shown some signs of weakness,” De Meo told analysts, but added the chip shortage should be resolved by the second half of 2021. “We have taken the necessary measures to anticipate and overcome challenges.”

Renault estimated the chip shortage could reduce its production by about 100,000 vehicles this year.

SHARP HIT

The group was already loss-making in 2019, but took a sharp hit in 2020 during lockdowns to fight the pandemic, which also hurt its Japanese partner Nissan.

Analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected a 7.4 billion euro loss for 2020. The group posted negative free cash flow for 2020.

The 2018 arrest of Carlos Ghosn, who formerly lead the alliance between Renault and Nissan, plunged the automakers into turmoil.

In a further sign that the companies have been working to repair the alliance, De Meo told journalists that Renault and Nissan will announce new joint products together in the coming weeks or months.

Renault has begun to raise prices on some car models, and group operating profit, which was negative for 2020 as a whole, improved in the last six months of the year, reaching 866 million euros or 3.5% of revenue.

Analysts at Jefferies said the operating performance was better than expected. Sales were still falling in the second half, but less sharply.

Renault is slashing jobs and trimming its range of cars, allowing it to slice spending in areas like research and development as it focuses on redressing its finances. It is also pivoting more towards electric cars as part of its revamp.

It was already struggling more than some rivals with sliding sales before the pandemic, after years of a vast expansion drive it is now trying to rein in, focusing on profitable markets.

De Meo told journalists on Friday that the French carmaker will make three new higher-margin models at its Palencia plant in Spain, where manufacturing costs are lower, between 2022 and 2024.

($1 = 0.8269 euros)

(Reporting by Gilles Guillaume and Sarah White in Paris, Nick Carey in London; Editing by Christopher Cushing, David Evans and Jan Harvey)

 

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UK delays review of business rates tax until autumn

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UK delays review of business rates tax until autumn 3

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s finance ministry said it would delay publication of its review of business rates – a tax paid by companies based on the value of the property they occupy – until the autumn when the economic outlook should be clearer.

Many companies are demanding reductions in their business rates to help them compete with online retailers.

“Due to the ongoing and wide-ranging impacts of the pandemic and economic uncertainty, the government said the review’s final report would be released later in the year when there is more clarity on the long-term state of the economy and the public finances,” the ministry said.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak has granted a temporary business rates exemption to companies in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, costing over 10 billion pounds ($14 billion). Sunak is due to announce his next round of support measures for the economy on March 3.

($1 = 0.7152 pounds)

(Writing by William Schomberg, editing by David Milliken)

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