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Scalability is key to growth as 85% of businesses agree IT is restricting their potential

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Scalability is key to growth as 85% of businesses agree IT is restricting their potential

A lack of choice and flexibility in IT infrastructure is holding back UK businesses according to a new study by Cogeco Peer 1, a global provider of essential business-to-business products and services, with 85% of respondents believing that their organisation would see faster business growth if its IT vendors were less restrictive.

The study, which questioned 150 IT decision-makers across several different industries including financial services, retail, higher education, business services and media, found that CIOs and IT Directors are frustrated with the restrictions they encounter, which manifests in a lack of flexibility (51%) and reliability (50%), as well as 40% of respondents citing too much choice from IT vendors, which their organisation finds restrictive.

The vast majority (84%) of respondents stated that their organisation is not currently running the optimum IT system.

Almost seven in ten (69%) felt that their organisation’s growth/development has been restricted by its IT vendors’ contracts, with around two in ten (17%) reporting significant restrictions.

When an organisation adopts new technology, it is clear it doesn’t always go to plan. Most respondents (81%) said that an IT service or system they’ve adopted has not lived up to expectations and almost half (48%) stated this has happened on multiple occasions. The most common impacts of this have been reliability issues (65%), not getting the service required (57%) and higher costs (52%).

When it comes to upgrades, it is a similar story, with 75% of respondents reporting that an IT upgrade purchased by their organisation has not lived up to expectations, with 41% saying this has happened multiple times. Among the reasons as to why this is, is a system not integrating well with existing systems (63%), the technology was too immature or unproven (45%) or the vendor did not add the expected value (24%).

Furthermore, business agility was highlighted as a key area where IT vendors could drastically improve the value of their service. Three in five (60%) respondents agreed that their organisation’s IT vendor could do more to help their business to be more agile, with just over a fifth (21%) stating that IT vendors do not help their business to be agile at all.

Susan Bowen (current VP & GM, EMEA) future President of Cogeco Peer 1 said: “It is clear that the technology industry is key to helping businesses in every sector and specialism grow and to reach their full potential.

“Agility and flexibility are key tenets of this, so businesses should seek the right partners and services which enable them to scale up and down to match seamlessly with their needs.

“Far from being restrictive, properly scalable solutions can allow businesses to focus on what they do best, rather than being bogged down in their system requirements.”

There is plenty of scope for IT providers to adapt to their customer’s changing needs, with the survey concluding that almost all respondents (91%) felt that there are areas within their own organisations that are too complicated, with the most common areas being integration (55%), security (41%) and data protection (37%).

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H&M, IKEA and Stora Enso backed TreeToTextile builds sustainable fibre demo plant

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H&M, IKEA and Stora Enso backed TreeToTextile builds sustainable fibre demo plant 1

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – A venture part-owned by Finnish forestry group Stora Enso, Sweden’s H&M and IKEA said on Tuesday it was set to build a demonstration plant in Sweden for a new, more sustainable wood-based textile fibre after years of research.

To markedly reduce their climate footprint and pollution, large apparel and furniture brands are in dire need of affordable greener alternatives to cotton, traditional viscose and polyester. Several Nordic pulp makers are part of projects developing new clean ways https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nordics-forestry-idCAKCN0WF076 to turn trees into textile fibre.

TreeToTextile said in a statement its plant would have a production capacity of 1,500 tonnes and its owners would fund the bulk of the 35 million euro ($42.6 million) investment.

“The novel process is deliberately designed to have low energy demand and low chemical need. It is engineered to suit large scale production and includes a recovery systemfor reusing chemicals,” it said.

“By investing in a demonstration plant, we are finally on the go. With it we are turning years of R&D into reality to increase the biobased share on the textile market to support climate action.”

TreeToTextile, whose fourth part-owner is innovator Lars Stigsson, said the plant would be located at Stora Enso’s Nymolla mill in Sweden, and its construction would start in the near future.

Viscose is the main existing textile fibre from wood pulp – followed by the newer lyocell which has a cleaner manufacturing method. Production is dominated by Austria’s Lenzing, India’s Aditya Birla and China’s Sateri.

($1 = 0.82 euros)

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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IHG books $153 million loss, Holiday Inn softens coronavirus blow

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IHG books $153 million loss, Holiday Inn softens coronavirus blow 2

By Tanishaa Nadkar

(Reuters) – InterContinental Hotels booked an annual loss of $153 million on Tuesday, pummelled by repeated COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns, but said a faster recovery in its Holiday Inn Express brand had helped it outperform in key markets.

The company, which previously scrapped its final dividend, said 2020 was the most challenging year in its history as revenue per available room slumped 52.5%, with global travel and entertainment spending remaining under pressure.

Pinning its hopes on the global roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines and a wider economic rebound, IHG said the industry was unlikely to see a recovery until later in the year but hinted that global travel was starting to recover.

“People want to travel again…It is the thing that people have missed most and so there is enormous pent up demand to travel,” Chief Financial Officer Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson said, adding that “travel will come back very rapidly.”

Shares of the company were up 3.8% at 5,516 pence by 0845 GMT, amid a near 3% rise on the FTSE 350 travel and leisure index as Britain saw a surge in flight and hotel bookings after the government said would-be holidaymakers will be given clarity on making plans for the summer by April 12.

Demand remained stronger in IHG’s Holiday Inn Express business, which represents about 70% of its rooms in the U.S. market and has historically been impacted less and recovered faster than other segments in economic downturns, the company said.

“IHG is at the start of a prolonged period of commercial recovery,” Peel Hunt analysts said in a note.

Still, IHG reported a group operating loss of $153 million for the year ended Dec. 31, compared with a profit of $630 million last year.

(Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Alexander Smith)

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Aviva sells French business to Macif’s Aéma Groupe for $3.9 billion

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Aviva sells French business to Macif's Aéma Groupe for $3.9 billion 3

LONDON (Reuters) – Aviva has agreed the sale of its operations in France for 3.2 billion euros ($3.89 billion) to Macif’s Aéma Groupe, as part of the British insurer’s shift to focus on its core operations in Britain, Ireland and Canada.

London-based Aviva, led by boss Amanda Blanc, said the sale would increase excess capital by 2.1 billion pounds ($2.95 billion) and cash of around 2.8 billion pounds.

Aéma Groupe, formed in January through the merger of French mutual insurer Macif Group and Aésio Mutuelle, has 8 million customers and a turnover of 8 billion euros.

Aviva France has 3 million customers and 7.8 billion euros in revenue. It covers life insurance, property and casualty and asset management markets in France.

Aviva’s share price rose by 1.7% at the open in London.

“The transaction will increase Aviva’s financialstrength, remove significant volatility and bring real focus to the Group,” Chief Executive Officer Blanc said.

Aviva expects to use the proceeds of the sale to support debt reduction, invest for long-term growth and return excess capital to shareholders.

The sale is central to Blanc’s turnaround plan aimed at streamlining its business after prolonged share price weakness has concerned investors.

The insurer, which aims to complete the disposal by the end of 2021, is looking to sell its continental European and Asian businesses, it said last year.

Final bids for its Polish operations that could fetch around 2 billion euros are due on Friday, sources have previously told Reuters.

It is also in the process of selling its Italian business, sources had said.

($1 = 0.8218 euros)

($1 = 0.7108 pounds)

(Reporting by Clara Denina; Editing by Rachel Armstrong, Louise Heavens and David Evans)

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