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Unit4 delivers enterprise scale AI-powered performance management

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Unit4 delivers enterprise scale AI-powered performance management

Injects AI into the core of CPM taking data-driven forecasting to new levels

Unit4, a world leader in enterprise software for service organisations, announces today the release of Unit4 Prevero Corporate Performance Management (CPM) with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and advanced data analytics to drive new levels of data-driven decision making for forward-looking organisations.

Boards today expect high quality analyses, suggestions, forecasts and budgets and they want them faster and more frequently. Prevero with AI takes advantage of neural networks and deep learning technology to provide business decision makers with a new source of business support. On desktops or mobile devices, exec teams and decision makers across a business will benefit from this new source of business support and ways of collaborating on common sets of meaningful data. As well as taking automation to a much higher level, effectively self-driving and freeing people to focus on more value-add work, it makes decision makers smarter, so they can take a new perspective on their business and become much more forward looking.

The use cases for this technology are many and varied. The first features to be delivered in July 2018 are:

  • AI-enhanced forecasts that apply deep learning on available actuals and other data to predict future outcomes. These forecasts deliver high quality results, recognising patterns and non-linear trends of multiple derivatives. The process is much simpler than statistical methods – a single click instead of having to know the right function and parameters.
  • Data anomaly detection ensures the CPM system provides automatic feedback while data is input. The system automatically analyses every entry based on available data and when it notices a conflict or a figure that seems out of place, it automatically suggests a correction. Instead of investing time and effort in the manual definition of rules, which will never cover all potential anomalies, the software does the job for you.

With massive increases in the data being generated and stored by business applications, the data sets on which machine learning algorithms can be applied has significantly expanded.  The deep learning capabilities in Unit4 Prevero take advantage of relevant information and help put it into context. The system learns in a similar way to the human brain. It memorises learnings and applies them to new inputs. Organisations benefit from a multi-layer neural network that learns by example and improves the quality of its results over time.

“Organisations are only now starting to understand the huge potential digital infrastructure, AI and deep learning technologies can offer,” said Craig Schiff, CEO of advisory firm, BPM Partners. “New digital solutions can help them to manage large amounts of data for greater business insight, and machine learning and deep learning is a natural next step to uncovering insights that can drive competitive advantage. In a few years, finance teams won’t have to spend time on transactional tasks that don’t add value. Instead they will focus on strategic priorities, supported by the data they need to make sound decisions that could change the course of business and deliver more and better opportunities for their organisation.”

“AI, particularly neural networks and deep learning, is a game-changer for CPM,” said Matthias Thurner, CTO, Unit4 Prevero. “CPM is crucial today for organisations undergoing digital business transformation, where operational excellence is required across the board and change is the only constant. As organisations are redefined, we are seeing an evolution in what customers want and need from their systems: Ease of use, agility, high quality insights and rapid value-creation.”

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Oil rises on positive forecasts, slow U.S. output restart

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Oil rises on positive forecasts, slow U.S. output restart 1

By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Tuesday, underpinned by the likely easing of COVID-19 lockdowns around the world, positive economic forecasts and lower output as U.S. supplies were slow to return after a deep freeze in Texas shut down crude production.

Brent crude was up 36 cents, or 0.5%, at $65.60 a barrel by 1212 GMT, and U.S. crude rose 39 cents, or 0.6%, to $62.09 a barrel.

Both contracts rose more than $1 earlier in the session.

“Vaccine news is helping oil, as the likely removal of mobility restrictions over the coming months on the back of vaccine rollouts should further boost the oil demand and price recovery,” said UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said optimistic oil price forecasts issued by leading U.S. brokers had also contributed to the latest upswing in prices.

Goldman Sachs expects Brent prices to reach $70 per barrel in the second quarter from the $60 it predicted previously, and $75 in the third quarter from $65 forecast earlier.

Morgan Stanley expects Brent crude to climb to $70 in the third quarter.

“New COVID-19 cases are falling fast globally, mobility statistics are bottoming out and are starting to improve, and in non-OECD countries, refineries are already running as hard as before COVID-19,” Morgan Stanley said in a note.

Bank of America said Brent prices could temporarily spike to $70 per barrel in the second quarter.

Disruptions in Texas caused by last week’s winter storm also supported oil prices. Some U.S. shale producers forecast lower oil output in the first quarter.

Stockpiles of U.S. crude oil and refined products likely declined last week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.

A weaker dollar also provided some support to oil as crude prices tend to move inversely to the U.S. currency.

(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London, additional reporting by Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore; editing by David Evans and John Stonestreet)

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UK-Japan trade deal settled nerves for Japanese firms, Honda executive says

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UK-Japan trade deal settled nerves for Japanese firms, Honda executive says 2

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s trade deal with Japan settled the nerves of a lot of Japanese businesses in the United Kingdom and gives them confidence about their future prospects there, a senior Honda executive said on Tuesday.

Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, has since the 1980s made the United Kingdom its favoured European destination for investment, with the likes of Nissan, Toyota and Honda using the country as a launchpad into Europe.

But Britain’s shock 2016 decision to leave the European Union had prompted Japan to express unusually strong public concerns. Their companies and investors warned that a disorderly exit from the EU would force them to rethink their four-decade bet on Britain.

“We welcome very much the Japanese trade agreement which as a Japanese businesses was very welcomed,” Ian Howells, senior vice president at Honda Motor Europe, told a parliamentary committee.

“On the point around confidence, that certainly amongst my peers in Japanese companies was very much welcomed, and probably settled a lot of nerves in terms of their trading prospects in the UK going forward.”

Britain and Japan formally signed a trade agreement in October, marking Britain’s first big post-Brexit deal on trade. It has also made a formal request to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), of which Japan is also a member.

(Reporting by Kate Holton)

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UK retailers see sharp fall in sales and mounting job losses, CBI says

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UK retailers see sharp fall in sales and mounting job losses, CBI says 3

LONDON (Reuters) – British retail sales fell in the year to February as stores cut jobs at a rapid rate, with only supermarkets reporting any growth during the latest COVID-19 lockdown, a survey showed on Thursday.

The Confederation of British Industry’s gauge of retail sales stood at -45, up only slightly from January’s eight-month low of -50. The measure points to falling sales and is below the consensus forecast of -38 in a Reuters poll of economists.

Retailers’ expectations for March – when non-essential shops will remain closed to the public as part of lockdown measures – fell to -62, the lowest since the series began in 1983.

In another sign of a changing consumer habits during lockdown, the survey’s gauge of internet retail sales hit a new record high.

“With lockdown measures still in place, trading conditions remain extremely difficult for retailers,” said Ben Jones, principal economist at the CBI.

“Record growth in internet shopping suggests that retailers’ investments in on-line platforms and click-and-collect services may be paying off, but the re-opening of the sector can’t come soon enough to protect jobs and breathe life back into the sector.”

Job losses among retailers accelerated according to a quarterly question in the survey. For the distribution sector as a whole, which includes wholesalers and car dealers, employment fell at a record rate, the CBI survey showed.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)

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