The term “digital workplace” is bandied around much like “big data” and “cloud computing” have been. But, as with those technologies, when you dig below the hype, you find it does offer very real benefits.
Having a digital workplace means allowing useful on-premises and mobile technology to automate tasks, empower effective working, and improve collaboration and crowdsourcing of ideas across teams — regardless of location.
Consumers are increasingly using frictionless payment methods, from contactless to in-app and voice-activated. But before these new ways to pay become the norm, people need to be comprehensively reassured of the benefits.
Despite the pace of innovation in frictionless payments, which ease the buying process by removing manual steps, cash and other established payment methods remain remarkably widely used.
The easier it is for consumers to pay, the more likely they will complete their purchases. Biometric payment cards with fingerprint recognition allow what was previously impossible – cards that are ultra quick to use, yet have powerful security.
Consumers have multiple payment options, from cash and cards to phones and mobile wallets, QR codes and peer-to-peer (P2P) payments. Cards and digital payments focus on convenience, yet PIN codes and passwords often slow down transactions and frustrate buyers, and contactless payments can only be made up to a certain value which varies by market.
The automotive and technology industries are rapidly developing self-driving cars. But while these vehicles are expected on UK roads within three years the legal frameworks for liability and data privacy remain far from ready, says leading global insurance law firm Kennedys.
Car insurance may have operated essentially the same way for many years, but it faces a new complication in the form of self-driving cars. In an accident, questions abound whether it was the fault of the autonomous system or the driver, how it can be determined whether the car was manually driven or automated at that moment and if the system had been tampered with or hacked.
In any public sector organisation, chief information officers (CIOs) are appointed with significant expectation. They come under pressure to effect wide transformation, but this is nearly impossible when government operational models are typically inflexible.
“Any newly appointed CIO needs to quickly demonstrate high effectiveness and influence,” says Neville Cannon, research director at Gartner. “To succeed they must resist and manage transformation hype before they can effect successful change.”
Aside from the high-tech and leading corporates, adoption of digital technologies in the manufacturing sector remains subdued, a consequence perhaps of not seeing widespread evidence of the tangible benefits. Achieving expected returns on investment from advanced analytics and AI is less a question of technology and more a business challenge.
Success stories among early adopters are well publicised and demonstrate the advantages to be gained when the power of data from multiple sources is harnessed through expert hands and into business execution.
Investing in real estate portfolios, private equity firms and other non-public corporate enterprises has typically been the exclusive domain of asset and wealth managers whose clients have £100,000 or more to put in. But the security of blockchain technology and the reliability of distributed ledgers mean investments can easily be broken into smaller chunks, offering opportunities to everyone. Anyone with as little as £200 can now invest in assets that were beyond reach.
Tax rules are updated daily around the world, which means getting purchase orders and invoices right the first time is far from straightforward. It presents a serious challenge to businesses of all sizes attempting to transact in different locations, but it also offers an opportunity to develop favoured buying relationships by getting the process consistently right.
In procurement, many departments aim to address the issue by manually keeping track of changing legislation in different parts of the world and then applying the rules to their purchase orders. But they regularly need to speak with sellers to correct tax on problematic invoices. Finding themselves over or underbilled for tax causes frustration with suppliers, aside from potential financial problems, so there is a strong incentive for buyers to ensure things are right from the start.
Consumers and companies are taking an active interest in cryptocurrencies, but there is clearly a long way to go before their eventual role in personal and business finance is fully realised. To some degree, a lack of broader awareness of what cryptocurrencies have to offer is holding the industry back. But so too is a lack of joined up thinking within some projects.
“Very few of the 2,000 or so cryptocurrencies operating have a truly business-like operational structure and a hierarchy that ensures they make good strategic decisions,” says Rowan Stone, director of business development for cryptocurrency ZenCash. “All these digital currencies are still in the phase of the geeks – too complicated and clunky for many to use. People are starting to realise that by fixing this we can make traditional finance efficient.”
A revolution in data is enabling insurers to predict risk precisely, empowered by businesses’ digital footprint gathered from property and operational monitoring systems. Insurers can also use the technology to identify trends and help clients prevent accident “events”, reducing the frequency and severity of claims.
Sensors linked to the internet of things enable information to be drawn from within organisations and workplaces, then fed into businesses’ and insurers’ risk management systems. The technology works by sensing everything from air conditioning, heat, water and electricity, to movement of workers and the operation of lorries, planes and ships. Underwriters can then analyse risk continuously, predict events and understand the cause of claims.
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