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.
The use of stolen identity data is on the increase. In the first quarter of 2018, more fraud attacks were noted than in the same period for each of the last three years, with a particularly large volume of automated attacks, according to the latest ThreatMetrix Cybercrime Report.
As breaches increase, Europe and the United States are no longer the only especially large cybercrime zones. South America has become a hub for new account origination fraud and Southeast Asia is witnessing large amounts of identity spoofing. In addition, the proliferation of mobile usage has led to an expanding weak security point in new account creations via mobile phones.
Saudi Arabia is using data-driven technology to improve the transparency of its government bodies, drawing from masses of publicly available information to assess their performance.
Fresh from Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman’s visit to the UK, in which the leader met British prime minister Theresa May, the Queen, and blue chip business chiefs, his country is taking tech-enabled steps to transform transparency and efficiency. It is also offering the methodologies to other nations by making its tech tools open access.
The cloud creates immediate operational benefits and enables longer-term strategic development, especially among organizations with more than half of their infrastructure and apps in the cloud
Businesses heading to the cloud recognise the huge opportunity for monetising data, increasing operational efficiency and business collaboration, and fostering innovation. Businesses with the highest cloud provision now say they in research that they are experiencing much deeper transformative value — including increased customer satisfaction.
Four megatrends shaping societal evolution are rapid urbanisation, shifting demographics, hyper-globalisation and accelerated innovation.
The United Nations expects that by mid-century close to 70 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities and by 2030 more than 1.4 billion people could be aged over 60. Within eight years, there will be ten times more data generated worldwide, according to IDC.
Many businesses are focused on digital transformation and improving processes to step up how they predict and serve customer needs. They are counting on the cloud to help them achieve this, already confident of its flexible and affordable benefits in their organisation.
But that achievement is still threatened by lingering, information-based challenges. In 2018, organisations want to dig more deeply into their information to improve their decision-making, but they still struggle with data silos, so they have a wealth of information trapped within departments.
A selection of articles, reports and other content.