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Business Future Index 2022: the technology behind acceleration

from  December 13, 2022 | 3 min read

In Unit4’s 2022 Business Future Index, we’ve explored the impact and benefits of acceleration and what they mean for organizations. The Unit4 Business Future Index examines how 3,450 professional respondents (employees and leadership) from across 12 global markets and all sectors, consider their business’s performance between 2021 and 2022: in terms of the bottom line, business strategies and priorities, technology adoption, the impact of ESG and people strategies.

In this article – the third part in a series of three exploring the findings of this year’s Business Future Index – we’ll focus on the state of play of the technology that’s driving acceleration and being adopted in order to sustain it.

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Technology is essential to acceleration, and its adoption is improving year on year

Improving processes and creating efficiencies is important for organizations, and many have adopted different tools to encourage this. With each type of technology profiled in our survey, there has been a high level of adoption, which has been growing year on year.

Around 8/10 respondents report adoption of – or migration of – the following tools:

  • Cloud migration – 84%
  • Data management tools – 85%
  • Real-time reporting tools – 82%
  • Workflow automation – 81%
  • AI/machine learning – 74%

But in each category, only a minority of respondents are confident that their organization has seen major, widespread adoption.

  • Cloud migration – 44%
  • Data management tools – 45%
  • Real-time reporting tools – 40%
  • Workflow automation – 37%
  • AI/machine learning – 32%

This is a cause for concern because those who have seen major adoption of these technologies tend to report better business performance (for example, only 13% of those who are not adopting or exploring workflow automation report being significantly ahead of their 2021 targets, compared to 25% of those with major adoption).

Many have reacted quickly to implement technologies and tools to help them weather the pandemic – some have proven themselves invaluable, but others will need revisiting and finetuning to be as useful to these businesses as they can be.

Issues with financial management are common, but financial technology looks set to be the answer

Finance is a critical function of any organization, yet most (87%) are challenged by the processes that underpin financial management. These challenges include the speed and agility of these processes, a lack of access to real-time data, and outdated processes and systems. Technology is generally seen as the natural answer to these challenges.

This theme repeats specifically in the area of forecasting, with 89% of those involved in the process struggling to achieve the visibility and control necessary. Interestingly, technology isn’t seen as the natural answer in this instance.

What is clear is that it will require far greater collaboration between the CFO, CIO, CTO and relevant line of business leader to set out the right strategy to implement technologies which solve these challenges. Simply leaving technology purchasing to the CIO without involving the other parties, risks purchasing a solution to a problem that hasn’t been properly quantified.

Equally, the CTO can play a critical role in evaluating the viability of an emerging technology to solve a problem, and the CFO must be involved to ensure the technology delivers a relevant outcome.

And finally, the LoB (line of business) leader will understand the problems that need to be solved and can work with other leaders to ensure the right technologies are brought in to assist with that. Collaboration between all parties is crucial and it’s encouraging that greater communication across teams is a key way for businesses to solve their forecasting issues.

While collaboration is crucial for such an important cross-organization discipline, technology investments are also crucial.

Ready to learn more?

There’s much more where this came from. To get the full overview of the findings of this year’s Business Future Index survey – including the impacts of acceleration on your bottom line, technology adoption, and the wellbeing of your people, and the steps you can take to ensure your organization isn’t left behind – check out our new interactive eBook here.

Read the rest of this blog series: 

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