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The Business Future Index and Maturity Model

from  December 14, 2021 | 4 min read

Exploring a model for future business success that rebalances people, profit, and productivity

This November we welcomed over 4000 attendees - including customers and partners from the Unit4 community as well as global media and analysts – to our flagship global virtual event, Experience4U (X4U). An event designed to showcase Unit4 in delivering value to mid-market people-centric organizations as they navigate ‘the great acceleration’ in digital transformation and build stronger organizations post-pandemic. 

We made a number of important announcements over the two days including Unit4 Industry Mesh, a new multi-tenant cloud service available as part of the ERPx cloud platform, that delivers industry-specific ERP and packaged integrations for mid-market organizations.  For more on this, check out the product keynote from Dmitri and Claus here.

We also revealed the findings from a new global study, the Business Future Index.  

Our partners at market research specialist Vanson Bourne surveyed 3,350 decision makers and employees within mid-sized enterprises to understand how businesses around the world approach profit and productivity to sustain their businesses during a period of unprecedented economic volatility.

Included within the study is a Business Maturity Model, which assesses an organization’s ability to manage financial processes and their people and talent strategies.

Maturity Model

The report and Maturity Model offer a stark warning for businesses that are not getting the balance of priorities right between people, productivity and profit.

Analyzing performance over the last few years, the Maturity Model identifies organizations as either Optimizers, Embracers, Evaluators, or Hesitators. Hesitators are the least mature in terms of performance and strategy and show the least business success, while optimizers are the most mature. The difference between these low and high performers is extreme across a variety of different performance criteria.

Some of the major concerns across the groups include:

  • The great resignation: In the last year, 71% of Hesitators say they have lost staff to competitors compared to only 30% of Optimizers.
  • Workplace culture: Only 4% of Hesitators say workplace culture is a top priority for their leadership teams in contrast to 87% of Optimizers.
  • Digital transformation: 45% of Optimizers are extremely confident in the robustness and comprehensiveness of their digital transformation strategies compared to only 1% of Hesitators.

In our white paper accompanying the release of the Business Future Index and Maturity Model, Mike Ettling, Unit4’s CEO, addresses the ongoing debate about the long-term societal and workplace impacts of the last two years.

Everything from the ‘Great Migration’ of skilled people away from urban centers in search of a better work-life balance, to the ‘Great Resignation’ – in which employees are abandoning their companies en-masse for competitors that offer greater flexibility.

The pace of transformation, representing what Mike believes is the ‘Great Acceleration’, has altered recently in the form of a huge shift online both to satisfy customer needs and as we’ve all embraced remote working. And organizations have had to move rapidly to cope with unprecedented change. In the 2021 Business Future Index the positive news is that many companies around the world feel they coped well with this uncertainty.

This research reveals some clear warnings and differences between the highest performing group of respondents (the “Optimizers”) and the lowest performing group (the “Hesitators”.).

Even a cursory examination of the findings reveals why: compared to all other groups, Optimizers exhibit a much more holistic approach that treats people, profit, and productivity as equal pillars in their success – underpinned by a future-oriented technology strategy that embraces innovation early and strives to leverage tech investments to their fullest possible extent. To illustrate this, we’ve found that 45% of Optimizers are extremely confident in the robustness and comprehensiveness of their digital transformation strategies, compared to only 1% of Hesitators.

90% of all responding organizations admit they face challenges in retaining talent, recruitment and the market fallout resulting from COVID-19. This should be concerning as respondents have also admitted people-focused business priorities have much lower importance compared to profit and productivity.

The ‘Great Acceleration’ is underway. Therefore, it’s imperative for business leaders to do more to embrace the behaviors of the Optimizers in our study, and if businesses want to remain competitive, they must look at their business strategies as they look to accelerate growth.

Ready to learn more?

If you’re interested in exploring the findings of the Business Future Index and Maturity Model, visit our hub here where you can download the findings whitepaper, check out accompanying summary infographics, and test your own maturity against the maturity model with a quick two-minute survey.

You can also request a full copy of the report and its findings here.

How can Unit4 help you?

Unit4’s enterprise software is built for people-centric industries based on over 4 decades of working within their unique operating requirements. Our next generation ERPx solution is a fully cloud-native, microservices led approach to ERP that allows organizations and users to create a solution that’s fully customizable to their own business needs – without the need for on-site coding and unwieldy, rigid custom implementations. Meaning you can have a solution that’s right for your business now, and right for your business whatever its future may hold. To learn more, check out our dedicated product pages here.

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