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Almost 90% of businesses struggle to forecast accurately and more than a third require new tech to improve talent acquisition

London, UK, 13 December, 2022 – Unit4, a leader in enterprise cloud applications for mid-market services organizations, today announced the technology adoption findings of its second annual Business Future Index.

Having surveyed 3,450 respondents across 12 global markets to understand how much people, policy and technology changes have accelerated over the past 12 months, the Index showed technology tools have improved team collaboration, productivity, and well-being. However, it also revealed distinct areas of inconsistency, with less than 50% of respondents having undertaken a major adoption of next generation technologies, suggesting there is significant room for improvement.

Key Findings

  • Low instances of major adoption: While eight in ten global respondents say there has been some adoption of data management, real-time reporting tools, or migration to the cloud, across the board less than half have seen major adoption
    • Major adoption of data management tools: 45%
    • Major adoption of cloud migration: 44%
    • Major adoption of real-time reporting tools: 40%
    • Major adoption of workflow automation: 37%
    • Major adoption of AI/machine learning: 32%
  • Financial management has suffered: Globally, 87% of those who responded say they face challenges with the processes that underpin financial management, with over half (52%) saying they plan to invest more in technology
  • Outdated systems have inhibited forecasting: The majority of respondents have concerns about forecasting, but organizations in the public sector (37%) and education (39%) are more likely to say outdated systems are impacting their ability to forecast effectively
  • Role of technology cited as key to talent strategy: 37% say greater use of up-to-date technology is a key way they will be looking to talent acquisition and retention, while 17% say outdated technology is a challenge for attracting and retaining skilled people.

Accelerating IT adoption during pandemic

The Index shows that, in the past year, those who invested in technology such as workflow automation and real-time reporting have seen tangible benefits delivered to their organizations. These include enabling employees to be more collaborative, productive, and achieving a better work/life balance. This has been supported by the adoption of internal software and tools to aid productivity and employee experience, which saw the greatest acceleration in Denmark (58%) compared to the other markets, and the lowest in the UK (39%). There was also increased focus on cybersecurity strategies to protect employees and company data, which accelerated the most in Singapore, but saw much lower acceleration in the USA (27%), Germany (26%) and the UK (21%).

Performance of finance under scrutiny in a crisis

The performance of financial systems always receives greater scrutiny during a crisis, and this has been no different in the last year. While respondents said financial management processes lack the speed and agility required, as well as not providing access to real-time data and struggling with outdated systems, technology is seen as offering a way to improve performance. Over half (52%) plan to invest more in technology, while 48% will prioritize greater automation and skills training to improve financial management. Addressing the challenges with forecasting will require a mix of technology, people and process strategies. The top solutions to improve forecasting were cited as:

  • Better communication across teams: 53%
  • Better planning for different scenarios: 52%
  • Investment in forecasting technology: 51%
  • Improving access to real-time data: 47%
  • A consolidation of disparate datasets: 45%
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