The profound impact of technology on today’s workplace

We’ve been living in the digital age for quite some time now so we cannot deny that the workplace has dramatically evolved. The presence of technology has made racial changes in workplace dynamics – from the way we communicate to the automation of certain processes. Robert Half Technology suggests that CIOs believe that factors such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and automation are having a profound impact on staffing, as well as on the scope of the roles and skills required for workplace efficiency. Additionally, technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) are automating manual tasks in operations which require learning and help to eliminate human error. While many may see the role of AI as a threat to human talent, it is not. In fact, AI can automate time-consuming, repetitive tasks like mass data input and retrieval, and minimize errors. This allows employees to utilize their skills in other tasks. Technology not only changed the day-to-day operations in the workplace, but has reshaped the skills required for the workforce to succeed in certain areas of business. Notably, understanding of the use of such technologies is the most important skillset. But this doesn’t mean that “soft skills” are irrelevant. Consequently, soft skills are more important than ever. According to research done by Matt Weston, MD and Robert Half UK, a significant proportion of CIOs cited strategic planning (50%), problem-solving (40%) and interpersonal and communication skills (35%) as crucial for success. Technology will keep influencing businesses and continue to shape the workplace, But human intelligence will remain a very desirable skill for successful organizational management.

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5 Trends Impacting ERP and GRC in 2019

Enterprise software leaves little room for innovation and growth outside of implementing growing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) or the internet of things (IoT). Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are a prime example of this, with few new players in the last decade. Traditional vendors have either converted their on-premises offering to cloud versions or created new cloud products. After about a decade of using cloud solutions, many ERP buyers are realizing that this delivery model carries significant challenges. Companies are facing significant risks related to security, fraud. And since most business software products cannot help companies address these issues, businesses will rely more on governance, risk and compliance (GRC) software and services. Automation is supposed to create new jobs and new types of software, but companies will start to reallocate their IT budgets from traditional spending (on software and hardware) to new technologies such as AI, RPA, IoT, or blockchain. Here are 5 ERP trends to watch out for in 2019.

  1. 75% of ERP buyers will prioritize functionality over ease of use or pricing
  2. 30% of new ERP implementations will be a two-tier model
  3. One in four SMBs will replace or consider replacing their cloud accounting software
  4. Enterprise compliance and GRC adoption will increase by 25–30%
  5. By 2025, one in three medium and large companies will reduce their software budgets by 25% to focus on automation

Since ERP software covers different aspects of a business across many industries and business models, they must adjust to changes and strategies as fast as customers and technology standards change in order to stay relevant.

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5 Steps To Designing A Successful Omni-channel Strategy

In today’s fast paced, technology driven world, connecting with customers is key. With the rise of digitization, customers expect quick, personalized services tailored to their exact needs. In order to acquire new customers and make sales, retailers much understand that the customer is in control, which is why the most successful retailers will offer their customers more flexible and personalized shopping options. Most retailers are familiar with BOPIS, or “Buy Online Pickup In Store”. However, BOPIS only represents one possible avenue. It is important for companies to understand the journey of their customers, and prioritize investments for greater return. This will increase overall customer satisfaction, and omni-channel shoppers have a greater chance at being repeat customers to those businesses as opposed to those that use only one channel. Below are five steps to help design the most effective omni-channel strategy:

  1. Really get to know the customer
  2. Plan your Omni-Channel Paths to Purchase
  3. Ensure Inventory Visibility
  4. Assess softwarte capabilities
  5. Execute Faster by planning better

Customer expectations constantly change technology faster than ever before. Retailers need to catch up with these changes by creating a holistic omni-channel strategy to meet the ever-growing customer standards.

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Infor Acquires Alfa-Beta Solutions

Infor today acquired Alfa-Beta Solutions, a Dutch system integrator. A Gold Infor Channel Partner, Alfa-Beta Solutions specializes on mid-market and large enterprises in the food & beverage (F&B) industry across Benelux and Germany. This acquisition expands Infor’s capabilities to support the company’s growing F&B European customer base. The demand for Infor’s CloudSuite product has been strong ever since European businesses have embraces the power of cloud technology. Alfa-Beta Solutions is a leading consulting firm specializing in Infor M3 and BI with approximately 70 employees based at its Dutch headquarters or its German location in Darmstadt. Their customers include Royal A-Ware, Cono Kaasmakers, HZPC, Colbrand, Riedel, Huuskes, Roerink Food Family, Fransen Gerrits, Coroos Conserven and Jermi. Infor CEO Charles Phillips says of the acquisition, “Alfa-Beta Solutions will bring a talented and experienced team to meet the growing demand for our products, and help new customers quickly realize their value.”


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PPHE Books In for Better Business with Infor

Infor just announced their collaboration with international hospitality group PPHE Hotel  Group, operator of the Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts, art’otel, Arena Hotels & Apartments and Arena Campsites brands. The Hotel Group has selected Infor SunSystems as part of an international expansion program and will use the application to help standardize reporting across each of the group’s properties across Europe.  With a strong reputation within the hospitality sector, Infor SunSystems was chosen on the basis of a successful deployment within nine managed UK Park Plaza properties and two regional offices. It’s flexibility and capabilities of supporting international report frameworks were also crucial factors to the decision. “One of the biggest benefits of standardization has been to create a consistent level of detail across all areas of our business,” said Amit Arora, business control manager at PPHE. “We are very confident in the quality of our data and where and when we capture it. We can feed this data into our BI to help make better decisions and change how we do things throughout our properties and management companies. The bedrock of these decisions is consistent, high data quality and deep visibility into our operations.”


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BlackBerry becomes a HIMSS Analytics certified consultant on infrastructure

The once widely popular smart business phone maker is still around, and will become a valuable asset to hospital infrastructures.  BlackBerry has signed on as a HIMSS Analytics Certified Consultant and will help direct healthcare organizations through the HIMSS Infrastructure Adoption Model (INFRAM). INFRAM is an eight-stage model (0 – 7) that allows healthcare IT leaders to map the technology infrastructure capabilities needed to reach their organization’s clinical and operational goals, while also meeting benchmarks and industry standards. Sara Jost, global healthcare industry lead at BlackBerry, says that “BlackBerry will assess vulnerabilities in a hospital’s infrastructure, devices, and configurations, using a wide range of penetration testing, social engineering techniques, and physical security assessments.” Even though Blackberry has been less relevent in the mobile phone market, the company’s cyber security is still very strong and in demand. HIMSS Analytics Executive Vice President Blain Newton says, “With BlackBerry’s deep cybersecurity expertise and footprint in highly regulated industries we’re confident that having BlackBerry at the table will ensure the INFRAM is the gold standard for running a scalable and secure organization.”


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Catering to Millennials by Improving Those Outdated CRM Models

Millennials have good judgment when it comes to evaluating emerging technologies. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) across major industries are working to change their ways to reach the millennial generation better as they are the majority consumer market. Millennials grew up in the age of digitization, apps, and a high-speed work style. Balancing this fast paced life with a targeted CRM approach requires appealing to their productivity, convenience, and time-saving necessities.  A key target of improving CRM for millennials is to have a user friendly interface. Travel applications, such as Airbnb, focus on removing much of the tediousness associated with booking hotels, and focused on a simple, straightforward and convenient interface, thus the company being valued at $31 billion thanks to the acceptance of millennials. CRM has become a core component for brand building, and CRM and marketing that has transitioned to platforms primarily dominated by millennials has become greatly in demand. Balancing the pros and cons of catering to a generation of millennials brings many challenges and innovations. Improved CRM and user experiences will assuredly evolve towards more convenience and better customer services, but evaluating the cost of doing so needs to remain relevant.


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Going Mainstream: Customer Relationship Management has Evolved

The concept of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has evolved in the last couple of decades and focuses a great deal on software.  Initially, CRM was used by large enterprises with a limited functionality as a customer database only. Now, customer data is attainable to almost anyone within the company, as well as quickly analyzed and used in marketing and sales to increase profits. According to Gartner, Inc, in recent years, worldwide customer relationship management (CRM) software revenue overtook that of database management systems (DBMSs), making CRM the largest of all software markets. Worldwide CRM software revenue amounted to $39.5 billion in 2017 overtaking DBMS revenue, which reached $36.8 billion in the same year. “In 2018, CRM software revenue will continue to take the lead of all software markets and be the fastest growing software market with a growth rate of 16 percent,” said Julian Poulter, research director at Gartner. The strong growth rate of CRM software revenue is driven in particular by the segments of lead management, voice of the customer and field service management, each of which is achieving more than 20 percent growth.


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Advanced Tech To Play Leading Role In Black Friday Shopping

If you’ve spent thanksgiving weekend anywhere in the US, then you know the mania that is “Black Friday”. The event to kick off holiday shopping, the day after Thanksgiving, has people waking up in the early hours, or even camping out of stores like Best Buy and Target, to get deep discounts of the hottest items. Lines that snake around the building, anxious customers, and yes the occasional brawl have become synonymous with this annual shopping event, but technology will try to change that this year. Retail giant Walmart has prepared for this day by training their employees to fix almost any dilemma that can happen on Black Friday by stimulating a customer interaction via Virtual Reality headsets. In an interview with Vox, Walmart’s senior director of digital operations Brock McKeel said that associates are the biggest advantage in retail sales. By putting his associates through this “training”, he believes that Walmart shoppers will have a less stressful experience because of helpful employees. A number of stores will take advantage of the “mobile” route. Speedy checkout will be available from mobile devices that have store apps like Macy’s installed. Customers can search for items from store apps and see if the item is in stock nearby to purchase and pick up within the hour. Another advantage with mobile is the shopping experience online. This will not only provide another shopping avenue for customers, but will also result in less crowded brick and mortar locations which we all know can get wild during the holiday season, let alone Black Friday. From virtual reality headsets to contact-less payments, a tech-led experience may make this Black Friday a bit more bearable.


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Novum Energy Trading Corp Chooses Infor to Provide Financial Management System

Infor recently announced that physical oil supply and trading company Novum Energy Trading Corp. has successfully deployed Infor SunSystems FMS. Implemeneted by Infor global partners TouchstoneEnergy, Infor Sunsystems is designed to help transform financial information into profitable action, in one unified solution, and will support Novum Energy’s trading activities of refined oil products including gasoline, distillates and other fuel oils. Since Novum Energy Trading focuses mainly on niche markets in the Caribbean and Latin America, they needed a risk management platform supportive of growth, streamlining management reporting, and financial record keeping. Since their inception in 2012, Chief Financial Officer Chris Scott of Novum Energy Trading has noted significant growth, leading to the company’s decision to think about alternative accounting solutions.  “TouchstoneEnergy has been an invaluable partner advising us how to get the best from our new accounting system… We are now reaping the benefits of a full and robust system that can support our increased trading and that can help instill confidence in our decision making as we continue to grow,” says Scott.


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