The Insight Story

AI Ethics Related Issues

Why Should Enterprises Care About AI Ethics Related Issues?

The emerging confluence of technology, the internet, along with massive computational resources, as well as Machine learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) - has led to the world where it is today. While the value of such innovation is clear, the known risk is less.  Artificial intelligence today can be employed across diverse domains and industries to help automate its operations. But this advanced field of computer science - Artificial Intelligence (AI) - while intended to enhance lives, has now ended up doing much more than good in some instances. Many companies can suffer from reputational or legal damages if AI is employed irresponsibly.  To ensure that AI is being employed in the most authentic, unbiased, and moral manner, it is important for enterprises to put ethical AI into practice. This is where AI Ethics comes into the picture. AI Ethics or Ethical AI is the field that enables organizations to determine how to use such technology responsibly.  For businesses to exercise strong AI ethics, industry leaders must formulate best practices framework or guidelines for tech companies. Top organizations, including Microsoft and IBM, are formulating comprehensive AI ethics guidelines, and smaller tech companies are creating their standard frameworks around how to employ AI ethically and responsibly.  Read more: An Experiment on Effect: How Virtual Technologies like Metaverse Transform Our Way of Life  What is AI Ethics?  AI Ethics presents a set of moral principles that empower organizations to discern between right and wrong working practices. AI ethics provides a set of guidelines that offers suggestions on the design and outcomes of artificial intelligence.   While human beings have all sorts of cognitive biases, these inherited biases are likely to be transferred in the machine behaviors and subsequently in the data. As data forms the foundation for all machine learning algorithms, it is vital to structure experiments and algorithms with this, as artificial intelligence holds the potential to amplify and scale these biases at an unprecedented scale.  With the emergence of big data, organizations have enhanced their focus on driving automation and data-driven decision-making across their operations. The intentions are, however, if not always, to enhance business outcomes, and companies are experiencing unforeseen consequences in many of their AI applications.  With the instances of unfair outcomes coming to light, new guidelines are being designed and formulated, primarily from research as well as the data science communities, to address the biases as well as concerns concerning the ethics of AI. Leading organizations in AI are also putting in their vested interest to shape these guidelines, as they are also experiencing some of the consequences of failing to uphold the AI ethical standards within their products.   Lack of diligence in this area can lead to severe consequences in reputation, regulatory, as well as legal exposure, resulting in costly penalties. With the ongoing technological advances, innovation tends to outpace regulation in this new, emerging field of AI. With appropriate expertise developing within the industry, organizations will be expected to incorporate more AI protocols to follow, thus avoiding any infringements on human rights and civil liberties.   Read more: Tech-Related Ethical Concerns Businesses Should Address in 2022  Uncovering the Different Elements of Ethical AI  AI Ethics encloses many areas at the intersection of technology, privacy, and human values. Some of the major areas are:  Can Humans Put their Trust in AI?   AI bias or trust is a major area of ethics that focuses on the need for AI machines that are fair and biased. Humans need to be made aware that decisions made by an AI system are transparent and fair and do not favor or disfavor any groups inappropriately.  However, the problem is that fairness itself is a subjective concept to which humans do not agree. This is where the question arises- if humans do not agree, it is not possible for a computer program to please as well.  AI, Security & Privacy, and Human Data  Today monitoring devices are everywhere. The last decade of AI experienced that personal data can be utilized for everything, ranging from recommending books to detecting diseases or symptoms. But who has the right to decide what is allowed and what is not? Conversation concerning AI and privacy has always been a topic of debate. With new laws and other regulatory guidelines being introduced, these frameworks empower individuals to control how corporations can utilize private data. Data marketplaces are also driving the control of personal information from companies to individuals.  Impact of AI on the Environment  With AI models becoming bigger, the number of resources they are consuming is also on the rise. To train just one large language AI model, as much energy as five cars consume in their lifetime is required. However, on the other hand, AI is offering promise in helping the environment, from greenhouse gas emission detections to discovering novel enzymes that can eat plastics.  The AI Technology Race to Beat the Competitors  Nations globally are realizing and recognizing that their competitive advantages today lie in their citizens becoming AI literate. To gain a winning edge in AI technology, economies invest in everything, from data to computing machinery. But what does this signify for the future of small economies versus the large ones? How will the larger economies amass this AI knowledge and dataset resources? Will this lead to the creation of yet another gap?   AI and Weapons  Studies have shown that the creative abilities of AI are not just limited to art and poetry. AI holds the potential to create hundreds of potential chemical weapons.  Read more: Tech Forecast for 2022: Trends That Will Shape the Technology Landscape  Establishing Articulate Organizational Values and Ethics  When an organization decides to employ AI in its business model, the next vital step should be to articulate a framework of organizational values and rules on how AI will be employed. Putting a set of principles in place will enable them to figure out how to operationalize the AI activities and make them happen within the organization. Integrating the value into the product should be the ultimate goal. That indicates that the organization should engage the engineers as well as the product managers. They should also engage individuals who are in the leadership and get them on board.   The formulated toolkit will help employees and management consider and include ethical AI practices in their work, like conducting ethical risk sweeping or pre- and post-mortems to respond to and adjust to any ethical failures. These frameworks or guidelines will help outline the best practices around subjects like secure data transfer and privacy.   What can Organizations do?  Like most emerging transformative technologies, AI is advancing on the course of becoming the future that will drive automation as well as innovation on a much larger scale. AI will be responsible for solving or causing our biggest problems.   Due to this reason, AI Ethics are emerging as everyone’s responsibility. From individuals to corporations, there are many things one can incorporate to create an ethical AI experience. Some of the vital elements that enterprises can incorporate include-  Become AI Literate  Understand the reliable AI practices that would be applied in the industry  Integrate the available tools to govern personal data  Encourage the next generation to learn and incorporate AI Ethics  Read more: NFT Digital Art: The Technology that is Transforming Creativity  Smaller Steps to Create a Massive Impact  Today the tech world is undergoing an explosion of emerging technologies that are helping different industries and businesses to gain a great pool of advantages. However, specific limitations need to be worked upon, and AI is considered one of those technologies. The advances in AI are in the nascent stage, and with time it will enhance its mechanism further, thereby creating great opportunities for different businesses across geographies.  It is indeed high time for businesses to pay attention to building ethical AI. Businesses need to explore measures to resolve the crisis and bring grimmer effects to the users than ever before.  It is time for businesses to think and discover avenues to identify the trust factors that are present or missing with the companies and government initiatives. Further, they should also check if there are any bad influences carved by the organizations to influence the outcome. With the relentless approach being employed to improve the platform to build ethical AI, businesses can better tackle malicious attacks to prevent themselves from data invasion and privacy.   With a presence in New York, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Toronto, London, Zurich, Pune, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, SG Analytics, a pioneer in Research and Analytics, offers tailor-made services to enterprises worldwide.                        A leader in the Technology domain, SG Analytics partners with global technology companies across market research and scalable analytics. Contact us today if you are in search of combining market research, analytics, and technology capabilities to create compelling business outcomes driven by technology.  

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Tech-driven Enterprises in 2023

Tech-driven Enterprises in 2023: How will Technology Spending Deliver Value?

Due to the fears of rising inflation and economic slowdown, technology leaders are finding themselves in a fix. They believe they will likely face more scrutiny of IT spending and more pressure to establish the business value. Unlike the response to the pandemic as well as the war, which mandates huge investments in the technology underpinning digital experiences, new delivery models, and anywhere work.   The response to the existing economic headwinds is likely to necessitate optimization and rationalization, along with maintaining resilient, modern environments and not undercutting the organization’s future tech strategy. To meet the growing market demands, organizations are making digital and technology investments across their operational model.  Read more: Tech-Related Ethical Concerns Businesses Should Address in 2022  Deriving Business Value from Tech  Mixed economic signals and fluctuating markets worldwide complicate tech strategy planning for the year ahead. The ongoing economic downturn has highlighted the need for enterprises to be resilient. They are now more focused on becoming intelligent organizations by leveraging the power of data. Enterprises must now focus on shifting from being a process-driven organization to a data-driven culture.  Where should they make bold investments?  On what components should they cut back?  Where do they have room to experiment?  Technology architecture leaders are now assessing their spending across the board to deliver maximum business value. To help affirm the budgeting and decision-making in this time of uncertainty, Forrester’s research team has developed a new planning guide that provides data-driven, research-backed insights and detailed guidance on where to increase and defend investments and where to decrease investment across business functions. With this rise in financial pressures, cost optimization and portfolio rationalization are emerging at the forefront of technology leaders’ priorities. This incorporates technologies like cloud cost optimization, resilient operational infrastructure, integrated software delivery platforms, core business applications to protect assets and people, distributed data platforms, vertically aligned IoT and edge use cases, and intelligent document extraction. This has also led the industry leaders to increase or defend their investments in:  Tools and tech that optimizes cloud costs  Holistic software delivery platforms  Core business applications to protect business assets and people  Resilient and operational infrastructure  Globally distributed data platforms with multimodal architecture  Intelligent document extraction to integrate critical business processes  Vertically aligned edge and IoT use cases for anywhere work  Read more: The Future of Consumer Interaction: The Role of Tech to Enhance Consumer Experience  Establishing a Legacy of Tech-driven Values  Irrespective of the mixed economic signals and business challenges around the world, technology executives are approaching the 2023 strategy planning cycle with a growth mindset.   One major lesson the pandemic taught was: Technology will continue to be the beacon of innovation that will enable businesses to better connect with their customers. Many customer-obsessed organizations accelerated their shift to digital during the pandemic and are continuing to do so to deliver innovative customer experiences. Now it is up to the industry leaders to align their technological architectures with their operational strategies and build a roadmap that ensures successful digital transformation. But formulating this strategy requires spending.  Forrester’s US Tech Market Outlook 2022 report highlighted that there had been an acceleration in tech spending since the start of the pandemic. US tech organization spending grew by 9% in 2021, and they are now projected to reach 7.2% year-over-year growth by 2022.  Further, Forrester’s survey also found that 67% of US IT professionals predict an increase in their tech budgets over the next 12 months, and around 26% of the professionals expect more than a 5% increase in their tech spending. By 2023, 40% of enterprise intelligence initiatives are intended to be business-specific and purpose-built, thus reducing the data to decisions time frame by almost 25%.  However, increasing spending in times of looming geopolitical friction, widespread inflation, and chronic supply chain constraints indicates they need to have a strong strategy and stick to it.   Corporations need to incorporate the necessary data and information to navigate their operations through these headwinds without sacrificing organizational growth and to ensure that increased tech spending is put to the right use. A few of the following elements that can assist in efficiently formulating the plan include:  Read more: An Experiment on Effect: How Virtual Technologies like Metaverse Transform Our Way of Life  Recognizing value before reducing costs  Businesses need to align their technology investment decisions with the same risk and opportunity framing as they undertake for the business itself. With the need to rapidly decode technology decisions into business value rising like never before, industry leaders, along with technology executives, need to devise a framework to keep their company’s customers’ requirements and expectations central to their investments.  Reducing the costs that do not push the customer forward  By tying technology spending directly to the delivery of objectives, businesses can create more customer value. They need to understand that tech funding is ineffective when negotiating the evidently endless tradeoffs that exist. Technology executives must employ a cost-to-value approach to empower the organization as well as strengthen the desired outcomes.   Concentrating on pragmatic innovation  Industry leaders need to discover where the IT organization can evolve and become more valuable to the business. Employing experimentation as an opportunity can assist in focusing innovation on the pragmatic instead of the dynamic. Technology executives should integrate technologies, concepts, as well as capabilities to directly impact the top or bottom line of the organization.  One marker of technology’s increasing significance to strategy and operations is that organizations are devoting more resources to their digital technology capabilities and are cutting off resources from other parts of their business. A recent survey highlighted that the funding of digital and technology initiatives has increased, and so have the numbers of full-time equivalents in digital and technology roles.  Investments in technology significantly support a successful transformation than those that are smaller in scope. To achieve their ambitions, it is vital for businesses to understand what it really implies to differentiate themselves from others on their technology—as “technology” and “digital” are such broad terms and represent different things in different organizations.   Approximately 30% of large organizations are likely to double their use of intelligent automation in knowledge retention, dissemination, and information synthesis by 2027, thus filling the skills vacuum in the data to the insight life cycle.  To identify the specific elements of technology, enterprises are establishing a clear link between the technology endowment and economic outperformance. To underpin successful digital transformations, they are looking at the technology endowment’s individual capabilities as well as the top-decile economic performers that are significantly leading the domain.   Read more: The Metaverse: How is it Revolutionizing the Way We Shop?  Final Thoughts  The recovery from the pandemic and ongoing war for corporate are expected to have permanent changes to many dimensions of an organization, such as the pace at which business operations are conducted, the nature of that business’s value proposition, and the capabilities as well as leadership that are essential for success.   Digital and technology-driven disruptions are creating winner-takes-all dynamics in many industries. A significantly small subset of organizations is likely to thrive—and even these companies have much more room to strengthen their technology endowments. Our survey results confirm that a strong technological foundation is critical, and those leading organizations are far ahead of competitors in building theirs. For everyone's business, the time is now to make bold investments in tech and capabilities that will equip them to outperform others in this rapidly evolving landscape.  With the growing significance of technology to business success, it is not surprising that top performers are twice as likely to have tech leaders who are actively shaping overall tech-driven business strategy. This presents tech leaders with a major opportunity to make advances in innovation and product development.  The time is now for organizations to make bold acquisitions in technology and capabilities that will equip as well as empower their businesses to outperform others in the industry. Above all, for the year, businesses will have to remain steadfast with their decisions and commitment to delivering business value.  With a presence in New York, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Toronto, London, Zurich, Pune, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, SG Analytics, a pioneer in Research and Analytics, offers tailor-made services to enterprises worldwide.                        A leader in the Technology domain, SG Analytics partners with global technology enterprises across market research and scalable analytics. Contact us today if you are in search of combining market research, analytics, and technology capabilities to design compelling business outcomes driven by technology.  

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Fintech is Accelerating Financial Inclusion

Role of Fintech in Accelerating Financial Inclusion: What to Look Forward to?

Today the financial tide is turning as much-needed fintech solutions are entering the market. Global Economies are experiencing digital transformation and the size of opportunities for entrepreneurs along with financial partners. Financial inclusion is being deemed as the cornerstone that will lead to building an equitable society and a well-thriving economy. Due to the growing investment and broader interest, local governments and institutions are becoming increasingly supportive of fintech.  Traditional banking, along with financial frameworks, has historically catered to the wealthy. However, a new species of financial technology institutions– referred to as fintech, are now challenging this convention. Stimulated by the enhanced penetration of digital transformation in this ever-evolving world, fintech startups are beginning to disrupt the prevailing financial order in the markets to build an inclusive finance culture.   Global economies are witnessing this disruption that is enabling greater financial inclusion by approaching a credit gap that has hitherto impeded the growth of enterprises. This rising generation of fintech enterprises is leveraging the use of enhanced tech and wider reach to help enterprises get ahead by delivering financial services to the unbanked. They are also finding innovative practices to lend and support a growing gig economy that equips people with basic financial literacy to save and invest.   This consequential equitable access to financial solutions like mobile money, peer-to-peer lending, and insurance will empower millions to not only manage their financial obligations with minimal bureaucracy but also to build a better tomorrow for future generations.  Read more: Five Personal Finance Startups that are Revolutionizing Fintech  Broadening Access to Global Population  Broadening access to credit beyond the wealthiest social class has been historically challenging for many reasons. However, access to credit and eCommerce infrastructure are the two critical drivers for broadening financial access to underserved populations.  This is where fintech organizations come into the picture.  Fintech organizations are emerging as the key players in boosting financial inclusion by leveraging the existing ecosystem and emerging technologies to create a simpler banking experience and make it more accessible as well as cost-effective for many. Governments globally are already laying the groundwork for the fintech industry to offer flexible and innovative digital banking along with other open application programming interfaces (APIs).  Fintech enterprises are innovative and nimble but have lower operational costs than traditional banks. Here’s how fintech financial inclusion can assist them in leading the way:  Take financial services to the farthest corners of the country  Increase access to credit  Innovate with velocity and compliance  Promote a cashless economy  With access to alternative data and inclusive infrastructure, institutions can make better credit underwriting decisions. It will also assist them in building credit on ramps in a more digestible way, like extending smaller shares of credit initially and then iterating the models rapidly to authorize limits as they earn trust in a consumer’s ability to remunerate. To support consumers, digital payments need to accept different formats of payment the consumer might be willing to pay.  The broader objective of FinTech is to serve the unmet financial requirements of the different segments of the population that are not the core target of traditional financial services models. By building a sustainable ecosystem, the ultimate drive would be to provide a significant impact of financial inclusion on the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Today, FinTech aims to contribute to the larger purpose of financial inclusion.   Read more: The Rise of Sustainable Finance: 2022 Impact Investment Trends  Opportunities Abound as Economies Embrace Digital Transformation  The skepticism about traditional financial services is playing a significant role in access to finance. There is still a huge potential for alternative instruments to help many businesses become a part of the investment ecosystem. With technology enhancing constantly, it is possible for populations to have easy access to financial products and solutions that will likely drive financial inclusion to much higher levels.  The fintech sector is expected to undergo a digital transformation over the next ten years, and new opportunities will continue to flourish. This shifting role of fintech in financial inclusion in recent years has exponentially increased access to fintech services, thus establishing it as a true driver of financial inclusion. It is assisting in solving many societal issues like economic growth, employment, poverty, and income equality in developed and developing countries.  Here are key drivers that can be employed by these fintech startups to drive financial inclusion:   Creating digital footprints for a large informal sector   Easing qualifying norms and creating credit services that are consumer-friendly and less stringent  Proposing quick liquidity solutions by fostering collateral-free lending mechanisms  These dual themes of improving access to credit and e-commerce infrastructure will emerge as the two core areas of innovation. But the progress on the commerce infrastructure side is still in its early stages.  Read more: Four Ways Traditional Finance is being Disrupted by Open Finance  New Technologies to Drive Fintech Financial Inclusion  The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the creation and adoption of innovative technologies in the evolving financial landscape. Boosted by social distancing measures, in 2021, the number of contactless payment transactions in Turkey doubled when compared with the numbers in 2020, accounting for almost half of all in-store payments, and the payment amount increased three-fold, as per the data shared by the Interbank Card Center of Turkey.  Fostering financial inclusion and access to finance is assisting institutions in emerging as crucial contributions to economic development, thereby enabling social mobility along with ensuring that a maximum number of people can participate effectively in economic life.  As per the World Bank, financial inclusion indicates that individuals, as well as businesses, have access to valuable and affordable financial products and solutions to meet their financial needs – including payments, transactions, savings, credit, and insurance – delivered in a sustainable way.  With the world now seeking to make greater strides to close the financial inequality gap, businesses are turning to novel solutions and approaches to create a difference. The approach to financial inclusion is transitioning from businesses finding solutions for general problems to addressing specific requirements of distinct communities. To support financial inclusion, economies need to develop strong fintech ecosystems that will assist in making fintech financial inclusion services more accessible to an increasing number of people.  Key Highlights  Fintech is changing the way businesses, and the common man can transact 24X7 in real-time.  Financial inclusion today is emerging as the key to building a fair, equitable, and thriving economy.  The rise of the new age of fintech is leading to the rolling out of innovative solutions employing low-cost technology.  It is also supporting the launch of new digital products or digital-only banks.  However, there are still challenges to fostering financial inclusion, particularly in developing economies.  New technologies are assisting in improving access to affordable financial solutions.  Government intervention through the operationalization of FinTech policies is also leading to the launch of initiatives like smart cities and portals for quick approval of loans for small and medium-scale enterprises or SMEs.  Read more: Private Equity Investment: 2022 Trends in Review  In Conclusion  Over the years, fintech has been able to offer businesses the required convenience, user-friendliness, speed in communication, and transfer of data, thus simplifying the process of accessing financial inclusion with user-friendly technology. Networks play a pivotal role in their spread. It is crucial that people are offered the same platform for technology, data, and money transfer to seek business success as well as to induce productivity for consumers, firms, and the government.  Fintech players are fast innovating to prove that with the right use of tech and intent, businesses can build inclusive financial ecosystems. These new developments in the finance sector engendered by fintech startups are exploring new investment avenues and offering an optimistic outlook for SMEs globally. However, it is fundamental that these innovations are complemented with a suitable regulatory framework.  A flexible, agile, and risk-based enabling environment will enable these pioneering fintech organizations to build an inclusive socio-economic fabric. There is an exciting future that awaits that will likely increase access to fintech solutions for the unbanked and underserved populations that require it the most, thereby improving financial wellness across the globe.   With a presence in New York, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Toronto, London, Zurich, Pune, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, SG Analytics, a pioneer in Research and Analytics, offers tailor-made services to enterprises worldwide.                  A market leader in Investment Research Services, SG Analytics assists in strengthening investment decisions by leveraging custom research support. Contact us today if you are in search of an investment research firm that offers tailored research support across a broad range of asset classes.   

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Long-Term Sustainable Value

How is Multi-stakeholder Assessment Helping to Create Long-Term Sustainable Value?

The 21st-century business landscape is ever-evolving and has changed in fundamental ways. Today the term 'capitalism' has become 'stakeholder capitalism.' And in this business landscape, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) is a hot topic of discussion. However, there is still a misunderstanding about what exactly ESG is and what it signifies.  For starters, ESG is not a corporate social responsibility. ESG can only be achieved when enterprises thrive by engaging authentically with their stakeholders - including investors, customers, employees, regulators, partners, and communities - for long-term value creation.   The other factors, like climate crisis and pandemic, are playing a major role and heightening the interest of consumers, investors, and stakeholders in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. Yet, many organizations are still struggling to understand the link between their level of commitment to ESG factors and long-term value propositions.  With ESG becoming a key boardroom topic that has a direct link to organizational value, it is becoming more critical for organizations to assess the role of ESG in their corporate strategy. Companies today need to truly incorporate ESG principles rather than just greenwashing their current strategies with token actions. But how can they embrace ESG and integrate it into their corporate practices to make a difference in their valuations?   Read more: Sustainability in Tech: 3 Ways for Companies to Become More Sustainable  The new generation of employees today care deeply about the higher purpose of the enterprises they work for, and even the customers are motivated to purchase from enterprises whose mission and values are aligned with their own. The investors are showing their interest in investing in companies that are socially and environmentally responsible.   Identifying, understanding, engaging, and creating value for stakeholders mandates a paradigm shift in leadership thinking as well as mindset. It requires systems that span the entire enterprise and ecosystem to guarantee that the goals and commitments are aligned and integrated into the company’s strategy and culture. With a disciplined approach, organizations can truly understand the expectations of their stakeholders as well as leverage the acquired understanding for innovation.     Ways to Initiate Stakeholder Value  Stakeholder value must be authentic to the company through its core business and culture. But it is equally important to identify the corporate purpose. These elements likely impact the materiality of the organization's ESG operations, policies, as well as programs.  But what are the risks as well as the benefits of these ESG policies?   While some may assert that there is a natural conflict between creating shareholder and stakeholder value and that it is a zero-sum game, others believe that by taking the multi-stakeholder approach, businesses will be able to succeed if there is a commitment to make changes and better align the decision-making strategies with their larger impact on society.   Read more: The ESG Rating Phenomenon: A Guide to Understand ESG Ratings  Setting the Corporate Stage for Success  When it comes to organizational strategies for success, there is no 'one size fits all' framework that works. It all boiled down to how a company approaches its ESG policies and values. Each organization has its own sets of challenges and opportunities and its own ESG maturity journey. While some are just starting out on their ESG journey, others have experimented with mixed results. Some have advanced on their journey by incorporating some invaluable practices and lessons. Many organizations start their ESG journey from a risk mitigation and compliance perspective.  The most advanced, however, can change their ESG efforts from risk mitigation and managing the risks while simultaneously creating a long-term sustainable advantage.   But regardless of where an organization is on its ESG journey, there are many principles that can help guide you. By establishing systems and processes designed to achieve those goals, businesses can clearly define their desired outcome.  It is equally important to define the organization's purpose and commitment to creating stakeholder value:  Aligning the board, CEO (Chief Executive Officer), as well as senior leadership.  Leading a multi-stakeholder assessment to identify and understand stakeholders’ expectations.  Ensuring purpose and supporting it by offering a strong commitment, budget, and resources.  Working within the annual planning process ensures those operating plan objectives and performance incentives properly align with the outcomes.  Keeping all employees and partners updated with the changes. And creating and implementing an enterprise-wide culture and change initiatives.  Acknowledging the changes by providing considerable time to adapt to them.  For organizations to build and evolve their ESG program, they need to start listening to society's voice as well as ensure governance clarity and the ESG narrative. Determining these factors to prioritize the level of commitment is imperative to establish a corporate strategy that aligns with the values and goals.  When developing diverse ESG programs for the company, it is vital to understand that this is a journey. Communicating the wins, best practices, and lessons learned internally and externally will aid in improving the existing framework within the organization. Develop an effective communication plan that supports the company's initiatives. Capturing the critical and significant milestones and communicating them to the employees will help in establishing the enterprise as a thought leader in ESG, thereby motivating employees at all levels. Explore opportunities to support external pledges that are authentic to the company's goals and form partnerships with credible external organizations.  Read more: Aligning ESG with Corporate Strategy to Gain a Competitive Advantage  Key Highlights  Amid the rising stakeholder scrutiny of sustainability practices, organizations are facing challenges in linking their ESG commitment to long-term organizational value.  Mainstream investors are diverting their attention to long-term investment opportunities and ESG integration within an organization.  Companies must avoid greenwashing their corporate strategies, embrace ESG principles, and incorporate them into business practices.  Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) enables organizations to capitalize on their sustainability efforts through proactive communication and linkages between ESG and financial performance.  Investor Relations (IR) professionals are employing Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) to tailor their communication and resolve issues that matter most to stakeholders as well as investors.  By leveraging the appropriate long-term value creation metrics, organizations will be better able to demonstrate their company’s ESG commitment to stakeholders.  Shifting the ESG focus on Maximizing Benefits  The ESG approach has exposed companies to reputational and brand equity risks with increased consumer, regulatory, and capital market scrutiny. It also increasingly exposes them to shareholder pressures, resulting in a very real erosion of shareholder value.  However, despite the overwhelming evidence available in favor of incorporating ESG into the corporate framework, the stimulus to prioritize sustainability is proving challenging for many corporate strategists as ESG considerations are wide-ranging and demand trade-offs that can be hard to quantify. Hence the topic of ESH is often considered complex, contradictory, and confusing.  At the same time, multiple studies have highlighted that investors look for focus. Companies that direct their efforts in a concerted manner to various ESG aspects for their sector have demonstrated a higher alpha than their competitors as well as peers.  Read more: ESG and Sustainable Investing: A Guide for ESG-Focused Investors in 2022  But companies also need to provide a clear picture to their stakeholders about their level of ESG commitment. While handling ESG trade-offs is not easy, going on board the ESG focus wave can be worth it. Again, this depends entirely on the company’s individual parameters. Today, achieving such results is not just a matter of investment but also of competent communication of the company’s ESG commitment and goals with the stakeholders, including capital markets.  By identifying and leveraging long-term value creation metrics, businesses can better demonstrate to their stakeholders their contributions toward sustainable, long-term growth across the full ESG strategy development process - from vision definition to implementation.  It is equally important to understand that for this long-term value; companies must have a strategic lens to define how their business creates, delivers, and measures value across the planet, people, prosperity, and governance.  No matter how an organization chooses to look at ESG, it is critical to follow an authentic approach that addresses all stakeholders' requirements for long-term, sustainable value creation. By understanding the drivers of future long-term value, businesses will be able to offer valuable outcomes in their corporate ESG journey.   With a presence in New York, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Toronto, London, Zurich, Pune, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, SG Analytics, a pioneer in Research and Analytics, offers tailor-made services to enterprises worldwide.                       A leader in ESG services, SG Analytics offers bespoke sustainability consulting services and research support for informed decision-making. Contact us today if you are in search of an efficient ESG integration and management solution provider to boost your sustainable performance.      

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Fintech Companies are Revolutionizing B2B Payments

How Fintech Companies are Revolutionizing B2B Payments

For the last few decades, tech has seen rapid growth and development. However, most tech firms still complain that the infrastructure in place for B2B payments is only “somewhat effective.” While the process has become more streamlined of late, it still requires people to approve transactions, regardless of the size.  A big shortcoming of it is also that these kinds of services normally come at a cost. Being able to approve large transactions and make sure they have been made is something that small business owners have to do in-house as it is much too expensive to farm that work out to a specialized firm. That means this technology is largely inaccessible to smaller businesses and remains a luxury that only large, long-standing companies can afford.   This, however, seems to be on the brink of changing. Fintech companies have disrupted the field in many respects. Whether it is to use open finance regulations or simply improve the efficiency of an existing financial instrument, Fintech has made a massive difference in the finance world today. Therefore, it is realistic to expect similar changes to be made in B2B payment processes.   How Emerging Fintech can simplify B2B payment processes:  Make sophisticated safeguards more accessible  Harmonize the connection with third-party vendors  Automate approvals and lending processes  Read More: Europe in Russia’s Gas Crosshairs  Make Sophisticated Safeguards More Accessible  A well-established issue that comes along with handling one’s own B2B transaction is security. Trucking companies in Canada have complained of their entirely cash-based payment systems that make it difficult to pay for normal business expenses such as repairs, parking, cleaning, and other regular payments. Companies are left to wait on phone calls to ensure payments while also having to ensure that receipts are manually written and not lost in the process. Since these companies also do not have point-of-sale in general, there is no way to automate or speed up the whole process. They choose not to transition because of a lack of security, even when compared to simply keeping large amounts of cash on hand.   As a result, Fintech companies are coming out with automatic checks and balances that determine whether a payment should be approved or not. Furthermore, some payment processes can be quite complex, which means they become increasingly vulnerable to hacks and fraud. Although artificial intelligence has not reached the point of sophistication that it would be able to read and approve transactions on its own, Fintech companies have devised solutions that can facilitate connections between small businesses making payments and third-party verifiers who can ensure the payment goes through. This is something that is done at a fairly low cost as it does not require too much expertise once the platform has been created.  Furthermore, small businesses do not have the luxury of a strong or established reputation. Therefore, cybersecurity issues that are publicized can be extremely detrimental to the tangible side of the company. This also means that smaller companies are unable to compromise on payment processes as they cannot afford to take that gamble as to whether their payment vulnerabilities will be exploited or not.    Read More: Five Personal Finance Startups that are Revolutionizing Fintech  Harmonize the Connection with Third-Party Vendors  Automation in B2B payments is an ambitious goal to strive towards. If it is possible to accomplish it without compromising security, it would be truly game-changing for businesses around the world. However, a critical aspect to keep in mind is that different businesses handle payments differently. This means that certain businesses might use different platforms to make payments, while others might use unique payment structures to fit their/their clients’ needs. This means creating a blanket solution to automate B2B payment processes is hard to do without eliminating the disconnect between these businesses and third parties.   In addition to this, there is a lot of friction whenever a new fintech company tries to make a new solution, as there is no ‘one-size fits all’ process when it comes to B2B. Therefore, many countries have seen governments and Fintech companies coming together to mandate a single platform that facilitates all payment services. While not strictly B2B, India saw the introduction of a unified payment interface (UPI), which ensures that different payment methods like Google Pay, PhonePe, and PayTM can all work through the same technology. This also makes it easy for payees to receive their money in their own wallets regardless of what was used for the payment to be made. Similar streamlining has begun to emerge all around the world so that there are more opportunities for third parties to make general solutions.  Read More: Economic Whiplash: What is it and Four Ways to Avoid it  Automate Approvals and Lending Processes  As the world looks forward to the almost inevitable recession, many businesses must look to credit to ensure they can remain afloat in these times. However, dissimilar to normal B2B payment processes, lending processes have become increasingly automated over the years. Fintech has used smart contracts on the blockchain to ensure lending processes are fast and efficient without camouflaging any information or fees.    This has been attempted by companies in simple payments from business to business, but it is much more complicated and requires more criteria to be verified before a payment can be approved. However, if these processes were to be better automated, companies would be able to make and receive payments much faster. This would improve the general economic efficiency when making payments and could lead to widespread improvements to global economies.   The Big Picture  Specialized payments, like many other financial instruments, are difficult and expensive to afford. For decades, larger companies have had it much easier and were able to catalyze growth by not having to worry about trivial things like payments. A large backstop in global economies is that new start-ups must focus on multiple elements like wealth management and accounting that cannot be done effectively without paying for them accordingly. As a result, the growth of many small businesses is hampered, thereby slowing the economy. Removing these roadblocks on the path of small business is of paramount importance due to its repercussions on global economic standards.  When small business owners allocate more of their time to actually improving their products or services, the economy will see better and more innovative solutions coming into play as compared to those that have existed in the past. Small businesses have solidified themselves as a part of the backbone of the economy. Not only do they bring new and improved versions of existing products, but they also ensure that the bigger businesses are unable to remain complacent in their position. This brings more competition and a better environment for innovation and economic prosperity in general.   Therefore, investors must look to fintech companies to help eliminate or, at the least, alleviate the obstacles that these small businesses face.   With a presence in New York, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Toronto, London, Zurich, Pune, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, SG Analytics, a pioneer in Research and Analytics, offers tailor-made services to enterprises worldwide.     A leader in Market Research services, SG Analytics enables organizations to achieve actionable insights into products, technology, customers, competition, and the marketplace to make insight-driven decisions. Contact us today if you are an enterprise looking to make critical data-driven decisions to prompt accelerated growth and breakthrough performance.     

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Rising Role of Technology as a Sustainable Business Asset

The Growing Significance of Technology as a Sustainable Business Asset

Unpredictability has become the new normal since the Covid-19 emergency. And businesses have quickly realized that digitalization is the only way to build the resilience they need to succeed. Hence, in this post-pandemic world, technology and its access to data is not just the backbone but also the beating heart of the business.  Today digital transformation offers the best chance for businesses to compete, deliver a distinguished customer experience, and unlock future success.  Erratic supply chains, a hybrid workforce model, geopolitical unrest, and a heightened regulatory environment - all indicate that it is now imperative for organizations to counterbalance the opportunities provided by digital transformation with the risks inherent in managing the technology.  Read more: Sustainability in Tech: 3 Ways for Companies to Become More Sustainable     The Dawn of Technology-As-A-Service 2.0   Technology provides organizations with a unique platform to accelerate their development, remain competitive, and take advantage of market opportunities. If used wisely, technology offers the chance to support this transition to a greener, sustainable, and more inclusive society.  Gartner's forecasts exhibit that IT spending is likely to reach $4.4 trillion in the year 2022 year. Hence service providers must step up to make it possible for businesses to gain the most from their investment in digital innovations. This indicates that businesses need to consider technology’s life cycle— from financing to decommissioning—to optimize value and minimize liabilities, thereby reducing its negative environmental impact.     Digital Technologies are Becoming Ubiquitous  While digital transformation represents the growing prominence of digital technologies in traditional industries, there is a fall in the prominence of digital technologies in the next era. But this cannot be perceived as a sign of the decline of digital but rather as a prerequisite for digital technologies to emerge in the light of sustainable and economic prosperity.  With the hype around digitalization fading, businesses are driving strategies that are being driven by fear of digital disruption. Businesses are making better decisions to lead the real investment in productive assets, productivity gains, and improvements in standards of operations by putting the new digital technology to work.  The areas of opportunity that are emerging as the key leader of the sustainability agenda are:   integrating a holistic, integrated data and insights program to estimate and drive environmental sustainability  incorporating a sustainability-driven tech strategy  driving transparency and accountability in the operations  With access to digital tools becoming easier, the situation is emerging as a critical differentiator in itself. While businesses are quickly adapting to the new digital circumstances, digital data breaches are also emerging as a threat. Data breaches are becoming more aggressive, heating up the regulatory environment.  Read more: Tech-Related Ethical Concerns Businesses Should Address in 2022  Businesses need to get to grips with how to protect their data during the device life cycle and after. Today, it is unheard of for an organization to supervise its operational devices without a cybersecurity plan. No organization can afford technology with sensitive data that is likely to fall into the wrong hands. Leading businesses are already employing high-powered asset management platforms to supervise and execute their portfolio of devices, both operationally and financially, in order to ensure the resilience of their digital transformation.     Paving a Sustainable Way Forward   Today sustainability is no longer a buzzword. It has grown into an environmental, economic, and social driver that is not only changing our everyday lives but also defining the course of business operations in almost every way imaginable.   Sustainability goals and consequent efforts are enabling businesses to determine how to survive digital transformation. Leading corporate boards are now tracking every milestone of their enterprise sustainability along with the outcomes.  When considering sustainability, businesses also need to start thinking of the social aspects. As a standard factor across these, technology will be a critical player. While the solution is multi-variable-dependent, it can benefit from the use of technology. Technology can assist businesses in measuring as well as enhancing their productivity, offering efficiency and cost savings, and analyzing and tracking progress. All these elements will help minimize the negative impact on the environment.   To achieve environmentally-sustainable economic development, businesses will have to initiate at the local level. Individual countries, in conjunction with their stakeholders, need to develop approaches to solve sustainability crises that are tailored as per their own rate of economic development, cultures, and political systems.   Businesses need to gear up at an exponentially-increased speed to reverse the shrinking of the planet’s biodiversity by employing renewable energy sources and preserving natural resources. Sustainability is emerging as a crucial factor in meeting organizational needs without compromising the ability of future generations.   Read more: Aligning ESG with Corporate Strategy to Gain a Competitive Advantage    The Emergence of Circular Opportunity  Businesses are opening up to the idea that committing to sustainable practices is no longer a 'nice to have' element in the portfolio but a 'must do' component. With the negative impacts of the climate crisis becoming more obvious and ominous, businesses need to show their potential to alter every aspect - from supply chains to profitability. To minimize the harmful impacts, they need to have a solid understanding of the scope of the problem at hand.   While businesses are upgrading their devices to meet the changing demands, they must also address the environmental impact of their technological actions, one that cannot be reduced by recycling alone.  E-waste is considered one of the fastest-growing waste streams globally. Consumers, governments, and shareholders are now putting pressure on organizations to address this underlying issue.  With regulatory margins within the organizations narrowing, the circular economy is the obvious answer for organizations exploring to innovate while integrating sustainability in the digital transformation.  Circular technology service models are reinforcing businesses to fuel their operational growth with new hardware while authorizing repair and reuse to be baked into the procurement process. By applying the circular economy principles, businesses can subside the environmental liabilities associated with technology, thus reducing the carbon impact of devices and minimizing e-waste.    Establishing Strategic Resilience  Today, a successful digital transformation is a key to running a successful business, but businesses do not operate in a vacuum. They function in an ever-dynamic environment that is influenced by many external factors. A wide variety of innovative solutions today are being brought forth by organizations across the globe that are committed to ensuring that the planet can thrive for generations to come.   The right technology is crucial to create a competitive advantage. With every organization racing toward net zero, reducing the environmental impact of tech assets is both an operational and reputational imperative that is slowly attracting the attention of many. And as businesses are digitally innovating at pace, it is crucial for them to achieve growth without jeopardizing sustainability, enhancing security, safeguarding compliance, and maintaining productivity.  Unlocking the solution to the organizational impact on the environment won’t be easy and won’t happen overnight. But it can be accomplished, and technology will undoubtedly be a crucial part of the solution. Only by considering technology as a value-generating business asset rather than a tool can businesses build strategic resilience, seize opportunities and manage risk, thus making their digital transformation a true fit for the future.  Read more: The Sustainability Investments Revolution & its Impact on Climate Targets     Integrating a New Mindset  For an organization, irrespective of its size or industry, the first vital step to establishing a resource-efficient way of consuming technology is incorporating a shift in mindset. This mindset will enable them to transition from a traditional model toward a system where access to devices will be perceived as the key to growth, innovation, and competitive advantage. This will help inculcate a practice where resources are reused rather than wasted. However, just a new mindset is not enough. Businesses need to inculcate new practical, actionable, and profitable solutions to make this leap.  The good news here is - starting this transition toward circularity is easier than ever.  Organizations can partner with solution providers that will assist them in integrating technology in their operations and center it on organizational activities. This will help them optimize their IT stack, simplify their procurement processes, and manage their costs while improving their sustainability credentials.  With a presence in New York, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Toronto, London, Zurich, Pune, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, SG Analytics, a pioneer in Research and Analytics, offers tailor-made services to enterprises worldwide.                         A leader in the Technology domain, SG Analytics partners with global technology enterprises across market research and scalable analytics. Contact us today if you are in search of combining market research, analytics, and technology capabilities to design compelling business outcomes driven by technology. 

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Tech Innovations helping Businesses

How are Tech Innovations helping Businesses to Survive the Economic Downturn?

Today the world is a new and different place than it was three years ago. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. It has severely impacted the foundations of society, from education to work, food, and entertainment.   The COVID-19 pandemic brought along unprecedented and sudden shifts that altered the course of economies across the globe. The pandemic led to nationwide lockdowns, empty trains and office buildings, negative oil prices, stimulus checks at an unprecedented scale, blistered growth in e-commerce, and much more.   Whenever a problem arises, the world responds to it with solutions. The same can be expressed for economic downturns. A recent Harvard Business Review quoted that despite the ongoing volatility, the current environment offers enterprises unique opportunities to invest in an innovation-driven future.  Everyone saw instinctive government investment in new vaccines, new policies on test-taking at universities, and reimagined ways of working across the globe. These transformations would have taken years without the immediate alarming urgency created due to the pandemic. Digital solutions to counter the challenges of the pandemic have arrived in myriad forms, ranging from digital wallets to artificial intelligence.  Then, just when COVID-19 was becoming endemic, Russia invaded Ukraine, thereby delivering another blow to the global economy. There is still a rising sense that a recession is growing. And if it does, will it cause innovation to slow?   Read more: A New Approach to Accelerate Innovation in Market Research  The answer is no, not necessarily. History holds proof that recessions have led to the creation of opportunities for innovators.  The rapid growth in innovation over the past few years in response to the pandemic is living proof of something fundamental. It is proof that 'Necessity is indeed the mother of invention as well as adoption.'   However, there is no denying the fact that economic downturns also put pressure on organizations to find efficiencies, optimize their operations as well as performance and improve their KPIs. As a result, a plethora of things takes place.  Investment options get tightly scrutinized. A clear business case becomes a critical criterion for a presented expense.  Companies often feel that they have done everything they can to achieve efficiency and yet are falling short of their goals. They start searching for new ideas that promise clear returns to drive down costs.  Economic downturns offer an impetus to industries to explore new ways of getting things done. This may involve implementing innovative tech that a company was earlier hesitant about but is now opening up to due to cost savings or necessity.  Technology developers have started shifting their focus to developments that show faster ROI to customers.  The economic downturn presents major opportunities for industry innovators. The crisis can be perceived as a good time to introduce game-changing offerings or simple and affordable solutions, or make bold, strategic moves. The resource scarcity that accompanies inflation or recession scenario can force innovators to accomplish things they should have been doing: prune prudently, re-feature to cut costs, grasp smart strategic experiments, or even manage the risks of innovating by sharing them with others.   Read more: Minimizing Financial Risk With Corporate Governance  The Pandemic Havoc and the Changes it Initiated  The specific pressures faced by businesses today vary by sector, industry, and region. However, the depth of impact from the ripple has been felt by all. The full impact of these headwinds is now advancing towards triggering a recession, thereby worsening the economic conditions.  Due to the downturn initiated by the COVID-19 pandemic, something as basic as the QR code became a permanent fixture in many businesses - large and small. The pandemic also drove the creation of new use cases for emerging technology. Many enterprises accelerated digital transformation to enable remote operating models while complying with social distancing mandates and limiting the number of people working in an office space. This enabled businesses to maintain their continuity, along with contributing to a safer working environment.   Companies involved in vaccine manufacturing started leveraging new innovations to respond rapidly to the pandemic. Vaccine makers began to quickly draw on a decade of mRNA vaccine research and put emerging theories to practical use. Once the vaccines were created, these companies began leveraging automation along with digital twins coupled with modeling technologies to track the development and manufacturing process of the vaccines.   In industrial environments, businesses and teams started implementing tools like our remote virtual office (RVO) platform to empower their project personnel globally to collaborate in a secure virtual environment. Tools like these enabled them only to reduce their travel requirements but also helped the teams significantly to maintain project schedules and costs, thereby reducing the risk.   The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic led to companies immediately pivoting to virtual meeting technologies that were not common before. Industrial companies that insisted on 'in-person' projects suddenly pushed operations into virtual checkouts. This rapid adoption of new innovation was purely driven out of necessity. However, it is unlikely that anyone will completely return to their old ways of operation.   Read more: Economic Whiplash: What is it and Four Ways to Avoid it  Differentiating with Digital Innovation    Economic crises cause businesses to reduce their investment, including innovation, where returns are uncertain and long-term. The 2008 financial crisis substantially highlighted the reduced willingness of firms to invest in tech innovation. However, the reduction in investment has not been uniform across industries. Many organizations increased their innovation expenditures in the face of crisis.  The drivers of innovation investment before, during, and following the pandemic have undergone tremendous changes. Before the crisis, incumbent enterprises were likely to expand their innovation investment, whereas, after the crisis, small enterprises and new entrants were willing to swim against the flow by extending their innovative-related expenditures.  To browse through crises, businesses need to identify the key actions that will be helpful in driving their competitive position. A few avenues businesses can explore include-  Automating processes to permanently downsize the cost of doing business.  Augmenting and automating activities with technology like artificial intelligence or robotics to reduce labor costs and shore up production. This will also help in freeing up scarce, high-cost talent, thereby focusing on value-creating activities.  Producing relevant digital solutions that will help in enhancing customer and employee experience.  In short, it is all about focusing digitalization on differentiating the organization’s cost and capital structure along with the products, pricing, value proposition, as well as risk profile.   Key Highlights  Economic crises compel companies to reduce their investment in innovation.  With inflation, scarce talent & constrained global supplies squeezing corporate performance, the possibility of a recession could lie ahead.   However, the drivers of innovation before and during the COVID-19 pandemic have been vastly different.  By employing creative destruction and technological accumulation, enterprises are expanding their innovation investment.  Investing in the right digital innovations at the right cost can help businesses sail through the negative impacts of economic pressures in the short term, thus building long-term competitive advantage.  Read more: Anticipating the Unanticipated: Balancing Business Resilience in the new age of Innovation  In Conclusion  During the continued economic downturn, businesses are investing in new life technology that holds the potential to automate technology and recipe transfer to manufacturing locations with a click. Biopharmaceutical companies are getting therapies safely and quickly to market. Even manufacturing facilities are organizing and equipping their facilities as well as operations differently.  However, for organizations, the barrier to incorporating the new and more efficient technology-driven processes is often the work process change or transformation that those processes bring along.   Concerns over employees not retraining to these new processes, or the potential elimination of positions, can cause hesitancy or resistance. However, organizations can quickly overcome this hesitancy by embracing the new reality of economic downturns as the need to sustain results becomes paramount.  In the end, every enterprise is striving to deliver on its value proposition, irrespective of the economic environment. This is driving businesses to integrate new innovations for quicker adoption. With the right investment decisions and business associations, organizations can come out of a downturn and gain a better place than before.  But will it be a hard landing or soft one? It is a question that only the future holds the answer to.  With a presence in New York, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Toronto, London, Zurich, Pune, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, SG Analytics, a pioneer in Research and Analytics, offers tailor-made services to enterprises worldwide.                 A leader in the Technology domain, SG Analytics partners with global technology enterprises across market research and scalable analytics. Contact us today if you are in search of combining market research, analytics, and technology capabilities to design compelling business outcomes driven by technology.      

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Five Ways to Invest in Your Employees for Better Business Results

Why Investing in Employees Enables Better Business Results?

One thing that the pandemic taught every organization is the significance of investing in your employees. While organizations were probably aware of the importance, companies with higher engagement are now becoming more resilient and productive. To generate higher revenue, they are tending to the needs of their employees.  In recent Gartner surveys, CEOs rate culture as their biggest concern when it comes to in-office and work-from-home policies for knowledge workers, and HR leaders say the most challenging aspect of the hybrid strategy is adjusting their current culture to be supportive of their workforce. However, current trends in business and technology indicate that the way employees work has and will continue to change.  Today, employee engagement is perceived as employees' involvement and enthusiasm in their work as well as their workplace. Essentially, this makes a difference when employees are engaged in their work, whereas those who are just waiting to finish their daily tasks.  Read more: The Rise of a Data-Driven Work Environment: What Do Enterprises Need to Know  A recent Gallup research started that worldwide around 85% of employees are either unengaged or actively disengaged at work, despite the effort put in by organizations. It is a tough place when employee engagement is lacking, no matter what parameters are employed for their growth and comfort, especially if the organization is actively working towards improving it.   Investing in organizational talent is one of the best things an organization can undertake. When the employees are engaged in their work, they will be more productive and loyal to their company.    But how can organizations continue investing in their employees? Let's figure out how.     Fostering A Flexible Work Environment  Over the span of the past year, there has been a lot of debate about whether employees should return to the office, or they should be allowed to work remotely and integrate the hybrid work model. In the end, there are good arguments that can be made on both sides of the aisle. What most employees are looking for is flexibility. They want to present their best at work while also managing the ongoing demands of their personal lives. With a flexible workplace, employees, as well as the organization, can work in a less stressful environment as well as enjoy their work more.  Workplace flexibility can be perceived in what an employee looks for in it. For instance, an organization can offer their employees the option to arrive early or work late if it suits their schedule.      Implementing a Competitive Compensation Plan  It can be challenging for an organization to attract as well as retain top talent if they do not offer a competitive compensation plan. For instance, a competitive salary is at the market level or sometimes above. However, if an organization cannot offer an above-market salary, it can compensate for it in other ways.  Incorporating additional perks such as extra PTO or retirement savings plans can help in making the overall compensation look more attractive. At the very least, businesses can add health, dental, and vision insurance to their competitive benefits package. They can also cover a part of their employees’ premiums, too. Organizations can explore ways to make their employees feel adequately compensated for their work. By putting a strategic compensation package in place, businesses can hire, engage, as well as retain the right talent.  Read more: Types of Hybrid Work Models: How are they Reinventing the Future of Work?     Making the Workplace a Fun Place  Does the organization offer a thriving work environment to the employees?   Is the workplace a fun place to be at?   Do the employees get along and work well together?   These questions will assist organizations in finding the required loopholes. And if the answer to them is no, then this is probably an indication as to where the organization should start the fixation process from. If the employees do not enjoy being at work, then it may not matter what benefits package and organization offers.  The initial and easy step an organization can undertake is by focusing on encouraging their employees more - by recognizing the valuable contributions of their employees to the business as well as by providing productive feedback whenever possible. They can even celebrate the employee’s birthday or anniversary. By planning team-building activities, the employees can also get a chance to know more about one another.    Investing in Talent is Critical for Recovery   Looking ahead, industry leaders should be wise in supporting employees. This will be not just good for the employees but will also be fruitful for the business. While employee cost-reduction strategies were common and aggressive during the pandemic, the wheels have now turned. Businesses are now exploring and inventing ways to identify new talent opportunities that are centered on supporting employee engagement.   Failing to invest in employees could risk a decline in the discretionary effort as well as the intent to stay at the very time that the organizations require the employees to drive through the economic recovery.     Creating an Inclusive Employee Development Plans  Employee development plans in an organization are crucial for business expansion and growth. However, it is even more important. A recent McKinsey survey stated that almost 58% of employees are working from home at least one day per week.   Read more: How are Organizations Modernizing their Data Security and Management?  An employee development plan is a blueprint or a framework for how employees can progress in their prospective careers within an organization. It provides an overview of the employee’s current competencies as well as skills, along with giving them actionable goals to work toward. When undertaken in the right format, the plan can assist aimless employees in gaining a greater purpose in their work. The employee development plans also offer a way to buy into the process, making it fun and optional.  If an organization starts implementing the plan for their employees and makes it mandatory, it will lead to pushbacks. Instead, by fostering an environment of transparency, businesses can create a work culture that supports development.  In Short  The pandemic brought the future of work forward, highlighting the need for new policies that put the employees at the center. The new work patterns are being aimed at becoming the next normal.  Enabling an innovative, inclusive, and insightful workplace demands a strategy to reevaluate how work is done.  It is equally vital to share the lack of connection to the organization’s culture and check how the employees feel.  Reshaping culture along with leadership for a sustainable hybrid workplace is equally important.  The future direction of the workplace is now aimed at investing in organizational talent to create a fulfilling work environment.    How will the Workplaces Change in the Future?  Pandemic-driven changes in existing working models have led to the creation of a range of challenges and opportunities, including how best to retain and engage existing employees and offer people the value and purpose they now expect from work. With the hybrid work model becoming the norm, concerns are growing about the work culture that is being diluted.   Middle management will take up different responsibilities  Upskilling and digital dexterity to outweigh tenure and experience  Employee data collection will expand with innovative inputs  Smart machines will have the same place in the operations, i.e., as colleagues  Employees will work for purpose and passion  Remote work-life balance will demonstrate new challenges  Read more: Reenergizing the Workplace: Ways to Manage and Overcome COVID fatigue     In Conclusion  After the pandemic and organizations getting comfortable with the new hybrid work setup, businesses are now diverting their attention towards investing more in their employees. Investing in organizational talent goes beyond just salary and the additional benefits that are offered. It is equally vital to take into consideration the time and energy that is put into developing the workplace.  Every employee is different. Hence, what works for one person may or may not work for another. By continuing to try new and integrate new components as well as asking for feedback from the employees, businesses can explore new avenues of integrating effective measures to promote employee growth. Over time, they will realize that the company culture, as well as the business results, have started to improve.   With a presence in New York, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Toronto, London, Zurich, Pune, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, SG Analytics, a pioneer in Research and Analytics, offers tailor-made services to enterprises worldwide.                        A leader in Market Research services, SG Analytics enables organizations to achieve actionable insights into products, technology, customers, competition, and the marketplace to make insight-driven decisions. Contact us today if you are an enterprise looking to make critical data-driven decisions to prompt accelerated growth and breakthrough performance.

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The Next Generation of Climate-Smart Agriculture

Explained: How Technology is Enabling the Next Generation of Climate-Smart Agriculture

The existential problem of global warming, as well as the urge to decarbonize the largest emitting industries, like agriculture, has brought to the limelight the need to develop the strategies that can be employed to understand the impact agriculture has on the environment.  This is the time to make agriculture more sustainable, not only to lower greenhouse emissions but also to promote as well as incentivize the transition from conventional agricultural practices like deep cultivation of the field, lack of crop diversity, and usage of synthetic fertilizers.  However, the problem also works in reverse. Agriculture today accounts for a major part of the climate problem as it generates 19–29% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Without any action plan, this percentage is set to rise substantially, while other sectors are reducing their emissions. Additionally, 1/3 of food cultivated globally is either lost or wasted. Addressing food loss and waste today is critical to meeting climate goals as well as reducing stress on the environment.  While the advancements in the standard framework for the emissions from sourced components were a crucial step toward industry-wide approach standardization, this policy, however, does not lend itself to estimate improvement. It is not granular enough as it does not track the changes in practices implemented on farms.  Read more: The Sustainability Investments Revolution & its Impact on Climate Targets  However, what was previously not possible due to the lack of data and visibility is becoming attainable due to a range of technologies that are making monitoring agricultural practices and measuring their environmental outcomes possible on a global level. These technologies are not only captivating but are emerging as the key enablers for the next generation of climate-smart agriculture.  Farming, in general, is known to emit significant amounts of nitrous oxide and methane - two potent greenhouse gases. Due to this reason, climate-smart agriculture, or CSA, is gaining significance all over the globe in order to satisfy the set of climate challenges while generating food and energy in an environmentally sustainable manner.  What is Climate-smart Agriculture?  Climate-smart agriculture, or CSA, as per the Food and Agricultural Organizations (FAO), is defined as increasing agricultural production in a sustainable manner by adapting to and constructing resilience to the climate and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. CSA is a strategic approach to increase technical, policy, and investment in the environment to achieve sustainable agricultural growth as well as food security in the face of the climate change crisis. Experts are of the opinion that a range of techniques can be employed to fulfill the goals of climate-smart agriculture. Enhancing the use of inclusive renewable energy sources for agriculture, like windmills, solar panels, and bio-energy-powered water pumps, can help in building energy-efficient food systems.  Resource-conserving technologies or RCTs like zero tillage allow farmers to cultivate wheat fairly shortly after paddy or cotton produce can help in preventing warmer temperatures that are damaging to grain development.  Reports have shown that the rise of recently developed variants, including heat, drought, and salinity tolerance is also an enhanced CSA technique. It is critical to recognize territories and crops that are vulnerable to climate change crises. So that these crop varieties can be relocated to a more suitable area, weather forecasting, along with early warning systems, can also assist in reducing the risks of climatic change. Administrators and scientists can benefit by employing information and communication technology ICT in the organizing of emergency plans.  Computer-aided crop growth methods can support as well as help to determine the potential impact of climate change on potential agricultural output. It can also be used as a vital resource for the innovation of climate-smart agriculture and mitigation strategies.   Read more: The Fight Against Greenwashing: Are Money Funds the Next Target?  Crop models qualify for the variability of environmental aspects, including water system and temperature, and they also simulate crop response through a combination of projected growth parameters like agricultural output. The climate-smart agriculture solutions strive to achieve three significant goals -  improved productivity  increased resilience   reductions in emissions  Achieving the Triple Win with Climate-smart Agriculture  Climate-smart agriculture, or CSA, offers an integrated approach to managing landscapes like cropland, forests, and fisheries, as well as to addressing the interlinked challenges of food security and the accelerating climate crisis. CSA seeks to simultaneously achieve the following outcomes:  Improved productivity: Production of better food will help in improving nutritional security as well as boosting incomes, specifically of 75* of the world’s poor who reside in rural areas and rely on agriculture as their source of livelihood.  Increased resilience: By reducing vulnerability to drought, pests, diseases, and other climate-induced risks and shocks, along with the improved capacity to adapt and grow in the face of longer-term stresses like shortened seasons and erratic weather patterns, will act as an added support to the farmers.  Reductions in emissions: Pursuing lower emissions for each calorie or kilo of food produced will help in avoiding deforestation from agriculture, along with identifying ways to absorb carbon out of the atmosphere.  Read more: TCFD: Exploring the New Regulations for Reporting Climate-Related Data  Reducing the Levels of Emissions  Companies working to reduce their emissions were employing general methods to account for those emissions, thereby attributing them to a distinct type of commodity sourced from a certain area; let's consider soybeans grown in Brazil. To yield an emission factor of soybeans in Brazil, a fixed set of parameters reflecting emissions from an average farm production would have been used. New innovative tools are enabling leading agricultural producers as well as food manufacturers to gain visibility into the circumstances and their impact on global food production. These technologies include:  satellite imagery  big data  impact models  Climate-smart agriculture explicitly seeks efficiencies and trade-offs between modification, food security, and mitigation. Several farming methods have been recognized to contribute to achieving both of these goals at the same time. These emissions can be estimated on a ton of CO2 of element basis and would be static irrespective of the weather conditions or yields and non-location-specific, meaning - the differences in management in neighboring farms or those in distant parts of the country could not be captured with this static emission factor method.  Key Highlights  The food security challenge is likely to become more difficult, as the world is still required to produce about 70% more food by 2050 to feed an estimated 9 billion people.  Agriculture accounts for almost 73% of India's methane emissions.  Farming, in particular, is known to emit significant amounts of nitrous oxide and methane - two of the most potent greenhouse gases.  Experts are of the belief that a range of techniques can be employed to meet the goals of climate-smart agriculture.  Read more: Green Finance: The Next Step to Align India's Climate Priorities    To Sum Up  Like many industries, agriculture is also seeking to decarbonize rapidly and at a scale. This is where technology comes into the limelight. Tech innovations like satellite imagery, big data, and impact models are uniquely being positioned in the framework to rapidly accelerate investments in order to measure and monitor the global food systems. Technology leaders today have a few options for getting started with these tech solutions in their organizations. They need to choose between investing in their in-house development of the solution or accessing it through a third-party provider.   Built on existing knowledge, technologies, and sustainable agriculture principles, climate-smart agriculture is distinct in many ways.   To begin with, it explicitly focuses on addressing the climate crisis.   Secondly, smart agriculture technology systematically evaluates the synergies and tradeoffs that exist between productivity, adaptation, and mitigation.   Lastly, climate-smart agriculture seeks to capture new funding opportunities to seal the deficit in investment.  With the appropriate investments and adoption of climate-smart approaches, agricultural production systems can gain a greater resilience that is vital in today's changing climate crisis and disrupted food supply chains.  These smart agriculture solutions are putting the limelight on the importance of sustainable agriculture practices, thus enabling the agriculture sector to lead through a more targeted adoption and implementation of programs to enhance the resiliency of global food systems.  With a presence in New York, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Toronto, London, Zurich, Pune, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, SG Analytics, a pioneer in Research and Analytics, offers tailor-made services to enterprises worldwide.                    A leader in the Technology domain, SG Analytics partners with global technology enterprises across market research and scalable analytics. Contact us today if you are in search of combining market research, analytics, and technology capabilities to design compelling business outcomes driven by technology.

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