PPlease see below selected pre-2016 intelligence about technology. This is a synthesis of major recent developments at competitors, business schools, thinktanks, media, commentators, and other key influencers.
- KPMG released its ‘Fintech 100’ report, a collaborative effort with fintech investment firm, H2 Ventures. The report identified the leading 50 ‘Established’ fintech companies across the globe, and 50 ‘Emerging Stars’. Fintech is now truly a global sector – The list is comprised of 40 US companies, 20 from EMEA, 18 from the UK and 22 from Asia Pacific. China fintech leads the world – ZhongAn, a Chinese company tops this year’s list, and there are seven Chinese fintech companies on the list (with six in the 50 Established list). Payments is at most risk of disruption - Fintech growth in payments, currencies and transactions sees these segments of fintech now representing 25% of the Fintech 100, a substantial uplift on last year. Insurance finds its fintech footing - The top 2 companies on the list are insurance fintechs (with 7 overall, compared to none last year). Shift from disruptors to enablers – 25 ‘enablers’ (service providers to financial companies) this year, compared to 7 last year.
- Many executives pine for their internal IT systems to give them a more consumer-friendly experience, claimed the Harvard Business Review. They point to the simplicity, ease of use, and hassle-free nature of the digital services they use in their personal lives: the apps on their smart phone that make services available at the push of a button, software that can be installed and configured with the click of an icon, the ability to plug a printer into a laptop’s USB port and have it ready to print, a tablet that can be connected to the internet without any cautionary pop-ups warning about potential security risks or possible compatibility problems. In the consumer IT world everything just seems to work, they lament. Why does corporate IT make things so complicated? Unfortunately, most executives don’t recognise that consumer IT and enterprise IT are different animals. They don’t understand that they must play the pivotal role in the critical decisions that shape enterprise IT- decisions that they leave to the likes of Yahoo, Apple, Google, and Vodafone in the consumer world.
- Technology is reshaping the accounting, audit and consulting divisions that are the bread and butter of professional services firms, according to the Financial Times. They are trying to fight back, launching partnerships with technology companies, picking dynamic start-ups to invest in and increasingly employing techniques that are the foundations on which innovative technology companies such as Google and Amazon are built. Innovate or die is the stark message for the professional services firms - e.g. online accounting services offered by the traditional firms are ripe for disruption, as technology moves activities online and lowers barriers to entry. They are competing with established brands such as SAP, Salesforce and Oracle, as well as newer businesses such as Square, the payments company launched by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, and Receipt Bank, which removes the need for manual data entry of bills and receipts.
- Data is the lifeblood of the digital economy, it can give insight, inform decisions and deepen relationships. It can be bought, sold, shared and even stolen, all things that suggest that data has value. Yet when PwC surveyed 1,800 senior business leaders, very few organisations can attribute a value to their data and, more concerning, many don’t yet have the capabilities we’d expect to manage, protect and extract that value. The business leaders we questioned were divided equally between Europe and North America, and in mid-sized organisations (over 250 employees) and enterprises (over 2,500 employees). The results of the study, which was done on behalf of Iron Mountain by our Research to Insight (r2i) team, have been used to create a first-of-its-kind Information Value Index which benchmarks how well different businesses in different countries currently manage their information for competitive advantage.
- IBM announced that it will invest $3 billion and hire 2,000 workers to staff its new Internet of Things (IoT) Business Unit. This reinforces the computing powerhouse’s dedication to powering connectivity and playing a major role in the development of mainstream IoT applications. According to a recent IoT Strategies Service report by Strategy Analytics, to date, IBM has invested more than $10 billion to spearhead its interrelated IoT, analytics and cloud initiatives. The SA report provides a detailed overview of IBM’s multi-pronged approach to advancing its IoT initiatives. There are four foundational elements to the strategy: devices and networks, platforms, applications and solutions, and industry-specific transformations.
- The New York Times tackled the question that if, these days, every company is at least a little bit of a tech company (e.g. some Wall Street banks employ more tech workers than all but the biggest Silicon Valley companies. And large manufacturers like General Electric are leading the way in efforts to put Internet-connected sensors on things as varied as streets and turbines), why then are some start-ups called tech companies and others just … companies? “Tech means more than just producing hardware or software,” according to the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “It is synonymous with innovation, research and development, long-term thinking.”
- In Tech Firms Beware: Don’t Disappoint Investors, the Wall Street Journal warned that technology companies whose earnings disappoint investors are paying an unusually large toll this quarter, highlighting Wall Street’s high expectations for the sector at a time of uneven economic growth.
- The emerging Internet of Things (IoT) is demanding new initiatives toward enterprise architecture, data services and integration, according to a survey of 675 application developers, which finds broad support for IoT initiatives, but a lot of work ahead. The study, conducted by Harbor Research and underwritten by Progress, found that at least 45% of developers are working on IoT initiatives, and 75% felt IoT is going to deliver positive results. However, at this point, only 50% of developers say they have the skills, resources and technological tools to deliver on IoT expectations, the survey finds. That's because there are many new moving parts that will need to be added to already complex IT infrastructures.In fact, nearly a third experience data overload and feel overwhelmed trying to manage it all when managing data sets for contextualised IoT apps,
- The European Union outlined its strategy to create a digital single market. The thrust of the proposals include establishing standard rules for buying goods online, pruning cross-border regulations on telecoms and reducing the tax burden on businesses. But the plan also calls for a “comprehensive assessment” of whether Google, Facebook and other internet platforms distort competition. Still, the strategy was broadly welcomed. The EU expects it will generate €415 billion ($468 billion) a year for the economy and produce 3.8m new jobs.
- After decades of development, 3D printing is now ready to revolutionise manufacturing, claimed China Daily. For example, the southern Chinese city of Changsha has launched a new industrial park and what sets it apart is that it is China's first hub for 3D printing technology, and was established with an immediate goal to produce 100 3D printers, and to triple the number of devices by 2016. Taking Changsha's lead, the cities of Wuhan and Zhuhai have announced plans to develop similar industry hubs.
- In its annual organisational and staffing survey of eBusiness and channel strategy professionals, Forrester found that while eBusiness budgets have grown by more than 10%, finding the skills and capabilities to execute on a digital strategy is becoming harder and harder.