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Businesses Tap AI and Big Data to Offset COVID-19

July 24, 2020

A 2020 Global Growth Index report explored the growth trajectory of companies around the world and provides insight on how business leaders are using technology to support and drive growth initiatives. The index looks at the constantly changing state of growth in the manufacturing, distribution, retail and e-commerce industries along with what trends impact the bottom line.

The report’s findings show that companies across the globe are embracing technologies to offset the impacts of global volatility, such as COVID-19 and supply chain disruptions. These market conditions are fueling the need to enhance business resilience over the next 12 months, with companies prioritizing better technology (41.4%), better planning (38.9%) and working more efficiently (40.9%). Other key themes identified through the research is listed as followed:

Investments in AI and Big Data are paying off

  • AI is driving growth and proving worth the investment for most organizations, with more than 80% of respondents reporting that AI delivered business value in 2 years or less. According to 85.4% of total respondents AI was driving growth overall, with 37.9% specifically reporting that it helped to increase competitiveness.
  • Big data analytics is driving growth and proving worth the investment for most organizations, by optimizing operations (42.7%), increasing sales (44%) and improving profitability (45.3%).

Cloud is poised to be a priority

  • Cloud technology is set to be a key strategic priority, with one out of four respondents saying they will prioritize investing in it in 2020.
  • When asked about key technology trends that are expected to be emerging over the next 12-18 months, cloud was chosen as the second most likely to have the biggest positive, direct impact on future industry growth.

“It’s no secret that recent global events have disrupted the normal order of operations and further spurred businesses’ adoption of technology,” said Steve Murphy, Chief Executive Officer at Epicor. “The trends outlined in this report prove to the wider business community that technology investment is paying off, and that technology investment will continue to be vital if leaders wish to successfully maintain business resiliency, adapt to geopolitical volatility, and stay flexible around market changes.”

The global report also revealed impactful insights from key decision makers about their business growth and their future plans in the following countries:

  • US: When asked about key technology trends that they could see emerging over the next 12-18 months, 5G (38.5%), cloud technology (37.9%) and AI/ML (32%) were said to have the biggest positive, direct impact on future growth.
  • UK: When asked about what played a significant role in creating a positive influence for business growth over the past 12 months, technology and IT infrastructure (33.9%) and staff skills and experience (31.5%) were said to have the biggest impact.
  • Asia: Companies surveyed reported that increasing global competition (55.4%), tax implications (51.2%), and regulation changes (50.1%) had the biggest effect on the company’s global supply chain.
  • Australia: Most companies surveyed are using excellent customer service (42.1%) and big data analytics (47.1%) to increase competitiveness.
  • Canada: When asked about what played a significant role in creating a positive influence for business growth, planning and strategy (34.1%), level of agility and flexibility (33.1%) and brand reputation (28.9%) were said to have the biggest impact on their industries over the last 12 months.

This online survey, the fourth one undertaken by Epicor, was conducted in March 2020 by global research firm Dimensional Research. Responses were received from 2,002 professionals across 23 countries. All respondents oversee or perform essential duties that informs the business decisions for their organization, across the manufacturing, distribution and shipping, retail and e-commerce verticals. The survey did not knowingly poll customers of Epicor. Survey participants represented organizations with 100 employees to 5,000+ employees worldwide.

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