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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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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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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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The Future of Insurance

The Future of Insurance: How Providers can Embrace Technology to Thrive in the Online World

Insurance has always had something of a negative perception around the world. Rather than something that people wanted to spend on, it was more of a necessary evil that most had to come to terms with. This ambivalence towards insurance is understandable as it has a reputation for staying antiquated and refusing to get with the times. However, as customer expectations rise and technology advances, it becomes increasingly important to foster innovation in the field.   In a survey done by PwC, 41% of policyholders claimed they chose to look elsewhere for insurance when they realized that their providers lacked digital capabilities. With technology making its rounds in facilitating convenience in different sectors, it is a fair expectation for consumers to have it to do the same in insurance.   Taking that into consideration, a big part of this reputation that insurance has is also dated. In reality, many insurance companies have adopted newer, more technology-based methods. Furthermore, the insurance sector has also seen a boom in AI-related services that make insurance fairer and more realistic for providers and consumers.   Read More: The Sustainability Investments Revolution & its Impact on Climate Targets  Open-Source Data Ecosystems  For decades, industrial equipment has come with in-built sensors that alert the user of any maintenance requirements and vulnerabilities. This has also been common in sports, where Formula 1 cars are equipped with hundreds of different sensors for the team to monitor performance and oncoming challenges. Similarly, professional Football players have seen the introduction of more advanced fitness trackers that can detect speed, heart rate, ball tracking, heatmaps, and many others to make practices and match performances easier to analyze.   Eventually, similar technology was introduced to consumer devices as well. Cars that we buy now often come with many sensors for the companies to perform diagnostics when there are issues. However, certain insurers have started to partner with these companies in using that data to get a more realistic estimate of insurance contracts and policies. This means that even if a car is old and worn down, if the user has taken care of it and had it regularly serviced, sensors in the car will be able to show insurance providers that the car is at low risk meaning that the policy buyer will get a more holistic analysis of how much they need to pay.   This is also being prototyped into being applied to health insurance schemes. Users with various health conditions can use health monitors to detect when their condition improves and whether a modification should be made to the policy itself. Some people have criticized having sensitive data shared with providers without one’s permission. However, it is clear that it is a small trade-off for a large benefit.  Read More: Five Personal Finance Startups that are Revolutionizing Fintech  A Database of Connected Devices  With all the different web services people use in a normal day, the databases they have on consumer data are massive. Companies like Google and Amazon are able to compile user data to provide general data insights for a wide array of different applications. For example, Google uses search data as well as analysis of popular YouTube content to aid in advertising in their AdSense service.  A similar application of data can be innovated in insurance. As technology develops at an extremely high rate, the world is constantly seeing the development of entirely new product categories. By utilizing this data, insurers can have a better idea of how valuable certain items are as well as how easy they are to damage. Furthermore, there are luxury options in just about everything, from shoes to even medical trackers. It is difficult for insurance companies to keep up with these changes, and it might be easier for artificial intelligence to create policies based on data that is readily available.   Almost all devices are connected to some larger databank, and it is time insurance starts utilizing that too.   Deep Learning Techniques for Optimization  For a long time, insurance agents had to look up the individual date on each customer. From that, they had to determine how much they were entitled to and how this could be serviced. For the future scenario, many experts have suggested adopting a more automated approach through artificial intelligence and a new branch of machine learning called deep learning.   Deep learning is supposed to be able to analyze, interpret, and make determinations based on data that is available. Many new customer service bots utilize this technology by looking through massive amounts of text data and human writing to respond in a realistic and normal way. Similarly, insurers can use this technology to serve clients. Not only would this be efficient, but it would make it easier to service a much larger volume of clients too. At the same time, reducing labor costs would mean that insurance would be made slightly more affordable to those who need it.   The better resource allocation would also be more economically optimal. This is because less money would be used in processes that do not require it. Moreover, when an economy experiences economic whiplash, insurance is less likely to be impacted as much because it has a more automated process that does not require the payment of a human wage.   Read More: Data & Analytics Strategy: Must-Have Crucial Elements for Decision Making  Caters better to Demand  In the past, insurance was used for a few things. The most common forms of insurance were health, home, and life. However, now it is normal to have auto, auto, and even travel. Although these are the main insurance classes, one can insure just about anything that has value. This means that insurance companies need to adapt to this and look at what products are most likely to be insured.   For example, in Monaco, insurance companies were able to use purchasing data and realize that jewelry items were a massive source of income for insurance. Using this data, they were able to see what kind of jewelry was most common as well as how much it was worth and whether there was a possibility for the pieces to appreciate. This made it more efficient for consumers who had just purchased a new piece of jewelry while the company was able to profit as it realized a gap in the market and was able to make it more accessible to the citizens.   Ensuring Growth in Insurance  With the new start-ups and methods that existing insurance companies are becoming more and more advanced, it is clear that this will help support the burgeoning of the insurance industry even further. Technology that has been used so far has made things more efficient and lowered operation costs on behalf of the insurer. This has made it much more accessible to everyone while also making it more frictionless for those who are looking for it anyway.  Insurance, as mentioned before, is often referred to as a necessary evil. Customers constantly feel like they are overpaying to insure an item because it is unclear why the cost is so high. However, with the help of new tech like artificial intelligence and machine learning, this might be the catalyst to help insurance shake this age-old reputation once and for all.   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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2022 FIFA World Cup Controversy

2022 FIFA World Cup Controversy: Should Migrant Workers be Given Compensation?

Ever since FIFA announced in December of 2010, the football world has remained confused as to why they would be an appropriate host for an installment of the World Cup. With the tournament being the biggest sporting event in terms of viewership and earnings, it was a call that was hard to defend following the announcement. Although FIFA remained insistent on holding the tournament in countries that do not have massive football fan bases, many critics were concerned with the consequent lack of football-related infrastructure.  With very few stadiums in general and almost none that were capable of housing a world cup match, it seemed a task too mighty for anybody to achieve in the twelve years between the announcement and commencement of the tournament. However, shortly after the announcement, Qatar began one of the most ambitious and sophisticated real estate projects ever undertaken. Aside from the impressive and cutting-edge stadium plans, Qatar quickly realized they would require a substantial number of new workers to facilitate the construction of a project of such scale.   With this came the many problems and issues that eventually snowballed into globally discussed human rights violations. Along with this rose question of the conditions that these workers worked under and whether they should be paid extra compensation for their troubles.   Read More: Europe in Russia’s Gas Crosshairs  An Overview of the Current Situation  With the FIFA World Cup fast approaching, Qatar will have eight stadiums ready to use for matches. An important fact to note about the state of these stadiums is that seven of them were built so that they would be able to host the matches of the tournament. Aside from constructing seven of the most cutting-edge advanced stadiums, Qatar will also need to fund the development of multiple large training grounds for teams to practice on between matches, as well as several residential and hotel options for traveling fans. According to statistical analysis, Qatar will require a peak supply of 130,000 hotel rooms or rental spaces, which is a lot for a country of less than three million. Qatar had about 34,000 rooms available in the spring of 2022. Although the tourism body remains insistent that they will be able to house every visitor when the world cup does eventually come, it seems like a tough job with a mere two months left before the tournament begins.  An important aspect to understand about this whole story is the kafala system. Since the country required thousands of migrant workers to help construct the many different facilities required, it began contracting agencies that would bring in these workers. However, Qatar is one of the many gulf nations that employ the Kafala system of guardianship. Essentially, this means that the employer of these workers has control over their legal and citizenship status. This unchecked power has proved to be very problematic, normally leading to vast exploitation, non-payment of wages, and no place to speak up because of the fear of retaliation. It also means that employers can avoid any legal action as there is no real framework for workers to report issues. Workers are paid little to nothing and are made to work in extremely unhealthy conditions of heat, dehydration, and are not provided with sanitary and safe living quarters. Often referred to as modern-day slavery, these workers are also not allowed to leave the country, with the employers holding on to their passports to prevent this.  As a result of this system and the environment that the workers are made to work in, the Guardian estimated that around 6500 migrant workers have perished as a result of the terrible conditions that they were subjected to, with many coming as suicides as well. However, Qatar has vehemently denied these allegations claiming these numbers are vastly inflated, and many of those that have died are from pre-existing conditions. It has been clear that nobody is willing to take culpability despite many parties being at fault for this.  Read More: Navigating the Great Resignation: Types of Talent that are Driving it  Human Rights Watch (HRW) Calls for Compensation  In response to the terrible conditions, the Human Rights Watch (known as HRW hereafter) has been at the forefront of this protest against the Qatari authorities. The HRW has called for FIFA and Qatar to address claims more realistically rather than cowering behind legal loopholes that the Kafala system provides. They have also called for compensation for the workers that remain in Qatar today, along with the families of those who have perished. The HRW suggested compensation of $440 million, equivalent to the tournament participants' total prize pool. However, FIFA and its president, Gianni Infantino, have been evasive in their language and not committed to any financial reparations as such.   Many suggest that FIFA and the local authorities should take this proposal seriously. An argument that HRW and its proponents in this have made is that this world cup will make much more money than the requested compensation package. Although the figures are estimated figures, the previous 2018 installment of the World Cup held in Russia generated about $5 billion, with almost three billion coming from broadcasting rights. The Qatar World Cup will bring in even more, with Bloomberg estimating that it will bring between $18-20 billion in terms of benefit for the Qatari economy. With all of this being considered, the proposal from the HRW (although still a massive sun) seems like a small amount to pay since these workers have been offered essentially no pay anyway.   Naturally, as is the case with many gulf countries, there is no framework in place to bring the people responsible for certain crimes into the legal light. However, as the world cup draws closer, the controversy will only become clearer in public view. With already many big players and teams calling for Qatar and FIFA to act in combating further human rights violations from taking place, it is likely that media attention on this will only continue to increase.  Read More: Emphasizing the 'S' in ESG: How can HR Leaders Put ESG values in Context  FIFA’s Response  In general, the response by FIFA has been too lukewarm when compared with the severity of the violations that have occurred in Qatar. Aside from prevaricating, they have also stood behind acknowledgments of the issue rather than outlining a clear plan for betterment. Furthermore, they have claimed that they are a convenient scapegoat and that they cannot be to blame for the acts of a sovereign nation.   The main issue with the response is that FIFA remains responsible for awarding the host duties of such a large tournament to a country that ultimately did not have the facilities to enable a smooth preparation for the tournament. Although it is true that many previous worlds cup hosts have also built new stadiums and other amenities and technologies for the express purpose of ensuring the tournament run smoothly, it has never been demonstrated at this scale, or even anything close.   When deciding which country should be awarded such duties, it is expected that a reputable body like FIFA will exercise due diligence to ensure that the host country would not be cutting corners when building the new stadiums.  The Current Situation  As of August 2022, Qatar’s Workers’ Support Fund has paid out an estimated $164 million to more than 30,000 migrant workers as reparations for the conditions that they were put in without pay. This is an unprecedented and significant step in this story and is still to be commended on the government’s part.   However, it is also clear that this is far from enough. Qatar has also failed to provide several laborers who have not been paid or an estimate of how much it would take to pay the remaining workers. Overall, there are two sides to the argument, and it is difficult to see an objective solution as to whether FIFA should offer compensation to these workers. However, considering what they have gone through and the likely massive profits that FIFA stands to make from this tournament, it seems as though it would show good faith and genuine concern from their side instead of the current shallow and quasi-superficial response that they have shown.   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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Fintech in the US

Fintech in the US: The Top 8 Players to Look Forward to in 2022

Technology and advancements in relation have been some of the most important factors of growth in civilization and society today. Many of the main innovations that have become staples in most peoples’ lives come from Silicon Valley in the US. This is because of a variety of different unique aspects, it has essentially become the perfect incubator for new tech-related start-ups by becoming very efficient at connecting promising and innovative new solutions to well-funded venture capital funds or angel investors.   This has fostered a very effective environment for fast growth in the space while also stimulating general competition from around the world in the same field. This has been great for the global economy and has stimulated companies from otherwise technology giant countries, including Germany, Japan, and South Korea, to keep up with the technology and has stopped space from stagnating.   Naturally, with the boom of financial technology (known as fintech hereafter), it seems intuitive that some of the biggest companies originate in the US, with a few exceptions from other countries like China. All of these companies have revolutionized the fintech market in some way and have seen great success in doing it. So, what are the biggest fintech companies in the US today?  Read More: Four Ways Traditional Finance is being Disrupted by Open Finance  8. Ripple  Ripple is a global company that aimed to rethink the previous SWIFT system that facilitated secure international transfers and currency exchange. It utilizes blockchain technology to authorize and verify transactions to ensure the highest levels of security and integrity. This is also important because it is efficient in handling both fiat currencies as well as cryptocurrencies.   Aside from that, Ripple has also partnered with governments in the MENA region (the Middle East and North Africa) to make a low-cost and time-efficient remittance system. The platform will leverage RippleNet and other new technologies to facilitate efficient growth in the region and further boosts lower-income citizens in having access to technologies that would otherwise be too expensive.   However, aside from their successes, it is also important to keep in mind that the American Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) is currently carrying out an investigation into Ripple for allegedly selling unregistered securities back in 2020. This might be pivotal in their future success, but as of now, the outcome of the case is unclear, and the success of the company remains.   7. Chime  Chime is one of the biggest personal finance applications in the US. They encourage you to create a virtual ‘Chime’ card that can be used on platforms such as Apple or Samsung Pay using the NFC tag capabilities that most new flagship smartphones are coming equipped with nowadays. This also enables users to take full advantage of services such as Fee-Free overdrafts, better ways to build credit and improved FICO scores, along with 60,000+ Fee-Free ATMs at major US retailers like Walgreens and 7-Eleven.   It generally provides a value proposition of little or no fees for features that the bank would normally charge you. In the past, often, one would have to ask employers for an advance on their payment if they needed to meet an urgent expense. However, the bank made it so that at a low fee, that could be made possible. Chime makes it so that the fee is no longer required and runs on a low membership-based system. An interesting and new solution to many decades-old problems.   Read More: The Emerging Blockchain-Based Tokenization: What Investors Need to Know About it?  6. Square   Unlike the previously mentioned companies, Square is designed expressly to assist businesses in their operation. Square helps businesses set up loyalty and rewards programs to ensure recurring customers while also helping with banking and lubricating loans, savings, and payments that would otherwise cause stress. It also helps in the overall management of employees and can automate tedious tasks like payroll allocation, timecards, and attendance through their application.   One of their main revenue streams is their hardware. Square also sells different contactless hardware solutions to speed up and make payment situations more seamless. For example, they developed the ‘Square Terminal,’ which is essentially a more developed and modern version of a point-of-sale device. It has faster and better touch screens while also ensuring data security and no secret fees for the business to pay. It can also be customized to have things like Menus built into it so that ordering and payment can all be made through one device for waiters. They also employ a variety of other hardware options based on the type of business which is much more developed than anything else that is available in the market right now.   5. Fiserv  Having worked with companies like Microsoft, Adidas, and Google, Fiserv is one of the biggest companies offering financial services to companies. Accounts processing and digital banking are their main specializations, while they also overlook processes like payments, network services, and e-commerce that are often difficult to navigate as a company.   In general, Fiserv has not been particularly revolutionary. However, they have provided massive-scale versions of financial services in new and innovative digital ways for large companies. They now employ over 40,000 people and are one of the biggest in the fintech industry.   4. PayPal  Arguably one of the most recognizable companies on this list, PayPal is a digital payment service. It creates a secure and easy way to pay for things online without any hassles. Most online merchants come equipped with PayPal capabilities which also speed up transactions. These transactions also go straight through the connected bank account without requiring users to transfer money into a separate PayPal account, like other payment services might ask for.   It also supports direct P2P transfers between two PayPal users, which is very easy and fast. Furthermore, these transfers do not require long banking numbers or swift codes, but instead, just the person’s associated email ID.   PayPal also supports business accounts in which they can create accounts that are entirely used for business expenses which is also taken into account during tax forms and corporate tax rebates in case one is applied for.   Read More: The Evolution of 'Data-First’ Strategy: What does that mean for Businesses?  3. Intuit  Intuit is a publicly listed company that specializes in financial software for businesses and individuals. As the name suggests, they create innovative but intuitive solutions to common problems through their impressive software. For example, TurboTax is a modern solution to filing one’s tax forms every year. It starts with a detailed survey based on your income and lifestyle. This is then automated into creating a tax return for the user.   Other than its business tax form counterpart, Intuit has also created QuickBooks, which creates a holistic financial record of a company while connecting multiple different accounts. This helps accountants from tedious data entry jobs and ensures no worry of human error when doing so. Intuit has many other solutions but just leverages innovative technologies and applies them to finance in an efficient and creative way.   2. Mastercard  Mastercard is a company that issues credit and debit cards all around the world. It manages to occupy around 30% of the total market share and helps transactions in many different scenarios. Mastercard accounts can be used in P2P, B2B, and normal sale transactions and ensure quick and secure remittances regardless of where the transaction is being made.   Aside from its basic functions, the higher-tier Mastercard, such as the World Elite, provides a wide array of other services. For example, it provides a similar concierge service that is afforded to American Express Platinum customers without exorbitant fees. These cards also afford users access to hotels, airlines, and other services at lower costs and sometimes completely free. It also provides access to airport lounges all over the world and general ease of access to baggage, immigration, and security checks.   1. Visa  Like Mastercard, Visa is one of the top-ranked companies that issue credit and debit cards. However, it manages to occupy close to 60% of the market share when it comes to point-of-sale and card transactions around the world. If that is not already impressive enough, Visa was also one of the first companies to widely popularize the contactless-payments methods that the world has become so used to today through NFC tags. This has improved the speed of point-of-sale transactions and improved efficiency at brick-and-mortar stores.  Visa provides a tier program for their credit cards in which users are provided with a plethora of opportunities. For example, Visa has its own vetted list of luxury hotels around the world in which users can stay for an allotted number of nights per year. Visa also provides similar airport and concierge privileges. Visa offers unique services such as emergency medical, or legal assistance in most major countries around the world, eliminating the need for insurance in that respect. It also provides cashback on many large retailers, among all its other benefits for its users.   The Fintech World in the US  Considering that the majority of the biggest fintech companies are based in the US shows how well they have managed to do in the last decade or so. Naturally, certain eastern societies are not as forward-thinking when it comes to financial services and processes, and it is understandable that these companies come from western civilization. However, it is important for global development as these fintech companies help alleviate the effects of deadweight loss by making a more efficient economy.   Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, these companies are also expanding further into untapped markets such as the middle east to provide solutions that they have not seen before. This means that these benefits can be reaped by more people and could mean a better effort against the massive divide in terms of income inequality.   Overall, this list paints a picture of a bright future for fintech. If these technologies remain secure and efficient, countries around the world will continue to adopt them and realize the advantages of these innovative and unique solutions.   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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