Every day, it seems as if there is a new technology innovation on the market. And while it’s easy to think that just a few companies are adopting them, think again: Innovations like blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR), among others aren’t part of some futuristic concept anymore. They are quickly becoming mainstream—and companies are already realizing their benefits.
New research from ESG Global and Oracle found that 84% of organizations reported using at least one emerging technology today. And they’re reaping the rewards through faster growth and strong return on investment (ROI). Among some of the report’s findings:
Revenue grows faster. Organizations which use the most emerging technologies have grown annual revenue 58% faster than those not investing in such technologies. Those forward-thinking organizations also saw profit grow 80% faster.
Benefits are better than expected. The benefits of using these technologies are outpacing expectations by a wide margin. For example, in the finance sector, users of AI report an average 33% improvement in productivity and 37% reduction in errors, primarily from automating manual processes. The monthly financial close takes roughly four days less in organizations using emerging technologies than in those that don’t. Organizations that use financial digital assistants report an average 36% improvement in productivity and 38% faster analysis capabilities.
Applications in the supply chain yielded similarly impressive results. Adding blockchain to supply chain management (SCM) capabilities helped 87% of organizations meet or exceed their ROI expectations. More than three in four respondents (76%) said that AI-powered SCM increased employee productivity. Incorporating IoT data into supply chain systems and workflows shortened the time to produce and fulfill orders by an average of more than six business days. Eighty-eight percent of organizations using IoT data to support SCM say the ROI has met or exceeded expectations.
The SaaS effect
One of the reasons emerging tech adoption is growing so quickly and generating such benefits is the growing importance of the software as a service (SaaS) model. Increasingly, SaaS allows companies to adopt emerging technologies more seamlessly and effectively. In fact, 91% of all respondents consider SaaS an enabler of emerging technology adoption.
Cloud-based options have a well documented history of being more effective than on-premises solutions. It’s simply a smart business strategy, with benefits including:
Cost-savings: Adopting a cloud-based SaaS approach to emerging technologies reduces or eliminates cost-related barriers to adoption and optimization for many organizations. This approach eliminates costly upfront hardware purchases and the cost of upgrades every few years. Regular software updates—often several times a year—and service costs are usually included as part of the SaaS model or can be supplemented with a service agreement. In addition to lowering total cost of ownership (TCO), cloud solutions can significantly improve planning, financial consolidation and close times, and management reporting.
Agility: Oracle’s cloud suite is delivered on one integrated platform. Users can design end-to-end business processes with a consistent, easy-to-use interface. Those with the appropriate data access (based on their roles) will be making decisions on unified, current data, enabling quicker and better collaboration and decision-making.
Access to innovation: Instead of waiting two to four years for expensive upgrades to access new features and capabilities, cloud solutions push them out to you on a regular cadence, which gives your company much faster access to innovation. Oracle’s cloud suite allows your team to focus on higher value activities and provide more benefits to the organization.
Ease of getting started: Oracle’s approach to our cloud suite is to embed AI, machine learning, and other emerging tech directly into our applications. Buying “off-the-shelf” apps is an easier and, in many cases, more effective option that building proprietary apps from scratch. In fact, Oracle’s research found that organizations are much more apt to purchase emerging technology prebuilt solutions than build them on their own. Buyers outnumber builders by two to three times, depending on the technology solution.
5 steps to getting ahead with emerging tech now
If you’re ready to join your competition in reaping the benefits and advantages of emerging tech, take these five steps:
1. Modernize critical systems by migrating to SaaS with Oracle’s complete, integrated cloud suite
2. Analyze the best immediate investments to make now and prioritize those that will solve challenges or which offer the greatest ROI promise
3. Select the prebuilt solutions with embedded emerging technologies that will best support your business
4. Conduct a pilot project and ensure that it has a measurable goal and likely payoff
5. Embrace an agile mindset. Sometimes, adoption of new processes and technology can come with people and behavioral challenges. By defining your goals and a clear path for change, along with regular communication and training, you can reduce some of the obstacles you may encounter.
Read an executive summary of the research or download the full report, Emerging Technologies: The competitive edge for finance and supply chain operations.