Bristol, UK, 29th June 29, 2012 – UNIT4, the global business software group, today released findings from a new rapid-pulse survey programme aimed at getting faster views on the changing opinions and priorities of leading financial and technology software leaders worldwide. Called “Coda Financials Mind Meld™”, the five question poll taps into a global network of 2,850 Coda Financials customer companies, which represents both mid-sized and large organisations. Data from the first survey was released in Boston at the 2012 Grape Escape analyst event.
UNIT4, a global leader in world class financial software used globally by some of the world’s largest organisations, is known for two things: best-of-class ability to support highly complex or unique organisational structures (multi-division, multi-currency, multi-language, etc.); and, for its ability to plug into a wide variety of changing technology structures. The company is known globally for its post-implementation agility features by cost-effectively addressing organisations identified as Businesses Living IN Change (BLINC).
The new survey data, reports findings from more than 100 high level financial (73%) and technology (27%) executives in the financial services, telecommunications, retail, travel & leisure and public sectors in the UK,US, France, Germany, Benelux, and Asia. The purpose of UNIT4’s “Coda Financials Mind Meld”, is to question the validity of prevailing thinking promoted aggressively by large corporate public relations mechanisms, and by social media. UNIT4 discovered some surprising responses to the questions posed, including disconnects between what financial executives are being told they want in current advertising, and apparently, what they really want.
Financial executives don’t yet see the benefit of social media/collaboration
Despite market hype around the growing importance and usage of social collaboration tools in the enterprise, 38% of respondents said they did not think social media/collaboration would benefit financial operations at all. 57% believe this technology will influence best practices and improved processes, while 27% believe it will lead to improved decision making.
Financial executives not bought in to the latest device hype
The barrage of heavily promoted statistics on spiking preferences for tablets does not appear to be tracking to users of financial software. When asked to select from a list of top financial software priorities, where better, more accessible mobile access/usage was offered as an option for meeting those priorities, 81% of the polled execs chose financial/operational analysis as their top priority. Better mobile accessibility/devices/capabilities and better tax/regulatory reporting capabilities, came in a distant second and third place.
Similarly, when asked to pick their device of choice for performing their job, 59% chose laptops, and 29% chose the old-world, tethered desktop PC, versus only 12% that selected tablets.
"I'm not surprised at all that financial executives are not embracing social,” said Cindy Jutras, President of Mint Jutras. “Much of the hype is centred on establishing a social presence for marketing and customer service, activities that are far removed from the office of the CFO. They don't necessarily care about a Facebook like experience because there is a good chance they themselves aren't experiencing Facebook. But in reality social is about gaining visibility, not only to transactional data that flows through enterprise applications, but also from other extraneous, far less structured sources. Until recently it has been impossible to keep tabs on all these potential sources of data in a structured and organised way. Once financial executives make this connection they will be far more likely to embrace it. When they feel confident they won't lose anything by leaving their laptops in the office, they will likely embrace tablets."
Projected growth for businesses and headcounts don’t match up
Despite the fact that a full 90% of those polled predicted revenue growth at or above their current performances, an aggressive 68% predicted no headcount growth within their departments, indicating continued cooling of the job market. “This is in direct contrast to what we are hearing from government polls each month,” said Anwen Robinson, UK Managing Director of UNIT4 Business Software. “When you look around you continue to see people out of work on an alarming level and when you couple that with these leading financial and technology executives claiming they don’t see that growth, you have to assume that something is wrong with current projections.”
UNIT4 is known throughout the software industry for its sophisticated abilities to support the financial reporting needs for major business changes, for example, those accompanying such activities as mergers and acquisitions, business reorganisations, regulatory and tax changes, etc. Many Coda Financials customers are in a unique position to see business trending at a macro level, since they are often embroiled with some of the industry’s most demanding circumstances. Their opinions are both informed and prescient.
“The survey answers may be surprising to the larger population, but not to seasoned financial executives who have already learned to discount the over-hyped promises of most technology providers,” said Robert Perry, Finance Manager, Kramer LTD. “We might get around to preferring tablets – eventually – as our device of choice, but we are not experimenters or aggressive risk takers by nature and need proof that something works (and works well) before we jump in. As for social media, the financial management world is more about substantive data collaboration, than it is about the social collaboration elements that benefit areas such as sales and marketing. So I am not particularly surprised either that my financial brethren aren’t seeing the strong applicability of social media yet either.”
An infographic illustrating the UNIT4’s Coda Financials Mind Meld survey findings is available from Pinterest.
UNIT4 is a global cloud-focused business software and services company aimed at helping dynamic public sector and commercial services organizations to embrace change simply, quickly and cost effectively in a market sector it calls 'Businesses Living IN Change' (BLINC)™. The Group incorporates a number of the world’s leading change embracing software brands including Agresso Business World, our flagship ERP suite for mid-sized services intensive organizations; Coda, our best-of-class financial management software; and FinancialForce.com, the cloud applications company formed with investment from salesforce.com.
With operations in 17 European countries, as well as 7 countries across North America, Asia Pacific and Africa and sales activities in several other countries, revenue of €454.7 million was realized in 2011.
In the UK we focus strongly on the public sector, where we are the leading provider of ERP systems to local government and post 16 education organisations, as well as having a considerable presence in the emergency services and health sectors. We also focus strongly on professional services organisations and a range of commercial sectors including Financial Services, Retail and Media and Publishing. Overall we aim to be the UK’s foremost business software company, providing solutions that transform the delivery of public services and comprehensively support commercial organisations in their ability to adapt and prosper in rapidly changing environments.
UNIT4 is headquartered in Sliedrecht, the Netherlands and has over 4,000 employees. It is listed on Euronext Amsterdam and is included in the Amsterdam Midcap Index (AMX).
For more information on UNIT4 or any of its operating companies, please visit the website at www.unit4software.co.uk or follow us on Twitter @UNIT4_UK or visit our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/#!/UNIT4BusinessSoftwareNV