70% of digital conversions fail. Create a demand for your product now


Business Matters speaks to hundreds of SME’s each week and there’s not been one that hasn’t had to pivot and alter their offering product online in some way.

With the lockdown restrictions lasting another six months and Christmas fast approaching, now is the key time to understand why sales of your product aren’t converting and the best thing to do to alter it so that they are.

One bonus of covid cancelling physical events is that a number of them have pivot very quickly and gone online. Europe’s fastest growing product conference is one that’s gone virtual, it’s happening in early October and it’s speaker’s can’t be ignored. Business Matters is talking to Parul Goel, Head of Product at Paypal next week ahead of the conference, however we thought it only fair to alert you now of its presence so you can register.

Watch, learn and apply. Just in time for Black Friday and Christmas. Understanding your buyer’s product needs has never been more crucial 

It’s going to deliver over 35 hours of online content including 40 keynote talks and panel discussions from global industry leaders, and over 15 workshops. Without the physical restrictions, UXDX are introducing On-Demand talks.

Catherine Madden, co-founder of UXDX said, ‘Some conferences are looking to replicate an offline conference, but online. We think this is missing a huge opportunity for improvement. We’ve looked at what online can offer that physical events can’t, to give attendees more control.

‘We are releasing 10 talks Netflix-style each night for attendees to watch in their own time. This allows participants to get much more involved in the interactive speaker sessions, where they can answer those burning questions, and the workshops, where they can hone their skills. We are facilitating easier networking, through curated Birds of a Feather sessions and relevant 1-on-1’s to take away the challenge of finding people with similar interests. And to wrap it up we have a fourth day dedicated to workshops and conversations about what you have learned over the previous days.’

Rory Madden, co-founder of UXDX said, “Like a lot of industries this year, UXDX has had to pivot but we quickly recognised the opportunities an online conference presented and we couldn’t call ourselves ‘digital transformation’ evangelists if we didn’t rise to the occasion.

‘Without any systems in place we ran our first online community conference within one week of the lockdown. Instead of building the perfect system we got an MVP in place and we kept experimenting with our different events over the following months.

‘The system we are building for our October event is very different to what we thought in March. This is the essence of what Digital Transformation is trying to deliver – the ability to react, iterate and learn quickly so that you can build products that are much more aligned to customer’s real need, and therefore successful.’

UXDX 2020 to tackle 70% digital transformation failure rate with Continuous Learning Programme

In addition, UXDX is launching a new and comprehensive Continuous Learning Programme designed to address the 70% digital transformation tech industry failure rate*. The monthly workshops will take place online and will focus on three main categories that drive actions within organisations: People, Processes and Tools.

Now in its 5th year, the popular event gathers over 2,000 CTOs, CIOs, product managers, UX researchers, designers and developers together to share best practices on how teams adopt and change to improve product delivery in organisations.

Organisers have secured some of the most authoritative voices in product, here’s a few that you will find relevant:

Product

Marty Cagan, Founder, SVPG

Jeff Patton, Founder, JP Associates & Author of User Story Mapping

Parul Goel, Head of Product, Paypal

Benoit Tepereau, VP of Product, Deezer

Lindsay Silver, VP of Product, Condé Nast

UX / Design

Jeff Gothelf, Author of Lean UX and new book Forever Employable

Lynsey Thornton, VP of UX, Shopify

Chris Grant, Global UX Director, King

Lowell Goss, Head of Design & UX, Reddit

Dev

Rebecca Parsons, CTO, Thoughtworks

Peter Wang, CTO, Buzzfeed

Dana Lawson, VP of Engineering, GitHub

Taking place on October 6th – 9th 2020, UXDX 2020. Register here. This is not an advertisement, it’s an event that we think is highly relevant for you right now if you’re in the business of selling online.

Cherry Martin

Cherry is Associate Editor of Business Matters with responsibility for planning and writing future features, interviews and more in-depth pieces for what is now the UK’s largest print and online source of current business news.





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Social media deal earns advertisers’ ‘likes’, but not yet all their dollars


Article content continued

Deciding whether to pull ads from social media can be tough. Larger brands can afford to take a stance, but for smaller businesses that have already been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, “it’s either make it or die,” Priem said.

On Wednesday, the World Federation of Advertisers announced that social media platforms and advertisers had committed to create common definitions of harmful content such as hate speech and harmonized reporting standards.

A Facebook spokeswoman said on Friday that advertisers were returning to the platform.

“For the most part advertisers are coming back because they recognize the efforts we’re making,” the spokeswoman said. “We’re never satisfied. We’ll continue to work with industry and with our clients.”

She said that 95% of the hate speech removed by Facebook is detected before being reported, up from 23% in 2017.

“Digital media is now more than half of all media spending yet is still operating with very few boundaries other than those that are self-imposed or that marketers try to enforce. It’s time for digital platforms to apply content standards properly,”

Procter & Gamble’s chief brand officer, Marc Pritchard, said on Wednesday.

The maker of Gillette razors and Pampers diapers said it will “continue to advocate for greater transparency, reporting, and enforcement” directly with platforms and through industry forums.

COMING BACK

Many companies, such as drinks giant Pernod Ricard , returned to Facebook in August after a one-month pause aimed at sending a message.



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BP Hits 25-Year Low a Week After Unveiling Climate Strategy


(Bloomberg) — Just a week after revealing its plan to turn itself into a clean-energy giant, BP Plc watched its share price drop to a 25-year low.Chief Executive Officer Bernard Looney and his new management team gave more than 10 hours of presentations over three days last week, in a bid to show the world that the oil and gas giant could adapt to a low-carbon future without sacrificing returns.The company’s shares closed in London on Thursday at 232.4 pence, the lowest level since October 1995. While falling crude prices and fears of the second wave of the coronavirus haven’t help BP, the slide suggests shareholders weren’t convinced by Looney’s pitch.“Investors remain skeptical,” said Mirza Baig, Global Head of Governance at Aviva Investors. “Particularly as this move is being forced on the company by climate change.”Looney took over as CEO in February, but the so-called “BP Week” this month was his big moment, designed to put flesh on the bones of a bold plan to become a “net-zero” energy company by 2050. It was also an opportunity to persuade shareholders to stick with BP after the company slashed its dividend by half in August.“What investors are looking for with companies, when they announce big strategic changes of direction of any sort, is compelling answers to three questions: The what, the why and the how?” said Nick Stansbury, a fund manager at Legal & General Group Plc.BP’s European peers are also trying to answer the same questions, with varying degrees of success. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, which also made a deep cut to its dividend this year, is barely trading above the post-pandemic share price low reached in March. Total SA has so far done a better job of maintaining investor confidence in its energy-transition plan.At the heart of BP’s reinvention is a reduction in oil and gas production and simultaneous growth in its renewables business. Looney promised investors he could do this while delivering returns of 8% to 10%. That’s not as high as the double-digit returns oil developments can sometimes bring in, but greater than many clean-energy projects.Looney said BP will take advantage of its experience, integration, low borrowing costs and trading prowess, but the market is likely to remain skeptical until such returns can be demonstrated in practice, analysts at Redburn wrote in a research note.“BP’s challenge lies in the building up of its skill set in renewable energy solutions and a competitive advantage in its chosen areas that allows investors to believe they can deliver attractive financial returns from the capital allocated,” said Aviva’s Baig, who strongly supported the company’s net-zero ambition.Doubts about Big Oil’s ability to maintain returns as the world shifts away from fossil fuels are reflected in companies’ dividend yields. The measures have been climbing steadily for both BP and Shell, suggesting shareholders aren’t confident the payouts can be maintained even after they were cut sharply earlier this year.Investors don’t appear to be any more confident that sticking to oil and gas is a safe bet. Exxon Mobil Corp., the U.S. giant that shows little intention of transitioning to renewable energy and is still pumping huge amounts of money into hydrocarbon projects, has the highest dividend yield of all.Getting BP into a position where it can deliver profits from large-scale renewable energy projects will require lots of upfront spending. The company made a $1.1 billion splash in offshore wind earlier this month, buying a stake in developments owned by fellow oil giant Equinor ASA. The near-term milestones laid out last week suggests that more deals will follow.“For BP to meet its low-carbon target of 50 gigawatts of renewable generation capacity by 2030, considerable growth is required over the coming years,” said Stuart Lamont, an investment manager at Brewin Dolphin Holdings Plc. “This will require discipline from the company, ensuring a delicate balance between working toward decarbonization targets while achieving attractive returns for shareholders.”(Updates with comparison to peers in seventh paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.



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Accumulate quality names gradually, keep expectations low: Gurmeet Chadha


Bank Nifty has been an underperformer and the market is differentiating between low impact, moderate impact and high impact stocks, says Co-Founder & CEO, Complete Circle Consultants.

Are you surprised by the selloff? How much further can it go?
Difficult to really put a figure to how much more downside but the fact is markets will get a little lighter leading up to the US elections. It is a combination of factors – the dollar index gains strength, issues with European banks and renewed concerns on further lockdowns due to rising infection. All of it came together. The market was looking for a reason to correct and it found a couple of them.

Our view is that investors do not have to jump into everything and buy just because markets have corrected 7-8%. It is better to have a more balanced asset allocation in place. I will be maintaining that the return expectations have to come down a little bit in the scenario we are in and so look at offshore equity as well. All the big tech names are off 15%, one can gradually accumulate them; the five-year bond is still above 6.5%; HDFC Limited raised money at about 6.5%. So if you buy a medium duration debt fund, 6-7% is there on the table and keep accumulating quality stocks with decline. Be more balanced, do not simply buy just because you have seen a 2,000-point correction in one week.

What is your take on Bharti Airtel after that phenomenal drop that one saw post Jio’s lucrative offers coming out for its users? What is the call on telecom now?
There was almost 20% correction in a week or so. The first overhang was the MSCI rejig and the judgement which meant that probably it will continue to remain a three- player industry and then there has been some concern as Jio became aggressive. But if you look at the post paid plans Jio has, the price discount is more at the lower end which is the 399 plan which is around 20%. As you go up to about Rs 1,400-1,500, the discount is more 6% to 10%. With Airtel it is more on price, with Voda it is more on content as they offer more data and they tie-up with various apps.

My sense is even Voda-Idea will have to up the game. It may not be in terms of discounts but may be in terms of more value offering which means that for Airtel, it would be a drag of Rs 1,000-1,500 crore which could be 5-7% of their EBITDA. But for Voda it could be substantially higher. Also in the post paid space, Voda market share is about 43% and Airtel is about 29% and the balance is others. So I see more churn with Voda-Idea on 4G rather than on Airtel because Jio already has a 199 postpaid plan. There is some customer stickiness as far as the Bharti is concerned.

Secondly, the bigger play would be when Reliance launches the low-cost smartphones and the feature phone and the 2G customers switch sides. To me, that will be a bigger disruption. But eventually we will have a duopoly sooner or later, maybe in the medium term. In that case, Airtel should do well. On any dip, any correction, one can gradually accumulate and may not rush to buy everything right now just because it has dropped substantially.

What would you gradually accumulate then? Where do you feel valuations are nearing a more attractive level along with growth potential?
There are a few pockets. For example, pharma stocks have given a breather after a spectacular run. Divi’s is likely to enter Nifty, a great mix of business. The generics and the CRAMS mix is 59-41 for last quarter. On the API front, it is one of the leading global players and the API portfolio is a high volume selective portfolio of 30 APIs. It gives cost advantage and a lot of operating leverage. The capex should be completed this year so that should further add to the revenue trajectory. On the CRAMS front, Divi’s has a great relationship with innovator companies. Six out of 10 innovator companies are Divi’s clients. It is a good business with superior chemistry skills and that is something one can gradually accumulate.

We also like some niche financials, something like let us say a CDSL which is a proxy play on financial savings. It has 55% market share in individual depositories and about 33% in the corporate issuer segment. The IPO corporate action will also add to the revenues and then you have other services through their 100% subsidiary which is KYC, insurance depository, etc.

Another could be the CAMS IPO. Once that gets listed, provided you get a better entry point, again on a very annuity business, 70% market share in mutual fund RTA, 9 out of the top 14 fund houses have tie-ups with CAMS, very marquee names as far as even the shareholding goes. So that is something one can look at.

Where within large caps are you sensing opportunity, particularly within the tech and banking space?
The market is sensing trouble with asset quality and that is why the price action. The focus seems to be more on collection and keeping cash in the balance sheet than on incremental lending. If you look at ICICI Bank, overall provisions — which is Covid plus the other provisioning — is almost 2.2% of the net advances which is the highest.

In these kinds of scenarios, with the balance sheets are more conservative, the PCI is almost touching 79% and a great CASA book hovering around 43-44%, they have successfully made the retail book on the lending side two third of the book. It used to be 40:60 in favour of the corporates and 60% in corporate loans till about seven, eight years back.

They have done the fundraise by selling various stakes in subsidiaries as well and so are very well positioned. Once the asset quality concerns abate,that should be a bank one can look at.

In the tech space there is TCS. The market expects Tata Sons to buy back stake from the SP Group. I do not think it likely at $20-25 billion assuming the Shapoorji Pallonji stake sale of Rs 1.8 lakh crore will happen immediately. It will take its own sweet time and it would be wrong to compare it with the fundraise that a Jio platform or retail has done. But any pressure on account of that on TCS could be looked at.

Last quarter, the TCV which is the total transaction value was about $7 billion and the digital vertical seems to be doing very well. We are seeing clear trends of companies strengthening their core offerings as well as improving their customer interface. The annual outlook even by BFSI seems to be better for 2021 which are the two largest verticals for TCS. Maybe one can look at that as well.

The biggest cut yesterday was not in the financials, it was in IT, auto.
The last time the Nifty was 10,800-10,900, Bank Nifty was 30,000 and today at 10,800 Bank Nifty is 20,000. It has anyway been an underperformer and the market is differentiating between low impact, moderate impact and high impact stocks.

So the low impact ones are HDFC and Kotak which are down about 20-30%, the moderate impact ones are ICICI, Axis which are down about 40-50% from their peak. And then there are the high impact ones where the Street probably thinks that the impact of NPA would be much larger which are IndusInd and RBL and some of the others.

The market is differentiating and it is doing that in the NBFC space as well. But there is an opportunity to add good franchise names there. In the NBFC pack for example, HDFC Ltd is available at one book value, Bajaj Finance has bounced back from the lows. To me, it is a consumption stock in the NBFC basket. Once the broad recovery happens, it is a proxy play to consumption in my view.

So you can accumulate quality names but do it gradually, there are too many events right now starting in the next 30-40 days and a gradual accumulation is what is needed. Having low expectations is the key.





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Asian stocks poised for gains after late Wall St dash


September 25, 2020

By Jessica DiNapoli

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Asian stocks were set to open higher on Friday as a late Wall Street rally supported global sentiment although weak U.S. data and uncertainty about a stimulus package in Washington have kept a lid on confidence.

U.S. stocks ended positive in choppy trade on Thursday, led by a dogged comeback in the technology sector, having initially sold off on higher than expected unemployment claims.

“What we’ve seen for equity markets is there is quite a good deal of resilience,” said Tom Piotrowski, a market analyst at Australian broker CommSec. “Commentators like to stack up all of the negatives markets face, the U.S. election being among them, but I think there is a sense that there is an underlying resilience in the market.”

In early Asian trade, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 futures rose 0.12% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures added 0.13%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures rose 0.45%. MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.43%.

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are working on a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that could be voted on as soon as next week, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reiterating she is ready to negotiate on it with the White House.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2%, the S&P 500 gained 0.30% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.37%.

The U.S. dollar lost ground as investor confidence returned. The dollar index fell 0.056%.

U.S. Treasury yields fell, but moved off lows after a stronger-than-expected report on the housing sector.

Oil prices were steady as a new wave of coronavirus cases in Europe led several countries to re-impose travel restrictions, offsetting a drop in U.S. crude and fuel inventories.

U.S. crude recently fell 0.12% to $40.26 per barrel and Brent was flat.

(Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli; Editing by Sam Holmes)





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Coronavirus latest: Ireland tightens restrictions to contain rise in cases


Jude Webber in Mexico City

With inflation still beyond its target, the Bank of Mexico cut its key lending rate by a quarter point to 4.25 per cent in a widely-expected move that slowed the pace of recent cuts but left the door open to further reductions.

The quarter-point reduction — a unanimous decision — was announced hours after inflation hit 4.1 per cent in the first two weeks of September compared with the same period a year earlier, a 0.2 per cent rise from the last fortnight of August. Inflation control is Banxico’s sole mandate and it has targeted a rate of 2 to 4 per cent.

“Monetary policy will depend on the evolution of factors which impact inflation and inflation expectations, including the effects that could have on the pandemic,” the bank said. “The board will take the actions required based on additional information and considering the strong hit to productive activity, as well as the evolution of the financial shock we are suffering.”

With the economy widely believed to be heading for a crash of about 10 per cent this year, economists believe Banxico still has room to cut but may decide not to. Thursday’s move followed five straight half-point moves and was the 11th consecutive rate reduction.

But the market is already pricing in the end of the easing cycle, and the median forecast for end-2021, according to a fortnightly survey by Citibanamex, is 4.25 per cent.

Banxico recently slashed its 2020 GDP forecast to a crash of 8.8 to 12.8 per cent. The government’s target of an 8 per cent contraction is well below most market forecasts.

“We think the ongoing increase in inflation warrants a more cautious monetary stance. We believe a pause, perhaps even a prolonged one, is possible after this meeting. However, we think the board will be very careful to leave all its policy options open,” UBS economists said in a note to clients.

Andrés Abadía at Pantheon Macroeconomics saw a possible fresh cut in November.

“Underlying inflation pressures remain under control, and we still expect inflation to edge lower in the fourth quarter due to less-demanding base effects, the massive output gap, and the stability of the peso during the second half of the year. If we are right, this will allow Banxico to cut rates by 25 basis points on November 11, but it is a close call as the meeting comes just a week after the US presidential election, so market volatility could stay the Bank’s hand,” he wrote in a note to clients.

BBVA economists expected Banxico to cut to 3.75 per cent by the end of the year and to 3 per cent by May 2021.



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Turner Sports expands its deal with Major League Baseball through 2028


Turner Sports will continue broadcasting Major League Baseball after agreeing to an extension of rights through the 2028 season.

The seven-year agreement will take effect in 2022 and includes a Tuesday night game as well as additional postseason games. It also includes expanded digital rights for Bleacher Report and other WarnerMedia platforms.

This is the second of the three rights deals that MLB has extended. It reached an extension with Fox two years ago that also runs through 2028. Manfred said negotiations with ESPN are ongoing about renewing that network’s deal beyond the 2021 season.

The Fox and Turner deals are similar in that each includes an increase over 40% when they begin in 2022. Turner will pay an average of $470 million per season.

“The commitment to baseball from Turner is as strong today as it has ever been,” WarnerMedia Sports and News Chairman Jeff Zucker said. “Our strategy is to present premium live sports and obviously extending our deal was an important pillar.”

While the increased playoff games carry their own value, Zucker did say the deal would not have been reached if there wasn’t an expansion of the digital rights. The increased use of MLB footage and highlights for Bleacher Report could attract a younger audience, which baseball has struggled to build.

“The digital rights only used to be a language issue in the contracts but now they are substantive, economic rights,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “It was with Fox, it is with ESPN and it was significant in this deal. It is a recognition of the way the world now consumes entertainment.”

Turner Sports has aired baseball since 1973, when Atlanta Braves games were televised on WTCG in Atlanta, before it became known as SuperStation TBS. Turner began a national package of regular season and postseason games in 2007.

The new deal includes exclusive rights to one wild-card game, two of the four Division Series and one of the League Championship Series. The coverage will alternate between leagues each year and gives Turner the most postseason games on a network.

It also includes a season-long Game of the Week on Tuesday nights. Turner currently has a Sunday afternoon game over the last half of the season.

Manfred believes moving to Tuesdays gives Turner more opportunities to expand its baseball reach.

“We think summer Sunday afternoons aren’t a great place to have them. Fans have a lot of other things to do and there are two national windows the same day,” Manfred said.

Zucker also likes the Tuesday night window because there generally will be a full slate of games to choose from.

Turner also is retooling its studio show beginning with this year’s AL Division Series. Ernie Johnson will anchor the show and will be joined by Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, Jimmy Rollins and newcomer Curtis Granderson. Granderson will also contribute to Bleacher Report.

“The studio show to me is important and shows our commitment to the sport. I wanted to put our best foot forward,” Zucker said. “In all candor, I thought we could improve. We have the best studio host there is in Ernie Johnson. It won’t be ‘Inside the NBA’ but it will be its own, unique show.”

Manfred said there are provisions in the deal if there are changes in the postseason format.

More must-read entertainment coverage from Fortune:



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Protests For Breonna Taylor Sweep U.S.


Topline

Thousands took to the streets in cities across America Wednesday night to protest charges against one of the three Kentucky police officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor some six months ago, because none of the three were charged in her killing and activists believe justice has not been served.

Key Facts

In Louisville, Kentucky, where Attorney General Daniel Cameron earlier charged fired officer Brett Hankinson with three first-degree counts of “wanton endangerment,” two police officers were shot amid protests and a suspect is in custody.

“We’ve been out here for 100-plus days, this is ridiculous, you know, it’s not fair,” Louisville protester Carmen Jones told CBS News, adding, “At the end of the day, how much is a Black woman’s life worth?”

In Seattle, Washington, 13 people were arrested after multiple fires and protesters reportedly threw glass bottles and fireworks at police, according to CNN.

Countless videos of protest activity were posted to social media overnight, with this one showing thousands amassing in Brooklyn, New York, to march for Taylor:

More videos showed protests in Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, among other cities.

By Thursday morning, #BreonnaTaylorMatters was trending on Twitter, in a sendup of the rallying cry of Black Lives Matter.

Crucial Quote

“Make no mistake, we will keep fighting this fight in Breonna’s memory, and we will never stop saying her name,” Ben Crump, civil rights attorney and counsel for Taylor’s family, told CBS News on Wednesday.

Chief Critic

“It is NOT an officer’s duty to gamble with his/her life so you can happily and comfortably resist arrest,” tweeted conservative pundit Tomi Lahren after the charges against Hankinson were announced.

Key Background

Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was sleeping in her bed in March when Hankinson, along with officers Myles Cosgrove and Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly, entered her home on a “no-knock” warrant as part of a drug sting involving her ex-boyfriend. When the officers entered the home, they were met with one gunshot from Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend. The police returned dozens of shots, hitting and killing Taylor in the process. Hankinson’s wanton endangerment charges were focused on him firing into neighboring apartments, and not for killing Taylor. In Kentucky, wanton endangerment is a Class D felony—the lowest level felonious offense—and carries up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Further Reading

Two Officers Shot During Breonna Taylor Protests, Suspect In Custody (Forbes)

Officer In Breonna Taylor Case Charged With ‘Wanton Endangerment’—Here’s What That Means (Forbes)

Outrage In Louisville After Breonna Taylor Decision (Forbes)

One Officer Charged With ‘Wanton Endangerment’ In Breonna Taylor Case For Danger Posed To Neighbors (Forbes)





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How Work Management Software Has Helped Remote Workforces Succeed


Just a few months ago, the interplay between work, workforce, and workplace was well-established: Workers generally came together as a workforce in the workplace to get their work done. Then they went home. Most systems—IT, management, HR—were set up to function in that paradigm. Remote work arrangements were often short-term or “exceptions” and often discouraged.

And then the catalyst called Covid hit, and—often within hours—workers were sent home to carve out workspaces in their attics and living rooms, where they struggled to remain tethered, to form a workforce, to get the work done.

For some companies, such as Planview, a developer of enterprisewide project and work management software that works closely with process integration software developer Cherwell, remote working was not an entirely new experience—but it has been a good one. Prior to the pandemic, about 60% of Planview’s global workforce already worked remotely. For those forced out of offices by Covid-19, says Sara McManigal, director of organizational development, the early days were focused on making sure the new remote workers had the tools and even furnishings they needed to succeed. For those long accustomed to working remotely, McManigal says, there was actually a sense of relief: the playing field was suddenly leveled; there were no lunchtime conversations to miss out on.

An Excellent Experience

Planview’s experience corresponds with a new survey conducted this past spring by Lawless Research on behalf of Cherwell, which found that remote working has been inordinately successful—not only as a way to keep workers safe but also as a means to benefit their companies. The vast majority of now-remote workers said their experience has been positive, and nearly half reported an increase in their productivity. As McManigal notes, even as Planview came to realize that the remote-working situation wasn’t as temporary as they’d originally assumed, individual productivity across the company remained high, and efforts to make sure that collaboration between remote workers was reinforced helped ensure it stayed that way.

The key to the success? The evidence is in the data. The executives whose companies were further along the road to digital transformation were three times as likely as those in the early or developing stages to report “excellent” remote working experiences. And gains in productivity were more evident the more mature these companies were.

These gains represent an enormous change from the results Lawless reported in a similar study conducted for Cherwell last year in which most workers described systems that weren’t integrated and work that wasn’t automated, all of which created a drag on productivity.

The Human Element

What’s made the difference? It’s a combination, Cherwell CEO Sam Gilliland says, of technology and management. Integrated, automated software, along with the ability to work on a low-code/no-code platform, has made adapting workflows faster and easier. So has “keeping the human element in mind. It’s not just how people get their work done. It’s how we connect with them.”

That approach, notes McManigal, has been critical at Planview. “We’ve had to shift our thinking to make sure employees have space to share wins, challenges, fears,” she says. “We’ve needed to make sure they feel cared for, both personally and professionally.”

It’s no surprise then, adds Kim Osoba, Cherwell’s director of talent and organizational effectiveness, that Cherwell has seen a fivefold increase in RFPs for its digital transformation offerings—many of them for HR service management (HRSM)—since the pandemic began. “HRSM has become a lead step,” she says, “simply because these tools allow us to engage with a workforce that is now everywhere and needing information.”

It’s likely, says Gilliland, that the workforce will continue to be everywhere. While respondents guessed that only 43% of their workforces will remain remote after the pandemic (compared to 61% these past several months), Gilliland notes that the survey was conducted before it became clear that remote working would be necessary—and feasible—for so long. In industries such as technology, he predicts, the percentage working remotely will be closer to 70%, with companies—and employees—reaping benefits that include not only productivity but also cost savings and increased employee and customer satisfaction.

McManigal expects that Planview will see a large percentage of its employees request that they continue to work remotely once the crisis lifts. And to her surprise, given her own HR roots, she counts herself among that group. As she puts it, “If you’d asked me a year ago if I’d consider working remotely, I’d have said you were crazy. But I love it. It’s working.”

To see the business value you could get from using Cherwell, visit our website by clicking here.

 

 



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ByteDance applies for export license from China


The TikTok app icon sits displayed on a smartphone in front the national flags of China and the U.S. in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020.

Hollie Adams | Bloomberg | Getty Images

GUANGZHOU, China — TikTok owner ByteDance has applied for an export license in line with Chinese regulations, as it pushes for a deal with Oracle and Walmart for the video-sharing app’s U.S. operations to avoid a shutdown in the country.

The application was submitted to the Beijing municipal bureau of commerce, ByteDance said in a statement in Chinese on Thursday. The company said it was waiting for a decision.

But the statement did not mention the pending deal in the U.S. nor the exact technology it was looking to get a license for export. 

ByteDance did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by CNBC.

Last month, China updated its list of technologies subject to export restrictions to include technologies for “recommendation of personalized information services based on data analysis.” This appeared to relate to TikTok’s core recommendation algorithm that suggests videos to users and is seen as a reason behind the app’s popularity. 

ByteDance said it would abide by any technology export rules, which could give Beijing a say in the final deal. 

Over the weekend, Oracle said it would take a 12.5% stake in a new U.S.-based company called TikTok Global and be the cloud provider, handling American user data. Walmart would take a 7.5% stake. 

President Donald Trump said he approved the deal in concept.

Confusion emerged when ByteDance came out on Monday and said that it would have an 80% stake in TikTok Global. Oracle then responded saying Americans will have a “majority” of control over TikTok Global. 

That’s because Americans will make up four out of five board seats. But also, through a calculation of ByteDance’s American investors, Oracle can claim the new entity would be backed by mostly U.S. money. CNBC breaks down each side’s position here

TikTok was going to be shut down in the U.S. on Sunday. But since the deal was announced Saturday, that ban has been delayed by a week. 

Over the weekend, state-backed tabloid Global Times, hailed the deal “unfair” but “reasonable.” As confusion spread over the deal however, the publication, which is often seen as being close to Beijing’s thinking, accused the U.S. of “hooligan logic” in its push for certain conditions, adding it cannot see how China will approve the deal.

The state-backed China Daily also published an editorial in which it called the deal “dirty and unfair” and said Beijing has “no reason to give the green light to such a deal.”



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