B2B Payments

Corporate Leaders Aren’t Leading On Tech Adoption

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It’s not enough for a technology to be a proven way to improve business processes: Adoption of new tech is a tough sell. For SMEs, limited resources may stifle the ability to invest in new technology. For larger corporates, red tape and old habits challenge the adoption of disruptive tools.

But a new report from Sage finds that being knowledgeable in the latest and most innovative solutions is beneficial to the organization.

Data released by the corporate accounting and payments company this month found that nearly a third of small businesses that took the leap to adopt new technology improved their growth compared to businesses that didn’t. Still, the majority of SMEs (56 percent) said they have yet to adopt digital technologies and instead prefer to stick to their traditional tools and processes.

It’s a common tactic for small businesses; in the latest PYMNTS.com SMB Technology Adoption Index, analysis finds that just 13 percent of small businesses are willing to take the leap and adopt innovative technology — despite most businesses considering themselves at least moderate users of tech.

The hesitancy among businesses to adopt new technology is well-documented.

separate report released this month from Capital One and the NAPCP (the National Association of the Commercial Card and Payment Industry) found that, while businesses acknowledge heightened security, lower costs, and greater business intelligence obtained from adopting new payments and finance tools, there are three major barriers that stand in the way of actually doing so.

They include insufficient information to make an informed cost-benefit analysis, insufficient leadership to help the business implement new technology and a lack of overall knowledge about the latest solutions available to the enterprise.

“Given the rapid pace of innovation we’ve witnessed in our industry, there is a lot for payment professionals to digest,” said NAPCP Managing Director Diane McGuire, CPCP, in a statement. “Our research points to the constructive role that industry associations like NAPCP can play in educating enterprise leaders about the value of new payment technologies while at the same time keeping payment and procurement professionals informed about new payment technologies as they emerge.”

Adoption rates, the NAPCP and Capital One found, correlate with how well-versed a company is with a new technology. For instance, the adoption of ePayables is comparably high with all respondents able to identify at least one benefit of the technology; meanwhile, just 13 percent of those surveyed said they are familiar with tokenization, and only two respondents said their companies had adopted tokens.

Only about a tenth said their companies allocate funds to explore new payment technologies.

Analysis from SAS similarly concluded that leadership within the enterprise weighs heavily on its ability to adopt new technologies. In a white paper recently released by the company, SAS found that, while data preparation capabilities are critical to adopting more advanced data analytics and business intelligence solutions, there are “soft” factors that hamper adoption, too, including leadership.

“Even organizations that are soon in these areas say that they see significant challenges with things like innovation, creativity and leadership,” SAS said, adding that “weak adopters of both BI and advanced analytics should see opportunities for executive support.

“Without a strong vision and buy-in at the executive level, resulting initiatives will naturally fail or underperform,” the company concluded.

According to an SAS survey, more than half of mid-market and enterprise companies surveyed (57 percent) said business intelligence is critical to the company and that use of such technology will increase in the coming year. Further, 60 percent reported having experienced significant benefits from their business intelligence solutions.

But barriers remain to business intelligence and data analytics technology adoption, the report noted, with 53 percent of companies that show strong BI adoption citing both a lack of appropriate talent and an inability to turn analytics into actual business insights as “significant” barriers to adoption.

For the businesses that have yet to adopt these tools in an effective manner, most said organizational culture barriers are the top challenge to adopting business intelligence and analytics solutions, while half cited lack of support from senior management.

Whether it’s payments technology or sophisticated data analytics, or whether it’s a small business or a large enterprise, data across the board suggests that strong leadership and a corporate culture open to adopting new technologies is critical to actually adopting the tools that can improve business processes.

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