In a recent report published by Protiviti and North Carolina State University, analysts found just how important technology and innovation are becoming for corporate executives.
Their December 2018 survey found “digital readiness” to be the c-suite's top priority for 2019, with executives also reflecting their concern that the biggest risks their companies face are intensifying.
“The perceived increase in the magnitude and severity of risks in today’s ever-changing landscape should prompt boards and senior executives to closely scrutinize the approaches to proactively address emerging risks,” said North Carolina State University Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Initiative Director and ERM Professor Dr. Mark Beasley, quoted in Protiviti’s release. “Boards of directors and executive management teams cannot afford to manage risks casually on a reactive basis, especially considering the rapid pace of disruptive innovation and technological developments in an ever-advancing digital world.”
Separate research last month also examined how corporate finance expects are bracing for this digital disruption. Finance professionals spoke with Gartner, Inc. to pinpoint exactly which technologies they expect to have the biggest impact on how businesses manage their money, with artificial intelligence and robotics process automation emerging as top focuses.
“More than a quarter of organizations surveyed expect to deploy some form of artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning in their finance department by 2020,” said Gartner senior director analyst Christopher Iervolino in a statement. “Moreover, half the respondents expect to deploy predictive analytics in the same period.”
Interestingly, blockchain did not emerge as a top focus for corporate finance chiefs, yet other recent analysis suggests CFOs might want to have the technology on their radar, too.
The World Trade Organization's latest analysis on the technology found blockchain could add $3 trillion to the world's global trade markets by 2030.
Its “Can blockchain revolutionize international trade?” report concluded that blockchain “could well become the future of trade infrastructure and the biggest disruptor to the shipping industry and to international trade since the invention of the container."
B2B payments is another area of corporate finance that some analysts expect blockchain to disrupt in a major way. Dun & Bradstreet research published in November found one-fifth of professionals surveyed said they have already implemented blockchain technology for B2B payments. According to D&B global head of trade credit business Eric Dowdell, “we're likely about to see a significant surge in blockchain-enabled B2B payments.”
That same month, PayPie, one company that is propelling its confidence in blockchain for B2B payments, spoke with PYMNTS about this trend.
“I believe there will be a system of trust in the coming years that’s going to connect small and medium-sized businesses as well as accountants, their lenders, their banks, and maybe tax authorities,” said PayPie Co-Founder and CEO Nick Chandi in an interview at the time.
Chandi reconnected with PYMNTS to offer his predictions on how blockchain's B2B payments disruption is expected to play out in 2019. Read his forecast for the industry below:
"In 2019 we will continue to see movement toward building a blockchain-based B2B payment system based on tokens tied to traditional, established currencies, in which the payor and payee can connect directly — bypassing third-parties and minimizing processing costs.
"I envision a model where the company pioneering the system issues the credits, unlike the current pay-as-you-go methods. Additionally, blockchain will enable real-time payments and transactions.
"The only time funds will leave the system is when a user has a specific reason to take money out of the B2B network.
"The coming year more and more businesses look to leverage the benefits of a distributed ledger. IBM, SAP and other big names have already entered the space and it’s only a matter of time until mid-sized firms seize the opportunity to increase transparency, reduce costs and eliminate inefficiencies."