Happy New Year! We hope you enjoyed a great holiday season and are excited for 2019.

In our previous post, we reflected on the most viewed BIE blogs of 2018, which covered the popular topics of business transformationinterim management, and innovation.

In this blog post, we wanted to recap the research projects we carried out last year. We tapped into the latest trends in three functional areas, including business transformation, finance, and supply chain. In case you missed them, here’s a rundown of the key findings and themes from each of the reports.

Business Transformation Survey

In our survey of cross-functional senior executives, we explored all things business transformation. We sought to find out how many companies are going through change, what the major drivers of transformation are, how transformation teams are structured, who the major sponsors are, and how companies are incentivising employees while going through change.

What we discovered was that business transformation is everywhere - an overwhelming 80% of respondents said they were currently going through a change or transition of some nature. This is largely driven by a need to create greater efficiencies, reduce costs, or a lack of business growth.

The results showed that 25% of transformation teams are made up of external talent, indicating that companies are capitalising on the opportunity to get experienced individuals to work with them, who know how to go through periods of change.

What’s more, 62% of respondents stated that their company wanted to build more internal transformation capability. It seems transformation buying has matured in the sense that companies are more likely to hire experienced interims or permanent talent who can nurture and empower internal talent, rather than more expensive management consultants.

It’s clear that companies are becoming more informed about how best to achieve their transformations. However, with change becoming a constant, there is evidence that employees are becoming disengaged. For many, communication is considered the key to motivating employees. We suggest that perhaps organisations should be more focused on communicating how transformation provides an opportunity for employees to develop new skills that will make them more attractive in the employment market.

To discover more about the state of business transformation, you can read our full survey report here.

Finance Succession Planning Survey

Finance professionals today need to be focused on more than just the numbers. They need to be able to play a central role in enabling the business to operate effectively.

With a continuing debate around the high cost of hiring and retaining finance talent, we decided to investigate how organisations are dealing with succession planning in more detail within their finance function.

What we discovered was that succession planning is often not taken seriously within an organisation’s finance function. The survey revealed that less than half of CFOs meet with their HR Director as much as once every six months to discuss leadership development and succession planning. Furthermore, a significant proportion of CFOs believe their successor will come from external sources - which is felt to be partly due to the increased development of different specialisms within the finance function.

The results highlighted a need for CFOs to be more proactive in engaging with HR Directors to develop an appropriate framework, and for the finance function to find a better balance between breadth and expertise across all financial disciplines to allow senior executives to step up to the top role.

When it comes to finance transformation, 60% of CFOs stated that they were currently undergoing a transformation programme, with organisations looking to invest in both cost out and business growth.

For more details about succession planning within the finance function, you can read our full survey report here.

Supply Chain Risk Survey Report

In our supply chain survey, we explored how the supply chain is dealing with current and future perceived risk factors, both from a functional and organisational perspective. We investigated the biggest challenges for supply chains, the goals for the next few years, and the changing risk profile of the supply chain.

The results showed that the biggest challenges facing the supply chain are the increases and volatility in customer demand, as well as pressure on costs. As such, there is a focus within supply chain to meet evolving customer needs and decrease operating costs.

There is a recognition that the supply chain risk profile has increased and will continue to do so. The supply chain talent shortage is also a key risk area and emphasises the need to invest in succession planning. 71% of supply chain professionals surveyed were recruited into their current role rather than being promoted internally.

When it comes to transformation, 83% of respondents said they are currently undergoing a transformation or change initiative.

The survey report includes commentary from Professor Omera Khan, Strategic Supply Chain Risk Expert, and James Gherardi, Supply Chain & Procurement Director at BIE. You can read our full report here.

Thoughts to take away

Reflecting on all three survey reports as a whole, it seems that business transformation really is everywhere, with the finance and supply chain functions being no exceptions. Succession planning is clearly an area that all areas of business need to invest in. A focus on building and nurturing internal talent is key for retaining staff and allowing them to step into the top roles.

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