Vaco, a global talent solutions firm, and MorganFranklin Consulting, a management advisory firm that helps businesses address transformational finance, technology, and business objectives, have revealed the top business trends for 2022 based on insight from business leaders nationwide coming from their inaugural Trends in Transformation survey.
Per the survey, the top trends driving organizational transformation in the new year are:
- Pursuing digital and technology advancement
- Increasing shared services or outsourcing for cost-reduction
- Implementing automation and process improvements to financial reporting
- Ensuring more engaged leadership teams to fuel success
- Investing in talent to drive growth in 2022
Conducted in October 2021, this survey of more than 160 North American business leaders explores how executives are approaching transformational priorities, cost-reducing strategies, and anticipated challenges for 2022. The collected data reflects the mindset among business leaders across different organizational functions, including the C-suite, IT, HR, finance, sales and marketing, and operations. Survey respondents came from a variety of industries, including technology, financial services, retail and consumer services, health care, and life sciences.
‘The pandemic has dramatically changed our workplace and workforce, and our Trends in Transformation survey spotlights the key drivers in the marketplace as businesses continue to navigate an evolving economy,’ said Brian Waller, CEO and co-founder of Vaco. ‘We conducted the survey to identify specific insight into how the market is shifting and to gauge how companies will pivot to meet emerging challenges – and it’s not surprising that technology optimization, process automation, and talent acquisition are the key factors that survey participants identified as driving growth in today’s rapidly changing market.’
Survey results indicate a consensus among business leaders, from various industries, on transformation barriers and priorities. Resource constraints, most notably struggles with talent acquisition, were identified as an impediment for nearly all respondents. Similarly, automation and streamlining manual processes were top-of-mind for business leaders as they considered their transformation goals and priorities for 2022. Labor market volatility continues to create significant issues across industries and at virtually all levels: companies are having difficulty finding the skills needed to drive initiatives forward, retaining top talent, and managing rising inflation and wages. As experts in delivering talent solutions and solving complex challenges, Vaco and MorganFranklin recommend organizations develop new approaches to talent acquisition and business process optimization.
‘Our Trends in Transformation survey highlights the importance of transformation to keep pace with a fast-changing business environment’ said Chris Mann, CEO and managing partner of MorganFranklin Consulting. ‘Approaching transformation holistically through people, process, and technology will be a crucial input to future success and value creation.’
The top trends driving change in the new year and beyond are:
- The expansion of digital capabilities is the focus of transformation across industries – 40% of respondents said implementing new technology solutions is their top priority for 2022. Some 30% will focus on launching a new product or line of business, while 24% will implement RPA and/or automating processes in the new year. Another 20% ranked improving risk management (e.g., cyber), compliance and internal controls as a competitive advantage in the workforce of the future.
- Increasing shared services or outsourcing is a cost-reducing focus area for nearly one-third of business leaders – 31% said increasing shared services or outsourcing is a top priority for reducing costs in 2022. In certain industries, outsourcing is a major driver of cost reduction. That impacts the retail and consumer services space the most (41%) followed by energy and construction (33%) and the technology sectors (31%). As businesses look toward 2022, their focus on outsourcing reflects a growing sensitivity to controlling financial waste and prioritizing the time and energy of their key employees.
- Financial reporting will see a significant positive impact from automation – 33% said that general ledger and financial reporting will be the business area most significantly impacted by increased automation/process improvement in 2022. These tools will transform a variety of business functions, from payroll processing to marketing to customer support. Operations functions will be the next highest area of impact (33%), followed by forecasting and budgeting (18%) and sales and marketing (12%). IT rounded out the responses at 8%.
- Engaged leadership is considered the most critical factor in successful transformation – 46% said that engaged leadership is the most critical focus area to successful transformation in 2022. Other key areas of success identified are a continued focus on people, process, technology and security (42%), change management and effective communication (38%), future vision and initiatives roadmap (30%) and project management (22%).
- The talent shortage is considered the biggest barrier to business strategy success – Nearly half (49%) said shortages of qualified job candidates to fill open roles was the top impediment to growth. The continuing impact of COVID-19 (43%) was the second leading barrier, followed by rising costs of benefits, like healthcare (25%), supply chain stagflation (23%) and the political climate (16%). The 2021 labor market was unlike anything business leaders (and job seekers) had experienced before – leading to high levels of employee resignations, salary spikes, and more.