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DIGITAL WORKSPACE BECOMES TOP IT PRIORITY FOR BANKING AND FINANCE, SOFTCAT REPORT REVEALS

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  • 66% of finance organisations are prioritising Digital Workspace solutions in the year ahead –

 

  • 14% now say sustainability is key to their IT decision making – 

A new report from Softcat offers an exclusive snapshot of the finance IT landscape and what technologies organisations are prioritising in the year ahead.

The findings are based on the views of nearly 1,250 organisations in the UK and Ireland, across 23 industries including finance.

Looking at a sector level, the report reveals 66% of finance organisations are now prioritising Digital Workspace solutions above all other technology areas.

The banking and finance sector is under increasing pressure to deliver intuitive, accessible and mobile-friendly consumer experiences, while continuing to offer important face-to-face services.

The sector has also responded to changing work styles and COVID-19 restrictions by introducing greater flexibility and remote working. For staff to work effectively, from anywhere, they need a frictionless, connected environment where user experience and security are central. Something Digital Workspace technologies can provide.

Digital Workspace solutions put people first and technology second. They enable true collaboration and deliver a great user experience by securely connecting people, applications, data and devices together, helping employees to do their job seamlessly – wherever they are.

Cyber Security is the second most cited technology investment area for the next year, with 64% of finance organisations saying it’s an important part of their IT strategy.

Today’s financial services are entirely dependent on computer systems, making it a lucrative target for cybercriminals. Data security is a major issue for the financial sector, which plays a key role in the economy. A security incident in a banking institution can have consequences on the day-to-day operations of an entire country, or even an entire region of the world.

Hybrid Infrastructure, comprising Datacentre and Cloud, Public Cloud and Managed Infrastructure, is ranked as the third most important IT priority within finance, according to the study with 47% of respondents citing it.

The bank of the future will look very different from today. Faced with changing consumer expectations, emerging technologies, security risks and alternative business models, banks need to start putting strategies in place now to help them prepare for this future. And the shift to cloud will underpin future success.

Importantly, organisations were also able to rank sustainability as a focus for the first time. And 14% of those in the finance sector (compared to a 10% cross-sector average) cited sustainability as an important factor in their IT strategy for the coming year, signalling a shift towards greener and more ethically conscious decision making.

Technology has a vital role to play in supporting organisations in meeting their sustainability goals, to ensure compliance with tightening legislation and help the global community meet science-backed climate targets.

 

Richard Wyn Griffith, Managing Director of Softcat commented on the findings:

“Over the past 18 months or so, the financial sector has been heavily challenged; working hard to limit the impact on business-as-usual or respond to unprecedented surges and pivots in demand. 

“People, empowered by technology, have made navigating this uncertain and disruptive period possible. And this will only continue as we learn to live and thrive with new ways of working.”

 

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NutreeLife triples production with finance from Siemens Financial Services

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Plant-based snack manufacturer NutreeLife has massively increased its production capacity with the help of a hire purchase solution from Siemens Financial Services (SFS).

Founded in 2017, NutreeLife is a rapidly growing company which produces vegan protein bars, snacks and other healthy vegan products. Following a significant increase in demand, the manufacturer wanted to invest in a new production line.

As Patrick Mroczak, MD and CEO at NutreeLife Ltd explains, “We were ready to invest in the next stage of business development. We needed new equipment to meet demand but we also wanted to preserve our cash flow to deal with the volatility of the pandemic.”

To protect the business’ working capital, SFS suggested a hire purchase arrangement. Under the agreement, NutreeLife could acquire the equipment immediately and with no upfront costs. Instead, SFS tailored the arrangement so that the company could spread the cost over 5 years in regular payments and at the end of the arrangement NutreeLife will automatically own the equipment outright.

Under the hire purchase solution, the manufacturer also met the conditions for the UK government’s super-deduction tax initiative, whereby a company investing in qualifying new plant and machinery assets is able to claim 130% of the equipment’s value in year one.

“As a relatively new business, it’s not always easy to gain access to the right finance at a good price but SFS were incredibly accommodating. They really understood the benefit of the technology for our business and helped us unlock the investment,” adds Mroczak.

With the new equipment and technology installed, NutreeLife has been able to triple its production and turnover, and expand operations in tow.

“Despite the ups and downs of the pandemic, the new production line has helped us to keep things moving. As demand rises we’ve been able to take on much more staff and use our working capital towards stockpiling raw materials when needed.”

And the business’ success has not gone unnoticed. NutreeLife was awarded Small Business of the Year at the 2021 Lancashire’s Be Inspired Business Awards (BIBAs).

“Working with SFS has truly opened up news avenues of business for us. The team is so fast and responsive and clearly dedicated to finding the best solution for our machinery needs,” comments Mroczak.

Kirsty Talmage-Rostron, Business Development Manager – UK South at Siemens Financial Services comments, “It’s always exciting to work with an innovative award-winning manufacturer like NutreeLife. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, we’ve been able to help the business rapidly develop and look forward to continuing to support this growth strategy as the business expands into new markets.”

 

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HYDR DEVELOPS INVOICE FINANCE PLATFORM TO INTEGRATE WITH MAJOR CLOUD ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE PROVIDERS

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MANCHESTER – UK – 17th January 2022 – Fintech start-up, Hydr has developed its proprietary invoice finance platform to integrate with more major cloud accounting software providers including Sage and QuickBooks.

After launching exclusively with Xero in May, the Hydr platform can now be accessed by millions more SMEs in the UK who want to leverage their unpaid invoices to optimise cash flow and help fuel their growth.

Users of Sage, FreeAgent, KashFlow, QuickBooks and Xero who sign up with Hydr can get paid almost immediately for the work they have completed and invoiced, rather than having to wait out long payment terms and even having to consider extending their borrowings to maintain working capital.

Customers who link their account to the Hydr platform can expect a class-leading, seamless integration. No duplication of data is needed, they simply continue to raise their invoices with their cloud accounting provider as normal and Hydr will do the rest, funding approved invoices within 24 hours.

Hydr co-founder, Nicola Weedall said, “We’re so pleased to have achieved this product milestone. The impact of long payment terms and late payments is affecting millions of small businesses in the UK; many are navigating CBILS repayments and ramping up post-Covid trading which can put a strain on working capital. We feel so strongly that getting paid early is the best way of optimising cash flow, far better than extending borrowings.”

Hydr co-founder, Hector Macandrew said, “Invoice finance in years gone by has often been complicated and time consuming to apply for, complex to manage and opaque in pricing. It is absolutely ripe for disruption and cloud accounting and open banking has made this reinvention achievable. With our simple, transparent and fairly priced proposition, it is now more accessible and attractive to small businesses than ever. We encourage more businesses to consider it.”

Hydr helps small businesses optimise their cash flow with fully digital onboarding that takes just 15 minutes. Hydr’s platform connects with a company’s data and financial information creating a seamless digital experience without the need for the company to submit any additional paperwork. Funding decisions are given in real time and Hydr pays 100% of the value of an invoice (rather than the traditional 70-90%) within 24 hours, minus a transparent, fairly priced fixed fee. Once quoted, the fee never, ever changes and includes credit insurance.

Hydr works with small businesses registered in England in Wales that sell products or services to other businesses (B2B).

 

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