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Transformation a priority for majority of UK C-suite in 2021

  • 82% of UK executives are planning transformation projects in the next 12 months
  • New technology, customer experience and L&D for staff are the most popular areas for executives reinvesting capital unlocked through increased efficiency in 2021

Four in five UK executives (82%) are planning to transform their business in the next 12 months, according to a new report from Parseq.

The business process outsourcer surveyed more than 250 C-suite executives at some of the UK’s biggest companies, finding the operations those planning transformation in 2021 will focus on.

Marketing (39%), sales (36%) and customer experience (26%) were the most popular front office operations identified by executives. While in the back office, HR (26%), finance and administration (24%) and compliance (24%) were the functions cited most frequently as an area of focus.

Every C-suite executive polled (100%) will also take steps to make their business more efficient in the next 12 months, indicating how the UK’s biggest firms will realise their transformation plans.

Focus on efficiency

Use of AI and machine learning (37%), L&D for staff (37%) and measures that improve governance (35%) are the most popular steps executives will take to increase business efficiency in 2021.

A third of executives (33%) also said they were now more likely to outsource processes to a third party to increase their business’ efficiency, compared to 28% that were less likely to do so.

When asked how they will use capital unlocked through efficiency gains in the next 12 months, almost half of leaders said they will invest in new technology (46%), two fifths said they would improve customer experience (39%) and more than a third will reinvest the capital in L&D for staff (37%) and to expand into existing (35%) and new (34%) markets.

Executives also highlighted several barriers to making their businesses more efficient, citing cost (35%), complexity (34%), a lack of time (29%) and a lack of knowledge (29%) as their biggest hurdles. A quarter (24%) flagged a lack of awareness of available third-party support was holding them back.

Craig Naylor-Smith, CEO, Parseq, said: “In a competitive climate, when consumer and business confidence is low, transformation projects that drive growth must remain on the agenda.

“Our first Big Business Efficiency Report shows executives are pursuing transformation in the front and back office to secure new business and maintain important customer relationships against a backdrop of disruption. They’re also supporting staff adjusting to new ways of working in the wake of Covid-19.

“Increased efficiency unlocks the investment needed for successful transformation projects. Support from third parties with the right expertise and experience can help executives achieve this, take advantage of the latest innovations and build resilience as we head into a critical year for UK plc.”

Parseq provides a range of bespoke business processing services, including digital mailrooms, data hosting, payment processing and allocation and document management.

The company uses technologies such as optical character recognition (OCR), intelligent character recognition (ICR) and robotic process automation (RPA) to digitise more than 70 million customer correspondences every year and handles over £36 billion in payments annually.


About the Big Business Efficiency Report

  • To gather representative data, C-suite decision makers at a cross section of 256 businesses with more than 250 employees and between £1m and more than £500m turnover were surveyed in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Interviews were conducted by Censuswide. Fieldwork was conducted between September 29 and October 5, 2020.
  • When asking respondents about business efficiency, Parseq defined efficiency as using the least amount of input to achieve the highest amount of output. It defines transformation as changing the way an operation is performed to make it more effective, faster, or cheaper.
  • Download and visit the dedicated page for The Big Business Efficiency Report here

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