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Cashless transactions are nothing new, but with technological advances moving on apace, particularly in the smartphone market, the ‘digital economy’ has enabled an explosion of non-traditional financial solutions.

Some consumers still prefer cash, and in many areas that will remain so for the foreseeable future. Take India for example. They withdrew certain bank notes from the financial system overnight, meaning that the population found that 86% of its cash was no longer legal tender.

Although there’s been a strong government push to end cash as well as many new digital payment providers, almost three quarters of India’s financial transactions are still made in cash. …

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Cheaper than fossil fuels, renewable energy is starting to lose its subsidies, in particular from the likes of China and the United Kingdom, both of whom are enthusiastic backers of green energy. What’s more, the Trump administration would also like to withdraw support, and, as the subsidies are eliminated, it’s revealing another problem.

In order to easily accommodate peaks in demand and pull back when there’s a dip, coal and gas generators can ramp up production but wind and solar energy cannot. Clearly, when the sun shines it affects solar power and strong winds determine wind power. …

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It’s true that technological innovations are permeating across all sectors of business, and Agribusiness is no different.

Every link in the food chain, from seed to fork is being transformed, and there are a handful of trends that are the drivers for change.

Farm profits are at a record 12-year low, down 6.7 percent, with tech-savvy customers driving the demand for organic products, sustainable retail supply chains, and zero deforestation commitments.

Retailers are also under pressure from the seed and crop protection industry, as well as changing consumer demands.

Not to mention that volatile pricing and expansion of in-house storage has disrupted the fundamental business model for many. …

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SaaS, or ‘Software as a service,’ is taking over the cloud computing market and becoming a much more viable choice for many companies. It’s cost-effective, simple, user-friendly and allows for maximum efficiency in the workplace. So what are the likely SaaS trends in 2020? Let’s take a look at five of them…

Artificial Intelligence

From once being seen as nothing more than a gimmick, AI has quickly become a technological game-changer. In business particularly, machine learning has become commonplace, with data alerts provided as soon as changes occur. Processes have become more automated, and will continue on an upward curve with productivity therefore increasing. …

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Shareholder value and corporate profit in a company are arguably driven by revenue growth. There’s not a CEO anywhere that will tell you otherwise. Whether short or long term, that accounts for three quarters of total shareholder return (TSR). It’s absolutely necessary, but has to be profitable.

There are a wide variety of variables that must be taken into account to drive revenue when going to market. From customer insights and sales to pricing, branding and marketing. …

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Individuals and companies who are reluctant to embrace change and who see AI (Artificial Intelligence) and automation as nothing more than the newest fad, will find themselves left behind as businesses transform thanks to the technology available now, and that which is to come in the near future.

We are already seeing machines carrying out many of those tasks that were previously done by humans, and in some cases even outperforming the homo-sapiens. What that means of course is that, from a business perspective, huge change is coming. Some jobs will inevitably be lost, some will change and others will be strengthened. …

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ESG, or Environmental, Social and Governance, refers to the three central factors in measuring the sustainability and societal impact of an investment in a company or business, and these criteria help to better determine the future financial performance of companies. As part of the investment and decision-making processes, responsible investing is necessary, with ESG factors looking at certain areas that traditionally aren’t part of financial analysis, but could have financial relevance. How workers are treated, what is their health and safety policy and how effective is it, do they take climate change into account all fall into this bracket.

It’s estimated that a quarter of all professionally managed assets around the world have some form of ESG investment, totalling over $20 trillion in AUM (Assets Under Management). Investment is based on the assumption that ESG factors have financial relevance, and a larger number of investors recognise that ESG information is required to understand the strategy and management quality of companies amongst other things. …

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Cybersecurity continues to be a blind spot for the United States’ lawmakers, however, Congress have made progress on the subject of data privacy.

A national privacy law that mirrors legislation in the European Union would allow people to access, correct and request the deletion of the personal information collected from them. Congress are currently considering such a bill, although there are several ideas as to the final form the bill should take.

It’s worth remembering that the National Quantum Initiative Act was recently passed, and there is even an argument that such enthusiasm for technology could help fix the impeachment process. …

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Time is almost always an essential factor when looking at business transformations, but moving preemptively may be the best way to prevent collapse.

Leaders are often reluctant to change when their companies are in a comfortable position because transformations are costly, may create instability amongst staff and take away management attention from other areas of the business.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” is an adage that could almost universally be applied in this type of scenario.

However, having analysed many transformations between 2010 and 2014, it’s clear that preemptive change does generate significantly higher long-term value than reactive change. …

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A question that is often pondered upon is why do only 0.4% of Dutch start-ups scale?

From my own perspective, and with the advantage of objective distance, I can come in and see things for the first time and though this does mean that I’m ignorant of local culture and customs, the flip side is that I don’t come with a lot of biases.

I see a huge emphasis on funding, but no real focus on removing the friction and fractures that exist in the European market.

The consumer market for products isn’t bad. You can get the same cliff bars in the Netherlands as you can in Spain, but if you look at business services there remains a huge amount of friction. That, in my opinion, stops the scalability that is seen in other parts of the world. …

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WGP Global

Our core purpose is to keep clients ahead of the curve when it comes to breaking news and information gathering in relation to blockchain, fintech and more

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