John Deere’s former senior manager of strategic public relations sat down to discuss the innovations Deere & Co. (DE) has taken to address labor shortages farmers are facing today. One such way was the development of an autonomous tractor that doesn’t require a person to operate from inside the tractor’s cab.
Several years ago, DE began pre-wiring tractors for what is known as precision ag. By incorporating software that allows farmers to program tractor operations, the need for farmhands decreases, which solves the labor crisis.
DE continues to gain a lead over its competitors, who have been unable to meet the demands of parts and product support. The DE’s former senior manager states that the company’s competitors like Kubota and AGCO offer automated harvesters for smaller farms. Yet, DE continues to lead the industry for large-scale farming.
Supply chain bottlenecks have been another concern for suppliers worldwide, and companies like Constellation Brands, a wine and spirits producer in the United States, struggle like the rest.
While the company jumped on the hard seltzers trend in a market saturated with competition, tariffs and supply chain bottlenecks required them to be more innovative in their approach to reach their customers.
One expert says that the company’s solution is to move towards developing cannabis-based beverages to compete with alcoholic beverages. While these probably won’t be drinks you can get at your local supermarket, the company believes there will be a demand.
Now that tariff increases are less likely to be a risk to these distributors, and it should be easier to get these products in the hands of their customers.
The former senior vice president of SS&C Technologies Holdings Inc. (SSNC) sat down with analysts to discuss innovations in their software as a service (SaaS) program. The company provides the financial services industry with better ways to coordinate sales teams to accelerate cross-selling.
The new head of enterprise sales is the person driving this integration. These include fully integrated front, middle, and back-office solutions.
These innovations come at a time when self-service options are pivotal to banking and financial institution operations. Also, financial services can offer increased security with the SSNC SaaS solution.
Financial experts agree that this will result in advanced growth opportunities through market share gains. It will also allow the company to make an international expansion.
Interpump Group S.p.A. provides a range of products that serves four primary sectors. These include:
- Hydraulics (oil pressure power take-offs)
- Cylinders (hydraulic pumps)
- Electric motors (for high-pressure washers, gate openers, and compressors)
- Industrial equipment (high-pressure plunger pumps)
The company is now focusing on more technology-intrusive products since its acquisition of Hammelmann, a high-pressure pump manufacturer in Germany.
An expert and former employee agree that with this expansion (along with others), the company can more efficiently manage order flow and work processes.
Since production volumes fluctuate with the oil and gas prices, the company has found internal initiatives to maximize efficiency to help mitigate spikes in production. Experts also state that the company is seeing an end-market demand for medical device implants resulting from its expansion.
A former competitor with Wheels Up Experience Inc. (UP) spoke with analysts to discuss how the aviation company will meet demands when recent global events make it challenging to obtain planes.
More clients want to use private jets due to the COVID outbreak. Also, those who fly in private jets are accustomed to the lifestyle and want to maintain that status.
The increased demand is great for businesses, but not if they can’t meet these demands. One solution is to offer clients the ability to participate in fractional ownership.
That means the client can own a portion of the plane while sharing the costs and travel schedules with other owners.
This solution isn’t always popular among the financial elite. Yet, many clients are getting on board to help resolve the issues with the lack of available planes.
Atlassian Corporation Plc (TEAM) develops, designs, maintains, and licenses various software products worldwide. It does this through its subsidiaries. One product they offer is Jira, a workflow management system.
An expert who worked for a competitor of the company spoke with analysts to discuss the limitations of the company’s offerings. The former chief scientist at Digital.ai believes that TEAM isn’t effective at cross-selling multiple products and that Jira is far too complicated and expensive for users to implement.
Jira also has a lot of hidden costs. Even though TEAM boasts an inexpensive solution, organizations quickly discover integration is costly.
Salesforce integration is believed to be the solution. The vast Salesforce offerings can provide a platform that is user-friendly and cost-effective.
Streaming services have taken their toll on cable companies, and telecoms like Charter have found ways to keep their customers loyal. While wireless and mobile services are great retention tools, the company still faces challenges within the network.
The former vice president of operations for the telecom giant Charter Communications believes that fixed wireless has a long way to go to replace the wireline of coax cable.
Charter’s agreement with Verizon was a strategic move, and the success rate of bundling mobile services with cable services was more than investors expected.
However, the push for fiber over traditional coax cable creates additional challenges for the service provider.
As AT&T continues to roll out more fiber and T-Mobile now offers wireless internet and TV packages, Charter struggles to grow within the telecom industry.
As a supplier for scientific instruments, software services, and reagents, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (TMO) benefits from size and scale in its industry. In 2006, Thermo Electron merged with Fisher Scientific, and the new TMO has continued to expand ever since.
An expert, and former employee of one of the company’s competitors, believes TMO is a strong competitor in the application security testing (AST) market. AST analyzes and tests security applications for vulnerabilities, and experts think it’s a perfect sector for TMO to enter.
COVID-19 is accelerating the growth of the demand for improved AST, and according to this expert, this testing will become even more relevant in the coming years. For that reason, they think TMO should move into the AST market.
ADYEN-NA is an online payment processing company that allows businesses to take payments through ecommerce, mobile, and point-of-sale transactions. The Dutch company even accepts payments from sources worldwide.
The company has a strong advantage in the retail, smaller merchant, and hospitality sectors due to its premier single platform offering. Customer acquisitions are the focus of the company and the reason for its growth in the merchant services market.
The company does not buy licenses to operate in other countries. Instead, it applies for licenses as it grows its customer base within that country.
ADYEN-NA continues to expand and recently applied for licenses in even more countries than those it currently serves, including:
- United States
- United Arab Emirates
Experts have a concern about whether it will work throughout every region globally, especially with its competitor, Worldline, expanding worldwide.
The money transfer market has an increasingly competitive landscape. It is especially true now that companies like Facebook offer digital money transfers from its app. However, Western Union (WU) has long been a trusted name in these transactions.
The former senior vice president of the WU says that Ria (one of the parent company’s offerings) has been growing rapidly in recent years. While WU retains the advantage in the destination money transfer services, Ria dominates in the point-of-sale market.
Facebook isn’t WU and Ria’s only competition. Financial services giant PayPal is getting into the remittance business, and both companies pose a significant threat to WU and its subsidiaries.
FinTech also poses a threat to these and other legacy businesses. Yet, compliance requirements for money transfer services keep WU at the top.
GitLab (GTLB) is a DevOps platform that boasts unparalleled visibility, development velocity, and collaboration among its competitors. With over 30 million users, it’s hard to argue. Yet one customer spoke with analysts regarding one of the company’s largest competitors, GitHub.
According to a former Rockwell automation director, GitHub has a sales advantage over GTLB due to its acquisition by Microsoft. The customer states that GitHub offers a more compelling customer experience that is increasingly user-friendly.
The expert states that they believe that GTLB could perform better if the company were to consider a merger with Amazon.
Under that acquisition scenario, the company would be better prepared to compete with GitHub and any other emerging competitors on the market.
Another way corporations remain competitive in the current economic crisis due to the pandemic is to integrate workflow platforms that help them work faster and smarter. Yet, there is vast competition within the workflow automation market.
One customer and automation workflow expert believe that one company has a competitive advantage over others in the market because of its tremendous flexibility. That company is ServiceNow Inc. (NOW).
The expert thinks the product is highly configurable. There is not much of a learning curve with the service, and implementation does not pose any significant concerns.
The only thing the customer states as an issue with the service is the cost of switching. They feel that the time and expense of implementing this new platform may be too much for some organizations.
Frontier Communications (FYBR) is another telecom that was hit hard by the advancement of streaming services. DirecTV and Verizon Stream TV have proven to make providing similar services challenging for FYBR.
Another issue with FYBR is that the company’s pricing plans have little flexibility. It’s also known for offering more bandwidth than customers need while still charging them as though there is a demand.
Pricing plans and excessive bandwidth is why FYBR’s competition can undercut its pricing and acquire their customers. FiberOptic (FiOS) is the only offer continuing to make the company profitable in some markets.
Although FYBR sold many of its market interests to other companies, like Ziply, many experts agree that its FiOS holds little value these days, a reason why VZ sold it to the company several years ago.
Formerly known as Cree, Wolfspeed Inc. (WOLF) develops a range of bandgap semiconductors. The company focuses on gallium nitride and silicon carbide (SiC) materials. It also specializes in devices for power and radio frequency applications such as:
- Power supplies
- Power inverters
- Wireless systems
According to partners of the company, they believe that electric vehicles (EVs) will all use SiC inverters and that there will not be enough of these inverters. Experts agree it’s because the battery packs in EVs go from 400V to 800V, causing a shortage.
The chief analyst for SemiAnalysis believes the capacity and revenue targets will be challenging for WOLF to achieve. That is because of the complexities of manufacturing SiC inverters.
Fiserv Inc. (FISV) is a global FinTech solution and payment processing company. The company’s offerings include:
- Merchant acquiring
- Billing and payment
- Global commerce
- Point-of-sale transactions
FISV’s former senior vice president and the general manager agree the company has increased growth opportunities in the B2B sector for its integrating payment offerings.
Most businesses still pay for many products and services with checks. The SVP believes FISV is well-positioned to serve these companies.
Legacy bank payment processing companies will lose their market share to FISV and other companies like them. It’s because local banks cannot offer companies a viable solution for payments of products and services, including better digital solutions.
Innovations in a time of global crisis include companies that offer services for at-home food delivery. Just Eat Takeaway.com N.V. (JET-LN) is one company that provides these services to its customers. It is the parent company to brands like:
- Just Eat
The former director of marketing strategy for the company went on the record to state that she believes that while they offer a superior-tech platform, DoorDash (DASH) and Uber Eats take their part in the market share because of their pricing and supply strategies.
According to the company’s former director, DASH invested heavily in their market in Canada to win over a three to five-year period and is encroaching on Uber-dominated cities as a result.
In the U.S., each company has roughly the same market share within the industry. Furthermore, it continues to grow as the pandemic remains a concern.
Cedar began as a payment collections platform and evolved to a patient engagement platform. The company works with healthcare providers and uses AI and machine learning (ML) technology to reach out to patients regarding payment.
Payment collections are when a person goes to a physician or a hospital, and there’s a portion of the bill called the patient responsibility. It is the amount the insurance company doesn’t cover.
Cedar’s platform uses digital methods to reach the patient including, texts, emails, and bill generation. There are several advantages to providers for using this service:
- Increases bill collections
- Reduces cost to collect
- Improves patient experience
- Provides data analytics
Another significant advantage is that hospitals may become more focused on collection efficiency due to COVID pressures. One disadvantage is that Cedar is more expensive than other collection vendors.
Illumina Inc. (ILMN) develops, manufactures, and markets life science tools and integrated systems. It does this for large-scale analysis of genetic functions and variations. The company’s offerings include:
- Selection tools
- Kits and reagents
- Software and analysis
GRAIL is one of Illumina’s offerings, and healthcare professionals use it to screen for cancer, diagnosis, and monitoring. The company boasts that it offers a “new era” in cancer detection.
However, GRAIL’s former senior director is skeptical of its technology development and adoption. He believes that patients will not want tests like GRAIL screenings.
They also believe that it will take years to generate adequate clinical data to drive widespread acceptance. For that reason, they think GRAIL faces significant barriers to widespread adoption in clinical settings and that further innovation is necessary.
One way companies innovate in a time when investing in technology is a corporate priority is to retain company culture to ensure employee satisfaction. It’s how companies like Dutch Bros avoided the Great Resignation in ways other companies could not.
Their first move was to differentiate themselves from other coffee shops like Starbucks and Black Rock Coffee. One significant way they were able to do this was by being the first to go after the Millennial generation as a key and core demographic across the board. Starbucks claims they wanted to reach all consumers but appeal more to the business clientele.
Through pioneering the drive-thru only model, they became the first to offer a more engaging experience for staff and customers. That boosted the company culture.
However, there is a rise in competition in the drive-thru model, and experts agree it may hinder growth for the company moving forward.
In June 2018, Microsoft acquired GitHub, an internet hosting software provider that offers distributed source code management and version control. As mentioned above, GTLB is its largest competitor.
The former director of Microsoft’s Azure Solutions – another one of the corporation’s acquisition products – spoke with analysts about the two platforms. This software expert believes that GitHub beats GTLB in features, development, and innovation.
According to the former Microsoft director, there are many enterprise use cases for which GitHub is superior to GTLB. The platform continually rolls out new features and uses AI and ML to repetitively A/B test to discover better solutions. GTLB does not take these innovative measures, according to the director.
Being a part of the Microsoft ecosystem benefits GitHub because it provides funding to the platform that doesn’t generate its own profits. That way, it can continually improve the platform and customer experience. GitHub also benefits from the use of the Microsoft Cloud.
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