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Innovation drives success in the long run

Are you ready to become ‘fit for the future’?

16 Jan 2024

What are ‘fit for the future’ businesses?

Over the years, Vodafone Business has been on a journey exploring what makes some businesses truly thrive.We’ve done extensive research to understand what traits make some organisations more successful than others. We’ve called these enterprises ‘fit for the future’ businesses, and what sets them apart is their positive attitude toward change and their eagerness to embrace new technologies. They keep up with emerging trends, reacting and adapting quickly and they plan carefully for the future.

In 2020, our analytical journey began by thoroughly examining resilience in the face of challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. This initial exploration smoothly led us to a detailed investigation of sustainability, followed by a thorough examination of security considerations. Today, we explore the zenith of business evolution – innovation. We conducted our ‘Fit for an Innovative Future’ research to find out what innovation means to businesses. We explore how these organisations approach innovation, how it helps them tackle evolving challenges like the future of work and how it can drive success in the long run.

If a business increases its fit for the future score by 10 points, the likelihood of outperforming its competitors financially also increases by 36%.

What is innovation and why is it important?

Innovation used to be purely about developing new products or services, but perceptions around it have shifted – businesses now have a more holistic perspective and recognise that innovation plays a pivotal role in everything they do.

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84% of FFTF businesses have a defined strategy for innovation endorsed by leadership and supported across the organisation.

That’s why it’s important to make sure every employee has the conditions to enable innovation – from the right workspace to the right tools. FFTF businesses know that a culture that nurtures innovation is not only good for their bottom line but is also something leaders and employees value. By setting these conditions, businesses can better retain and attract the best talent, helping to fuel innovation for the future.

FFTF businesses also recognise that technology is a critical enabler of innovation. But rather than looking for catch-all solutions, they seek digital services that meet specific business needs and have the right partners to deliver them.

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Key technologies that support innovation

We’ve found that FFTF businesses use both established and emerging technologies in a proactive and structured way. They identify specific needs or issues and then establish how technology can help. This ensures that innovation is targeted and allows them to invest in the right areas and access new technologies without operational risk.

These are the top-ranked technologies supporting innovation:

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How do we approach innovation?

Together, we help businesses be more innovative. We have the technology, support and vision to help enterprises build a hyperconnected world by intelligently connecting data, things and people. We embed security into every solution, with capabilities at the network, application and device level to keep your business always protected.

Accelerating business growth

Create more personalised tech and smart experiences while protecting your people and making your business more resilient

We bring together cutting-edge customer-experience technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), user-friendly messaging applications and Edge Computing so that you have seamless connections between your locations and digital interactions, bringing you closer to your customers. Integrate Artificial Intelligence into online customer engagement, enabling employees to concentrate on other important business activities. Create personalised products and services to enhance customer loyalty, advocacy and value. Get securely delivered, real-time, data-driven insights for more engaging, automated and intuitive customer experiences.

Deploying future-ready operations

Respond faster, predict with more accuracy and drive better decision-making while keeping your business, data and people secure

We combine innovative Multi-access Edge Computing, Mobile Private Networks and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions with our top-tier partners to intelligently gather, process and leverage data for improved productivity, security and sustainability. Enhance visibility across the entire supply chain, from sourcing to distribution, driving greater value and efficiencies. Develop agile operations that respond faster to evolving customer trends and move towards zero errors. Use predictive analytics with AI to proactively address issues and threats.

Embracing the transformation of work

Build a more flexible, sustainable and secure working environment (with safe access to all the resources your employees need, when and where they need them)

We elevate Unified Communications and hybrid working solutions by leveraging our expertise in both fixed and mobile connectivity. Provide employees with a secure, inclusive and flexible working environment to attract and retain top talent. Boost staff productivity with secure collaborative tools and the technology to learn new skills quickly. Infuse sustainability into working practices, empowering employees to adopt more sustainable approaches. Design agile and innovative workflows adaptable to your business needs and workforce requirements.

From environmental projects through medical collaboration platforms in racing to Irish Rugby networks – some examples of how we can help

In Europe, our customers are already benefitting from our networks that are 100% powered by electricity purchased from renewable sources. In 2023, we installed new solar photovoltaic generation at sites in the UK, Egypt and South Africa, increasing our annual on-site generation of renewables to 14 GWh annually. We’ve also helped OneSolar International, a full-service provider in the field of renewable energy and solar power solutions in Germany and around the globe. They were looking for a flexible and reliable solution to connect their ground-mounted solar systems and handle decentralised energy generation, so they used Vodafone Business Managed IoT Connectivity to join their 51 solar parks. These are only a few examples of our sustainability projects; other exciting initiatives include establishing an AI-based warning system to protect whales in South Africa, or using IoT to tackle human-wildlife conflicts, among many others.

We estimate that 52% of our 162 million IoT connections directly enabled customers to reduce their emissions in the last year, helping them avoid an estimated 24.9 million tonnes of CO2e.

When it comes to connected healthcare, we’ve worked with Extreme E, a racing series that gives drivers a chance to compete in extreme environments. Extreme E’s championships are organised in remote locations that have already been affected by climate change to raise awareness and urge immediate action worldwide. Thanks to Vodafone Business Mobile Private Networks, we made the Proximie digital healthcare platform available for Extreme E’s medical team, giving them access to real-time medical collaboration, enhanced video-based training and data analytics. The solution creates a safer environment during the races and is optimal for medical training, as the staff can record the sessions and share videos. Medics get the necessary support they need so that they can focus on the injuries.

In preparation for the 2023 World Cup, the Irish Rugby Football Union adopted Vodafone’s 5G Mobile Private Network (MPN) technology to increase the communication of performance data between the coaches and the players. The high-resolution video streams and 5G-connected drones help the coaches analyse the performance in real-time, so that they can make quicker decisions.

Vodafone’s 5G MPN stretches the boundaries of what we can do in terms of how quickly we can analyse multiple high-resolution cameras and drone footage, which ultimately informs our decision-making. Being on our own 5G network also gives us that level of security and reliability that we really need.

Vinny Hammond, IRFU Head of Analytics and Innovation

Head of Analytics and Innovation

Innovation – from theory to practice

Recently, the Vodafone Business International sales team hosted an exclusive gathering with valued customers to explore beyond the frontiers of innovation and delve into the transformative power of digitalisation. This event, held in the heart of Paris in a unique historical location, served as a platform to foster a vibrant community of innovators, where ideas were exchanged, collaborations were forged, and the spirit of innovation was ignited.

On top of sharing the main insights from the last FFTF report released, we heard from Alexandra Serizay, Chief Strategy & Services Innovation Officer at Sodexo, who shared how innovation is key to addressing increased customer expectations and driving processes towards a carbon-neutral near future. Furthermore, she expressed the importance of data analytics to enable making better decisions and how key it is for them to partner with experts such as Vodafone to help them achieve their business objectives and become pioneers in their B2B2C industry. “Our DNA is in the cuisine, but we need technological expertise to drive innovation and a digitalisation culture and focus our people on hospitality and human relationship.” 

The impact of innovation

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Find out why innovation should be at the heart of your business and the steps you can take to ensure you’re set up for success.

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