Sony Expects 15% 2014-15 UAE Revenue Growth, Opens Boutique in Dubai Mall
Global technology giant Sony is targeting a significant growth in its Middle East revenues as it nears the end of the 2014/15 financial year.
The Tokyo-based conglomerate turned over more than seven trillion yen over the course of January-December 2014, which equates to around $75 billion.
In the Middle East, the company is hoping to see a year-on-year increase of 15 percent when it comes to evaluate financial year (April 2014 - March 2015) performance.
Satoru Arai, head of Sony Middle East Marketing Company, said that falls in oil prices, Russian rouble difficulties and depreciating exchange rates have impacted the trading business.
However, Sony cameras and audio items are seeing sales grow at a stronger rate than TVs, while the accessories arm of the business is expected to contribute more than a tenth of overall income.
Sony is more optimistic on its forecast because of successful cutting of costs and a successful launch of PlayStations and related equipment/gadgets. Q3 results showed a sales increase of six percent to 2.56 trillion yen.
The Sony Boutique at Dubai Mall is also now open. Aiming to provide shoppers - both avid technology enthusiasts and Sony fans - with an immersive experience of Sony products, the 550 square meter boutique features a retail design theme that complements Sony's global philosophy of 'inspiring and fulfilling the curiosity of people around the world and moving them emotionally'.
Speaking at the inauguration, Satoru Arai, Head, Sony Middle East Marketing Company, said: "The retail environment has increasingly become more relevant with customers looking to touch, feel and experience products before making their buying decisions. Such experiential retail marketing demands that store environments are built not just to sell products, but also to recreate experiences giving customers the opportunity to connect with the brand and product.
"Our new Sony Boutique showcases every detail of our latest products and technologies, while allowing consumers to instantly step into our world of entertainment content such as movies, music, games. We are convinced this boutique will hold high appeal not just to tech aficionados with their exacting standards but also to Sony fans and lay consumers who will find technology demystified at this boutique."
Arai added: "Strategically, for us at Sony, the Dubai Mall location has always delivered on its expectations. The outlet alone is set to deliver about 40% incremental sales - making it the single most important retail showcase for us in the Middle East and Africa region."
The new concept boutique features a wide-open storefront to provide an unobstructed view into the world of Sony. From Sony music artists playing on high resolution audio devices to movies from Sony Pictures playing on the immersive 4K TVs, the full breadth of Sony's product range can be enjoyed at one location. Customer expectations are further met with Sony's specialists providing an insight into the technical capabilities of the products and their unique differentiators.
The Sony Boutique has five distinct product zones for gaming, mobility, digital imaging, as well as home entertainment and high resolution audio.
Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work
Two-thirds of global office workers feel they are constantly doing the same tasks over and over again. That’s according to a new study (2021 Office Worker Survey) from automation software company UiPath.
Whether emailing, inputting data, or scheduling calls and meetings, the majority of those surveyed said they waste on average four and a half hours a week on time-consuming tasks that they think could be automated.
Not only is the undertaking of such repetitious and mundane tasks a waste of time for employees, and therefore for businesses, but it can also have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and productivity. And the research backs this up with more than half (58%) of those surveyed saying that undertaking such repetitive tasks doesn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be.
“When repetitive, unrewarding tasks are handled by people, it takes time and this can cause delays and reduce both employee and customer satisfaction,” Gavin Mee, Managing Director of UiPath Northern Europe tells Business Chief. “Repetitive tasks can also be tedious, which often leads to stress and an increased likelihood to leave a job.”
And these tasks exist at all levels within an organisation, right up to executive level, where there are “small daily tasks that can be automated, such as scheduling, logging onto systems and creating reports”, adds Mee.
Automation can free employees to focus on higher value work
By automating some or all of these repetitive tasks, employees at whatever level of the organisation are freed up to focus on meaningful work that is creative, collaborative and strategic, something that will not only help them feel more engaged, but also benefit the organisation.
“Automation can free people to do more engaging, rewarding and higher value work,” says Mee, highlighting that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive and 60% of executives agree that automation will enable people to focus on more strategic work. “Importantly, 57% of executives also say that automation increases employee engagement, all important factors to achieving business objectives.”
These aren’t the only benefits, however. One of the problems with employees doing some of these repetitive tasks manually is that “people are fallible and make mistakes”, says Mee, whereas automation boosts accuracy and reduces manual errors by 57%, according to Forrester Research. Compliance is also improved, according to 92% of global organisations.
Repetitive tasks that can be automated
Any repetitive process can be automated, Mee explains, from paying invoices to dealing with enquiries, or authorising documents and managing insurance claims. “The process will vary from business to business, but office workers have identified and created software robots to assist with thousands of common tasks they want automated.”
These include inputting data or creating data sets, a time-consuming task that 59% of those surveyed globally said was the task they would most like to automate, with scheduling of calls and meetings (57%) and sending template or reminder emails (60%) also top of the automation list. Far fewer believed, however, that tasks such as liaising with their team or customers could be automated, illustrating the higher value of such tasks.
“By employing software robots to undertake such tasks, they can be handled much more quickly,” adds Mee pointing to OTP Bank Romania, which during the pandemic used an automation to process requests to postpone bank loan instalments. “This reduced the processing time of a single request from 10 minutes to 20 seconds, allowing the bank to cope with a 125% increase in the number of calls received by call centre agents.”
Mee says: “Automation accelerates digital transformation, according to 63% of global executives. It also drives major cost savings and improves business metrics, and because software robots can ramp-up quickly to meet spikes in demand, it improves resilience.
Five business areas that can be automated
Mee outlines five business areas where automation can really make a difference.
- Contact centres Whether a customer seeks help online, in-store or with an agent, the entire customer service journey can be automated – from initial interaction to reaching a satisfying outcome
- Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
- Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
- IT IT teams are often swamped in daily activity like on-boarding or off-boarding employees. Deploying virtual machines, provisioning, configuring, and maintaining infrastructure. These tasks are ideal for automation
- Legal There are many important administrative tasks undertaken by legal teams that can be automated. Often, legal professionals are creating their own robots to help them manage this work. In legal and compliance processes, that means attorneys and paralegals can respond more quickly to increasing demands from clients and internal stakeholders. Robots don’t store data, and the data they use is encrypted in transit and at rest, which improves risk profiling and compliance.
“To embark on an automation journey, organisations need to create a Centre of Excellence in which technical expertise is fostered,” explains Mee. “This group of experts can begin automating processes quickly to show return on investment and gain buy-in. This effort leads to greater interest from within the organisation, which often kick-starts a strategic focus on embedding automation.”