Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 42, 2018

Want to keep up to date with the latest developments in finance, but you are short of time? Don't worry. CFO South Africa weekly collects 10 of the most important articles from international media for your convenience.

1. The promise and challenge of the age of artificial intelligence
AI promises considerable economic benefits, even as it disrupts the world of work. These three priorities will help achieve good outcomes.

2. What Is Continuous Intelligence?
Continuous intelligence (CI) from all your data is not another phrase to describe real time, speed or throughput. It’s about frictionless cycle time to derive continuous business value from all data. It’s a modern machine-driven approach to analytics that allows you to quickly get to all of your data and accelerate the analysis you need, no matter how off the beaten track it is, no matter how many data sources there are or how vast the volumes.

3. Jeff Bezos Sends Amazon Managers Scrambling With This Single Keystroke
I should start by saying I'm a fan of Jeff Bezos and the incredible machine that is Amazon. I've admired advice Bezos has given on how to handle criticism and the questions he asks to ensure business success. I love how bold and innovative Amazon is almost as a default way of doing business. But I've got to call it as I see it on one thing that cascades down from el jefe himself.

4. Digital strategy: The four fights you have to win
If there’s one thing a digital strategy can’t be, it’s incremental. The mismatch between most incumbents’ business models and digital futures is too great—and the environment is changing too quickly—for anything but bold, inventive strategic plans to work. Unfortunately, most strategic-planning exercises do generate incrementalism. 

5. How Speech Recognition Is Set to Disrupt
Back in 2012, only 10 percent of web pages were accessed via mobile devices. Who would have thought that less than six years later, this would be more than 50 percent and we would be consuming news and video en masse on our smartphones? The digital world is characterised by seismic shifts – great leaps in innovation that deeply impact the digital ecosystem and recalibrate user behaviour. And all the signs are that we’re approaching a new tipping point: voice control.

6. Networking for introverts: How to make a good impression, even when you feel awkward
Six years have passed since author Susan Cain spoke on “The Power of Introverts” during her now widely recognised TED talk. “Extroverts really crave large amounts of stimulation, whereas introverts feel at their most alive and their most switched-on and their most capable when they’re in quieter, more low-key environments,” said Cain in her talk. “So the key then to maximising our talents is for us all to put ourselves in the zone of stimulation that is right for us.” Cain’s speech has garnered more than 20 million views and is available in 46 languages on Ted.com.

7. How Ikea and HP want to help keep plastic out of the ocean: make stuff from it
If you buy an ink cartridge from HP, some of the plastic might have come from bottles collected on streets and canals in Port-au-Prince, Haiti–intercepted before they could end up in the ocean. Since 2017, the company has worked with local collectors to gather more than half a million pounds of plastic in the area, keeping around 12 million plastic bottles out of the Caribbean.

8. Does Your M&A Integration Playbook Need Updating?
While M&A is a key tool for growth and innovation, it is also increasingly expensive and complex. In the most recent EY Capital Confidence Barometer, a whopping 62% of U.S. executives said deals often fail to capture expected synergies. At the same time, boards of directors are requesting more detailed integration road maps as part of their transaction approval process. They want to know the source of synergies, a timeline to capture value with accountability, the funding, and how the process will minimize distractions in the core business.

9. How to manage for ethics
People's ethical character isn't set in stone. It can change for the better or the worse. In fact, it can depend on a few surprisingly simple details in their everyday environments. That's the conclusion of recent research into workplace environments, and it has significant implications for managers and leaders. This emerging field of study shows that it's possible — and even imperative — to create a business environment that encourages good behaviour.

10. 10 Easy Tricks That Will Instantly Make You a Better Conversationalist
Talking to a great conversationalist is like magic--the minutes fly by, your brain lights up, and you feel closely bonded to another human mind. No wonder so many of us want to master the seemingly mysterious ability to get past small talk and really connect. But unless you're naturally gifted with charm and wit, even holding up your end of a conversation can feel daunting. Learning not only to be interesting yourself, but also to guide a conversation and bring the best out of others has to be an tough skill that makes years to master, right?