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Analysis

Economic Perspectives of Artificial Intelligence: Sales and Advantages

Experts have suggested that the next few decades will herald the fourth industrial revolution. The fourth industrial revolution will be powered by digitalization, information and communications technology, machine learning, robotics, and artificial intelligence. More decision-making will occur from machines rather than humans. The ensuing societal changes will have a profound impact on both personal selling and sales management research and practices. 

In this article, we will focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) and their impact on personal selling and sales management.

Focus on Artificial Intelligence – Sales and Advantages 

In the Artificial Intelligence Economy we can note an increasing interest in the rapid rise of the sharing economy, from both academicians and practitioners. 

Recent research has focused primarily on the relationship between sharing economy firms (service enablers) and customers (thanks to A.I.). Moreover, service enablers have primarily collocated their resources to acquire a critical mass of customers. This demonstrates a balanced two-sided customer relationship approach toward the dynamics of this triadic business model (service enabler – service provider – customer). To maintain this emerging economy’s fast-growth pace, service enablers should strive to acquire, retain, and win back profitable service providers and customers simultaneously.

I propose a conceptual strategic framework for the development of service providers and customers considering multigenerational aspects based on inferences from the literature, popular press, and interviews with members of the triad in the sharing economy. Based on this investigation, the sharing economy services are mostly adopted by Generation Y, whereas other generations are still in the early phase of adoption. Additionally, customer and service provider churn is high. I argue that this double-sided customer relationship framework will help firms take appropriate measures to keep all the actors involved in the process satisfied, loyal, and profitable in the long run.

Graphical Abstract

The nature of professional selling has been transformed profoundly over the last few decades resulting in a fundamental redefinition of the role of the sales force. 

Despite this evolution, there has been a recognition of the relevance of ‘traditional’ sales approaches, resulting in increasing polarization between transactional and strategic or consultative selling. 

Drawing on interview data with senior sales leaders, sales consultants and prominent sales academics, I show three key drivers for change and identify a set of core transformations sales forces are undergoing: The composition of the offer that suppliers bring to customers, the nature of the relationships between suppliers and customers, and the configuration of sales organisations and the role of sales people. 

The paper reveals the need to reconcile disparate approaches to managing sales forces if sales professionals are to become genuine enablers of customer development.

 It outlines the tensions that underpin the management of both transactional and strategic selling, suggesting the adoption of ambidexterity and paradoxical leadership in the management of modern sales organizations.

Source:

science.direct.com

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Analysis

Economic Sustainability

What is economic sustainability?

Economic sustainability is a way of thinking. It includes putting in place practices that support long-term economic growth without having negative impacts on social, environmental, and cultural aspects. We can relate this to the “recycling resources” plan whose target is to recycle and then reproduce all the materials that have been used by people, using the notion of a Circular Economy – a system that makes all products anew, ‘x’ times as functional and effective.

Economic sustainability does not simply refer to gross national product, exchange rates, inflation, and profit, but it relates to the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services (Mohamed and Antia, 1998). However, the movement and transfer of goods and services have a noteworthy effect on environmental ecosystems because those ecosystems are the source of unmanufactured or unused materials and the stockrooms for rejected goods.

Organizations and sustainable development (SusDev)

Short financial gains have been the motivation behind much of the un-SusDev that has happened. Organizations will adopt SusDev concepts if it is demonstrated that sustainable solutions are not costly. To evaluate SusDev, we must consider the economic losses due to the reduction and degradation of the environmental ecosystem used and develop a plan to mitigate both short-term and long-term environmental impacts. Traditional decision-making analyses account for only the costs and benefits of resource exploitation and do not consider the inherent cost of the environmental degradation of air, water, or soil, nor do they consider the cost of discarding an item after the end of its useful life, which includes that of the remediation a society has to incur, which limits its financial resources (United Nations et al., 2003). Once a shift has occurred in economic cost-benefit analyses that would account for environmental costs, SusDev would be recognized to be of more economical benefits than current solutions and designs (Paleologos, 2008).

SusDev and the protection of the environment

In view of Principle 4 of the Rio Declaration and Development, environmental protection is an essential part of the SusDev process. This is unlike out-of-date models that first emphasize the financial aspects of the project and then develop remedial measures to the resultant environmental problems. Such a process is shown in Fig. 1.2 (Mohamed and Antia, 1998), in which “(1) the ambient physical environment, ecosystem, and natural resources represent the natural system (NatSys), and (2) the features of production of goods and services represent the economic system (EcoSys).” As a result, the typical use of the NatSys by the EcoSys would lead to a substantial reduction in natural resources and an upsurge in environmental problems and associated costs, such as air pollution, surface water, and groundwater pollution, marine and ecosystems pollution, the generation of solid and liquid waste, and above all, greenhouse gas and global warming. The resultant impacts on the NatSys would vary as a result of the geographical location; the existing environmental status involves the natural environment and the current economy.

Figure 1.2. Interface between main driving systems and resultant environment impacts.

From Mohamed, A.M.O., Paleologos, E.K., 2018. Foundations of Geo-Environmental Engineering – Basic Soil Properties of Relevance to Different Remedial Techniques, Elsevier, New York, NY, ISBN: 978-0-12-804830-6, pp. 688; Mohamed, A.M.O., Antia, H.E., 1998. Geoenvironmental Engineering. Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 707.

Re-defining Economics Sustainability (EcoSus)

In addition, as noted by Goodland and Daly (1995), EcoSus involves the consumption of interest rather than capital and is defined as the amount one consumes during a period and still be as well off at the end of the period. Notably, the preceding description focused only on man-made capital; however, it could be extended to include the natural capital. Therefore, by integrating the economy with the environment, the EcoSus could be redefined (Mohamed and Antia, 1998) as the maintenance of capital in general, both man-made and natural. The word “environment” currently means integration of the environmental system with the economic system in which current economic principles apply. Researchers are adopting environmental values that are external to the classic economic system and developing innovative methods to account for monetary values on intangible non-market (and non-marketable) components of the environment.

Sources

  1. Sustainable pollution assessment practices (last accessed on 2nd of July 2021)
  2. Pollution Assessment for Sustainable Practices in Applied Sciences and Engineering by Abdel-Mohsen O. Mohamed, Evan K. Paleologos, 2021. accessed through Science Direct

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Analysis

The economic situation of Africa in 2020-21

Africa’s growth performance and outlook to the COVID-19 pandemic situation

Economic activity in Africa was constrained in 2020 by an unprecedented global pandemic due to COVID–19. Real GDP in Africa grew by 3.4 percent in 2021, after contracting by 2.1 percent in 2020. This projected recovery from the worst recession in more than half a century will be underpinned by a resumption of tourism, a rebound in commodity prices, and the rollback of pandemic-induced restrictions. Nevertheless, the outlook is subject to great uncertainty from both external and domestic risks.

Debt dynamics and consequences

The COVID–19 pandemic has caused a surge in government financing needs in Africa. Since the COVID–19 pandemic began in early 2020, governments have announced fiscal stimulus packages ranging in cost from about 0.02 percent of the GDP in South Sudan to about 10.4 percent of the GDP in South Africa. These fiscal stimulus packages have had immediate and direct implications for budgetary balances, borrowing needs, and debt levels. However, the World Bank estimates that African governments need additional gross financing of about 154 billion dollars in 2020/21 to respond to the crisis. 

Debt resolution and the nexus between governance and growth

Debt resolution in Africa has often been disorderly protracted, with bad economic consequences. The economic consequences of sovereign debt restructuring are less severe in countries that act pre-emptively and collaboratively and in those countries where economic governance is stronger. However,  recent debt resolution in Africa has been delayed by long-lasting litigation with private and official creditors. The absence of orderly and successful sovereign debt resolution, especially with private creditors, makes the prospects of debt distress worrisome for African economies.

Adapting to climate change and building climate resilience

By 2021 The Next Generation ACBP has set out a blueprint to help Sub-Saharan African economies achieve low carbon and climate-resilient outcomes. The World Bank has used this new Climate Plan to build on a strong track record under the original plan in which the Bank supported 346 projects with more than $33 billion. In East Africa, the World Bank is also helping affected communities and households cope with the worst locust plague in decades. 

Accelerating the high-tech and digital economy

The World Bank is supporting Africa’s vision to achieve universal and affordable access to information and communications technology. In Malawi, the Digital Foundations Project complements government efforts on digital transformation by supporting improvements to the legal framework and building human capacity, promoting high-quality internet access for all, and building the government’s ability to deliver services to citizens and conduct business digitally. Across the continent, the Bank has led Digital Economy Country Diagnostics (DE4A) in over 20 countries (completed and FY20 in progress) to assess the current state of the digital economy, with 15 more countries requesting diagnostics in FY20. The World Bank also has 15 active and 29 pipeline investment operations in Africa that contribute to the operationalization of the DE4A initiative that includes a broadband infrastructure component totaling over $5.5 billion in investment.

Harnessing technological developments are key to improve access to clean and reliable energy. The Bank is supporting operations in Africa to increase access through grid extension and expansion of transmission networks, innovative off-grid electrification solutions, expansions of renewable generation capacity, development of regional power pools, and improvement of service efficiency. Across Africa, many World Bank-financed projects, such as the Azito Power Project in Cote d’Ivoire, are crowding in private capital and reducing public debt as well as lowering the overall costs of service for electricity. Furthermore, the World Bank is also supporting the development of new technologies such as solar storage solutions, smart meters, mobile utility payments, satellite mapping, and imaging, high-voltage DC transmission, and solar home systems and mini-grids.

Supporting inclusive governance and transforming economies

It is important to enable efficient and inclusive delivery of services, such as judicial courts, waste management, and safety nets, and to build institutions and systems which are resilient to economic, social, and environmental pressures. These pressures can pose challenges to the World Bank’s work on governance and inclusion in Africa. By creating sound conditions for investment and establishing continuity of state services, businesses can thrive and citizens can access much-needed services, thereby achieving greater stability. Technology has also affected how governments operate and interact with citizens, increasing transparency and service delivery. The region continues to work to connect every African individual, business, and government to the Internet by 2030.

In March 2020, Somalia began receiving debt relief under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, which will help Somalia reduce its initial debt of $5.2 billion (end of 2018) to $557 million once it reaches the HIPC Completion Point. The Bank played a major role in helping Somalia reduce its debts by providing $140 million in Pre-Arrears Clearance Grants in FY19 and $375 million in development policy financing to strengthen state capacity, financial management, transparency, and promote inclusive private sector-led growth. Additionally, the World Bank has also provided nearly $400 million in financing since March to help tackle the urgent crises facing Somalia while planning for long-term reforms and development goals.

  

Sources

  1. https://www.worldbank.org/en/programs/africa-climate-business-plan
  2. https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/the-world-bank-group-and-the-desert-locust-outbreak
  3. https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2020/07/23/the-secret-to-cote-divoires-electric-success
  4. https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2020/10/01/reengaging-with-somalia-for-long-lasting-development-outcomes
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Analysis

The Economic Situation of Italy

Italy’s economic context

In 2020 Italy’s economy was severely affected by the COVID-19 global crisis, in relation to the fact for which this country was the first in Europe to be influenced by the pandemic consequences.

IMF and GDP growths and losses in WEO’s view

The IMF (International Monetary Fund) estimated a GDP (gross domestic product) loss of 10.5% in 2020 after an output contracted by 18% in the first half of the year.

In fact, the rebound of construction and industrial contributions could not offset the loss of other sectors (especially services and tourism, which accounts for 13% of GDP alone), despite government support. In 2021, a substantial carryover effect should have underpined a GDP rebound of 5.2%, followed by further growth of 2.6% in 2022 (IMF’s October 2020 forecast), though the situation is still uncertain under the nowadays time of the pandemic and the tightening of containment measures in the last quarter of 2020.
In its most recent January 2021 update of the World Economic Outlook, the IMF has revised its GDP growth projections for Italy to 3% in 2021 and 3.6% in 2022 (representing a difference from October 2020 WEO( world economic outlook) projections of -2.2% and +1%, respectively).

Government revenues should benefit from the rebound in economic activity in 2021, so that the deficit is expected to decline to 3.4%. The historically-high debt-to-GDP ratio spiked to a worrying 161.8% in 2020, though it is set to slowly decline to about 156.6% in 2022, thanks to nominal GDP growth and more favourable interest expenditure.
Inflation stagnated in 2020 (0.1%) due to downward pressure from oil prices and private consumption, and should remain subdued in 2021 and 2022 (0.6% and 0.9%, respectively – IMF).
 
Main Indicators 2020 (e) 2021 (e) 2022 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 1.00 2.00 2.00
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -10.6 3.0 3.6
GDP per Capita (USD) 30 35 36
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -3.8 -3.4 -2.9
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 161.8 158.3 156.6
Inflation Rate (%) 0.1 0.6 0.9
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force) 11.0 11.8 10.8
Current Account (billions USD) 59.64 63.21 68.59
Current Account (in % of GDP) 3.2 3.0 3.1
•Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook •Database: October 2020
•Note 1: (e) Estimated Data
•Note 2: The GDP growth projections for 2021 and 2022 (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) were updated by the IMF in January 2021

Agriculture and economics by 2020

Italy is one of the main agricultural players in the EU, being the biggest European producer of rice, fruits, vegetables and wine.

The agricultural sector represents 1.9% of Italian GDP and is reliant on the import of raw materials utilised in agricultural production due to the country’s limited natural resources (Italian imports of raw materials are responsible for more than 80% of the country’s energy). The country has 12.6 million grounds of agricultural land and its main crops include cereals (particularly wheat), corn, barley, rice and oats. Italy is also the first world producer of wine. In order to respond to the COVID-19-related crisis, the Italian government set up specific schemes for the agro-food sector allocating more than € 1.1 billion.
Nevertheless, in the second quarter of 2020 the primary sector recorded a 12.8% decrease compared to the previous quarter (Italian Council for Agricultural Research and Analysis of Agricultural Economics).

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Analysis

The Economic Consequences of Brexit

The UK exit (Brexit) from Europe can be considered a major negative shock to the UK economy with the economic fallout in the rest of OECD (organization for economic Co-operation and Development). Brexit is akin to a tax on GDP, imposing a rising cost on the economy which would not be incurred if the UK remained in the EU. The shock can be transmitted through several sectors that would change in relation to the time’s horizon. In the near term, the UK economy is hit by tighter financial conditions and weaker confidence; after a formal exit from the European Union, there will be higher trade barriers and the mobility of labor forces will be restricted. By 2020, GDP is over 3% smaller than otherwise (with continued EU membership), equivalent to a cost per household of GBP 2200. So, structural impacts can take hold through the channels of capital, immigration, and lower technical progress. In particular, there is the possibility that labor productivity will decrease because of a drop in foreign direct investment and a smaller base of skills. The extent of foregone GDP is increasing over time. By 2030, in a central scenario, GDP would be over 5% lower than otherwise – with the cost of Brexit equivalent to GBP 3200 for households. The effects would be larger in a more pessimistic scenario but remain negative even in the optimistic scenario. Brexit would also hold back GDP in other European economies, particularly in the near term resulting from heightened uncertainty about the future of Europe. In contrast, continued UK membership in the European Union and further reforms of the Single Market would enhance living standards on both sides of the Channel. This way the UK would: 

  1. Continue to have preferential access to thor-country markets, which will be lost as a result of Brexit. Negotiating new trade treaties with countries will take time.
  2. Most likely have a stronger economy. Due to Brexit, the economic incentives for people to migrate to the UK will gradually decrease.
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Analysis

Investments and revenues from different companies in 2020 (a summary)

Tesla this year sold shares worth a total of 5billion US dollars. DoorDash, a food delivery company, raise 3.4billion US dollars in an IPO, meanwhile in Hong Kong a digital medicine star by the name of JD health had an increase of 50% in their trading after their 3.5 billion US dollar IPO. Airbnb has had an evaluation of 40 billion US$. Worldwide, 800billion dollars of equity have been raised by non-financial firms.

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Our Experiences

Applying to University: Our Tips

One of our team members, Alessandro, applied to universities this past month. Here are his top 6 tips on how to manage the process:

  1. Look at all the presentations offered by universities and look through their website thoroughly
  2. Study hard and practice a lot for entrance exams if you have to take them. Practice makes perfect!
  3. Be open-minded and do not exclude just exclude something from your application if you do not think it is important because you never know if this characteristic of yours will be the one that will differentiate you from the other applicants!
  4. Make sure to do what you like and enjoy, but at the same time make sure that you study something that you know you will enjoy for many years to come!
  5. Do not be scared and always remain curious and open to new possibilities!
  6. Ask professors and recruitment officers questions during meetings / interviews! Don’t be shy!

What do you think? To those of you who already applied to university, what is one thing you like to change about your application process in hindsight?