Ask any successful investor for advice and you’ll likely hear the following: stocks in women-led companies tend to be safer investments. Several studies suggest these companies deliver higher revenue than those led by men. This is particularly true for the technology sector, where women-led companies are achieving a 35 percent higher ROI, and when venture-backed, 12 percent higher revenue.
Among the many reasons for this is the diversity of management teams, which promotes an open forum where new and innovative ideas are shared. This can help a company break away from tradition and consider strategies and technologies that can give them a competitive edge. Let’s take a look at a few examples of women-led companies employing emerging technologies to gain a foothold in 2020.
1. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Chair, President, & CEO
After shifting the focus of IBM’s business to cognitive computing, CEO Ginni Rometty has made major investments in blockchain, quantum computing, and automation. The shift marks the most significant change in the company’s history, and Rometty has done an excellent job at positioning IBM as a leader in each category.
One evolving technology that will likely experience a surge in popularity in 2020 is its Robotic Process Automation solution. Together with Automation Anywhere, the two have deployed a new RPA service that allows companies access to a digital workforce that can replicate actions typically performed by human users. This technology can help a company achieve greater workflow, data capture, content, and decision-making efficiency, making them more competitive in any industry.
2. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
Safra A. Catz
Oracle’s Safra A. Catz is a woman of many talents. Take one look at her exemplary resume — which includes her current positions as CEO of Oracle and Director of The Walt Disney Company — and you’re bound to see why. Under Catz’s guidance, Oracle is expanding its ERP Cloud capabilities to feature tools that provide businesses with advancements in productivity through artificial intelligence, digital assistants, natural language processing and the Internet of Things (IoT).
In simple terms, ERP Cloud system compacts all essential business functions, such as finance and accounting, project management, customer relationship management, and supply chain management, into one unified system where all data is connected and accessible via the cloud. These recent advancements in ERP technology will allow businesses in 2020 to run even more efficiently, while reducing costs and improving visibility and control.
3. Human-Machine Collaboration
Chairman, President, & CEO
Ranking No. 1 on Fortune magazine’s list of “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for two years in a row is no small accolade, and Marillyn Hewson has plenty to show for it. Aside from her commendable leadership skills, Hewson’s transformative thinking has been monumental in driving her company forward. Autonomous technology has often been thought to be at odds with the interests of the human labor pool.
However, Lockheed Martin’s efforts tell a different story — one where autonomous machines support the capabilities and safety of humans. This is possible through the development of systems that can help collect and process data in real-time and maintain operation for longer periods of time. Lockheed Martin’s philosophy of human-machine collaboration is embedded into its technologies that typically make their way into military and aeronautical ideations. However, the basic premise behind human-enhanced capabilities will undoubtedly find its way to businesses operating across multiple industries in 2020.
4. Physical-Online Retail Partnerships
CEO & Director
Have you indulged in a delicious frappuccino from Starbucks lately? You can thank Michelle Gass for that. Before her time at Kohl’s, Gass helped make Frappuccino, a trademarked brand of Starbucks, what it is today and played a huge part in making the brand worth $2.6 billion. Now, as the CEO of Kohl’s, Gass lends her problem-solving approach to the world of retail.
It’s no secret that physical retailers are facing a multitude of competitive pressures from online retailers. However, Gass chose to see a potential ally in online retail giant, Amazon. The two have arranged a partnership that has granted Kohl’s the right to accept returns from Amazon customers at all of its more than 1,150 stores nationwide. Delighted by the news, investors were quick to jump on the stock. Shares rose nearly 12 percent shortly after the announcement was made. If it proves to be mutually beneficial, the move will likely see a number of other physical retailers seeking similar alliances in 2020.
This author wishes to remain anonymous.