finance transformation is the greatest business opportunity of today

by | Jun 25, 2019 | digital finance

Organisations seeking major change should embrace technology and truly modernise their business from its financial heart

True business transformation requires both technology and financial modernisation. Without a wholesale revision to the financial operations of an organisation, the benefits of culture change and technological improvements cannot be felt. Now, more than ever, organisations need to combine financial and technological transformation.

The stratospheric rise of the digital economy in the shape of the FAANG digital titans (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) is demonstrating to all businesses that data is one of the key assets they hold. Nowhere is the data richer than in your organisation’s financial information. Past transactional history and ongoing trading is a rich resource. A resource your organisation has the luxury of being able to mine deeply for insight. That insight has the potential to completely reshape how you operate your business. Not only can you redefine your business processes, but organisations can discover knowledge about customers that will enhance the customer relationship. And, armed with this insight, your organisation has another asset it can repurpose and sell to other business; most likely in other sectors, who will pay a premium for valuable customer information.

Unlike the FAANGs, many businesses have been slow to understand the value of the data they hold. But the development of robotic process automation (RPA) technology is a significant moment of empowerment for business leaders. RPA is one of the key technologies available to organisations seeking to transform their finance operations and in turn the entire business.

RPA automates daily processes, freeing up finance teams from the drudgery of completing functional repetition, instead finance teams are refreshed and free to seek out the story behind the data the business is accumulating. From those insights the business is able to transform itself using its own data and therefore making highly informed decisions.

The impact of RPA on the finance function is very interesting and a lot of the talk about this technology is loaded with a feeling of fear, but the narrative has to change as this is an opportunity for financial modernisation.

Finance transformation not only allows organisations to modernise their business processes; a thorough finance transformation programme will enable organisations to grow. Freed from limitations on the processing abilities of the finance team, businesses are able to merge and expand, secure in the knowledge that the technology will be able to cope with increased demand.

Technology has moved in directions that none of us foresaw. That has had positive and negative impacts on businesses. There are businesses that have had bad experiences of technology implementations, but that cannot be used as a reason to miss the opportunities.

Often the technology is blamed, but more often that not, the culture of the organisation has not altered to embrace the change that technology offers. As a result the technology fails to deliver results. The failure is not in the technology.

Organisations need to focus on the story of how they get from A to F and the journey to get there via points B, C, D and E. Looking at the journey allows organisations to move beyond something being a good idea and instead looking at all the challenges of getting to the end of the journey. In doing this, the organisation can prepare for and ward off barriers and in doing so, discover more opportunities.

A journey based focus also ensures that organisations can develop the discussion with their people. By discussing the journey your organisation’s people will be able to add insight that is very likely to improve the outcomes and you avoid creating a scenario of change being done to people, replacing it with carrying out change with people.

A journey based mindset is particularly important for organisations seeking financial transformation. The information within finance provides one of the most accurate maps an organisation can follow on its transformation. But also, technology provides finance with one of the most exciting and dramatic journeys of change that business has ever faced.

It is for this reason I have joined embracent as Chief Finance Transformation Officer; embracent has enabled organisations in advertising, construction, energy, financial services, care and housing and professional service to make the most of the opportunities technology offers for business and financial transformation. Together with peers and partners Mark Lockton-Goddard, Nick Eaves, Gary Eaves and Paul Mason our experience and expertise across all vertical markets will help organisations embrace real finance transformation.

Oliver Colling

Oliver Colling

Chief Finance Transformation Officer

After a successful corporate career, Oliver has spent more than 15 years helping CFO's realise sustainable performance improvement across the back office.

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