Stepping Up to Modernise Your Finance and Operational Teams to Compete

Iterative Moves to Drive Change or Be Changed

April 15, 2021

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Are corporates about to have change thrust upon them as their external stakeholders continue to be exposed to the benefits of the digital age or will it remain as is until the fully passing of operational control to millennials, who mostly see legacy as holding them back.

 

So far all eyes have been on the high profile digital stories that have been emerging from Fintech and Retail, but less noticeable to most are the changes taking place in the background as corporates operate skunk projects and continue to explore the immense opportunities that come from digital for both inward and outward customer facing projects. These skunks are the initial smaller test steps to evaluate how changes will look and be implemented in practice, but of course none of us have to look too far within a corporate to see the massive inefficiencies currently in play that need to be rectified, which is probably just symptomatic of real change having been simply too hard to execute and easier to ignore up to today.

 

Conversely if digital is executed between departments it challenges the current Human Resources structures with their various fiefdoms of operations. Going even one step further to consider leveraging these technologies regionally or globally with agile virtual interconnected workforces that have no rigid HR structure seems a great idea in theory, and is practical today from a tech viewpoint, but may simply be just too bigger leap for all but a few organizations at least today.

 

Holistically in reality we will mostly take much smaller progress steps, from the viewpoint of the enterprise, but individually or departmentally these might be considered in themselves to be large bold and left field moves to leverage some specific key focus points of interest. This is already true today for some outward facing processes in retail or FinTech.

 

This era is not about throw out and replace so time to step up and evaluate opportunities. For this think of existing systems being leveraged, augmented and the use of spreadsheets being mostly discontinued in their current form, but still used in an environment that maximizes a user’s experience with its look n’ feel, but which removes the issues of data integrity ie cell errors; conversely and increasingly users may demand no spreadsheets. Then think of the reports that you do not have which would help you drive value, but think of these outputs as actionable contextual alerts @anywhere in the process provided with back up information ie the system works for you and not vice versa.

 

Think of any corporate financial management or operational process as being designed on an optimized management accounting system platform from data collection that might include robotic process automation (RPA), through all flows, to reporting @anywhere @anytime, with options for continual monitoring and business simulations.

 

Gone are isolated systems with the way forward being in fact contextual actionable alerts accompanied with relevant supporting documentation across any sub system like HR and Financials to release greater insights. This includes actual and budget data and processes are simply more inclusive across a broader range of stakeholders to empower them to be creative and productive. For the foreseeable future legacy and new breed systems will have to coexist with final deployment models themselves offering a mixture of offline, online, centralized and decentralized processing.

 

Consolidations and Budget preparation are good examples of where new technologies are currently providing a step change to corporates. They both illustrate very painful processes today that need to be undertaken and executed at an ultra-granular transformational level and more frequently. This requires modern practical high compute power to make it happen, driving actionable contextual workflows @anywhere with strong segregation of duties. In other words the system is working for you and not vice versa with the power to trace back easily to source journal entries x-subsystem.

 

So as a high level message you can start to leverage your existing ERP system through new agile process technologies that become the glue between them to bring required information together to create value, all with the required degrees of control needed on to one page. This adds deeper insights for your stakeholders by enriching them with key information from sub systems that is both repeatable and auditable, for further financial planning and analysis (FP&A). At the same time it modernizes your existing systems where it matters, recognizing that you can deploy via the cloud or on premise to suit specific needs.

 

Worthy of note and simply put if you can automate the transformational processes associated with complex consolidation and FP&A budgeting to release time for management review, then anything can be tackled. Often friction exists within a process as data needs to be transformed, but this is repetitive and time consuming work undertaken by expensive staff members who can be better utilised within the entity, noting that before now this capability was simply too hard to automate due to the lack of practical compute power and software to drive compliant ultra-granular transformations x-application.

 

Risks are now lower for these skunk deployment projects as they tend to be smaller in size and cheaper to execute. They can be leveraged through cloud, hybrid or on premise deployments when you are ready for both outward customer and related back office processes thereby providing you with the glue between systems to extract deep value. However change management will move to new levels of complexity as traditional HR structures start to inhibit change in ways not foreseen.

 

Efficiency gains waiting to be unleashed are vast, but there will be both winners and losers at a corporate level in this process. Winners at anecdotal level will figure out how to empower domain end users to make controlled, iterative, but innovative change to leverage existing data assets, whilst losers who make no changes will gradually see their competitiveness reduce. After all end users will not opt to pay relatively more for a product that has a heavier administration cost component included compared with other cheaper solution offerings that have leaner behind the scenes processes. Whilst this has always been true it seems that differences will become more noticeable this time around in the future, as time savings are very tangible. In fact so tangible that stakeholders will be asking a lot more detailed questions as to why some issues have not been tackled before. A game changer!

 

FlexSystem is a business software vendor to 1 in 10 Forbes Global 2000 (May 2020) and 1 in 5 Global Fortune 500 (August 2020), operating at the intersection of new process and payment technologies to provide you with iterative opportunities for value creation with or without AI at both gross and net margin levels.

 

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