March 18, 2019
What does digital transformation mean to the modern CFO? With user-friendly visibility available thanks to today’s cloud-based business systems, the finance function is evolving and CFOs will need to create a road map for digital transformation. It’s a journey that is fast becoming a reality with more actionable information–in real-time and on-demand–than ever before.
What’s Unique About Today’s CFO?
CFOs have typically focused on streamlining financial processes with operations–that’s just the start of where the modern CFO should be today. Finance leaders who are focused on becoming a truly intelligent enterprise must extend digital transformation from tried-and-true back-office operations through the customer experience. There’s a true mandate for CFOs to take the lead. CEOs and boards are clear with their message: They want CFOs and the finance function to provide real-time, data-enabled decisions support.
According to Deloitte, apps, automation, and digital disruption have “everything” to do with the future of finance. “The needs of the business are growing. The pace of innovation is accelerating. CFOs can either plan for change, or plan to retire,” according to its Predictions report.
There’s been a massive shift from more traditional methods toward innovative technology. Just two years ago, 78% of CFOs considered proficiency in Excel as the most important skill for their teams, but only 5% feel the same today: A mere 7% of CFOs list Excel as important for new hires. Instead, they’re rating the ability to be adaptable to new technologies as the top skill for up-and-comers. The results of this Adaptive Insights survey signals a massive shift for finance professionals in the future!
Technology: Cloud-based solutions to transform your company
CFOs can take advantage of powerful enterprise solutions, namely:
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software:
Traditionally, companies have relied on Excel-spreadsheets or even a legacy ERP for their company financials, operational metrics, and even customer data. Many ERP software deployments start off with, or are based on, online accounting and financial management tools, ultimately expanding to include manufacturing, ecommerce, and customer management functionality–this brings more relevant and actionable customer data into the limelight. Integration with other cloud apps used by the enterprise, including key data points, are collected stored, and made accessible to users in real-time from a single dashboard.
Find out more about ERPs in How a Cloud Based ERP System Helps Enhance Your Customers Experience.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software:
Modern CRMs stand a shoulder above legacy sites–which stored customer information that helped sales and marketing teams track opportunities and interactions–connecting the dots between an organization’s business systems, including the ERP system. The visibility a CRM can provide the CFO is invaluable–it is possible for leadership to be closer to the customer and sales process even while out of office.
Being able to independently manage customer relationships makes it easier for advanced leadership and the teams they manage to stay on top of customer needs. Finance leadership that identifies with customer pain points can better develop simple solutions/fixes that benefit the business model as a whole.
Explore this topic further in Why Technology is the Secret to Bridging the Marketing and Sales Gap.
Business Intelligence (BI) solutions:
BI dashboarding tools are changing workflows for top decision-makers. Offering a one-stop-shop for reporting and data visualizations that bring marketing, sales, and other organizational metrics to life, these solutions help users make the most of the data that’s being collected via the ERP, CRM, and other business systems. CFOs no longer are reliant on guesswork and are able to find answers to critical questions in no time.
Take A Look Inside the Evolution of the Self-Service BI Trend for more on what workflows were like before the availability of C-level-friendly cloud-based tools–and what they’re like today.
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