We must shift our focus away from the manual day-to-day, and free up our time to do things differently. We need to learn to use the vast amount of data available and BI (business intelligence) tools. We need to use the tools to get a different understanding of the company, processes and identify trends sooner.
A good example happened at COMPAREX recently. We tried to estimate when customers were paying us. There’s always some difference between contractual terms and actual payment. We used big data and analysis and were able to gain more accurate estimates. So, we can then improve cash flow. This is a new way of working in finance. It’s a new whay of working with these assets — data, customers and business information — that was not available when using binders and paper. And to bring actionable information to the leadership team.
And we can see patterns. If I run numbers on a sheet of paper it’s almost worthless, but electronically I can combine numbers to find valuable insights.
The movement towards digital transformation often starts in finance. Outside requests from partners and customers come and the financial team brings that request to IT to support it. So, the driver is often finance, and that’s happening worldwide.
What is interesting is that it’s often not the companies that you’d expect that have gone completely digital. If digital transformation is not being driven by finance, then they are always a big part in recommending it.