GRC: The Cornerstone Of High-Performing Finance

Joan Warner

CFOs today must think strategically. They must innovate. And they must work side-by-side with their fellow executives to keep their organization thriving in the face of new digital competition.

Yet despite this ever-expanding mandate, one responsibility remains a sacred trust for the finance function: a major stake in governance, risk, and compliance (GRC). Although the size of that stake varies by industry and company, more than two-thirds of finance executives consider optimizing risk and compliance management a top business goal, according to new research from Oxford Economic and SAP. In fact, 97% of the 1,500 finance executives we surveyed said finance has strong decision-making authority over risk monitoring and assessment at their company, and 93% said the same about ensuring compliance and enforcing policies.

It makes eminent sense that risk management should be foundational to finance. After all, what’s the point of investing resources to grow a business if at any moment an adverse event – whether internal or external – could wipe out your balance sheet or market cap? The CFOs we interviewed confirmed that when they report to the board of directors, GRC often takes center stage. “Enterprise risk management is first and foremost in their minds,” says Brian Stief, CFO of multinational Johnson Controls.

Finance leaders view risks more clearly

For this reason, a strong relationship between the finance function and GRC is a criterion for what we call “Finance Leadership” – a set of six finance practices that boost performance across the enterprise. For example, we found that finance leaders were almost twice as likely as non-leaders to report rising market share over the past year, and much less likely to struggle with cost control. It’s no coincidence that more than half of finance leaders described risk and compliance management at their organization as “very effective,” compared with only 38% of non-leaders. These companies encourage collaboration between their finance and GRC functions by ensuring that they can easily share standardized data and reporting, and that their business systems are integrated so they can communicate with each other.

Finance leaders also appear to have a clearer understanding of an increasingly widespread risk: cybercrime. As global ransomware attacks proliferate and data hacks threaten organizations of all types, cyber-risk management becomes a critical defense. Yet alarmingly, only 56% of our survey respondents named cybersecurity a top business risk facing their company in the next two years – suggesting a potential risk-management blind spot. Among finance leaders, awareness of cyber risk climbs significantly: Two-thirds cite it as a top risk to watch over the next two years.

To read the full study and learn about other ways finance leaders stay ahead of the pack, please click here.


Joan Warner

About Joan Warner

Joan Warner is managing editor and senior analyst for Financial Services at Oxford Economics. Joanie joined Oxford in February 2016 from The Financial Times, where she managed subsidiary publications covering the wealth management industry and corporate governance. Prior to that, she covered international finance and European business for BusinessWeek magazine, where she worked for nearly 20 years. Joanie was also a contributing editor at Institutional Investor and has written and edited reports for Morgan Stanley, McKinsey, PwC, and former hedge fund FrontPoint Partners. She holds an MA in Comparative Literature and a BA in Classics, both from Harvard University.

Digitalist Flash Briefing: Who Cares About Data Breaches?

Bonnie D. Graham

Today’s briefing looks at how major consumer data breaches – such as fraudulent credit card charges, compromised data, hijacked e-mail, or social media accounts, and loans or lines of credit opened through identity theft – impact consumers and the breached companies.

  • Amazon Echo or Dot: Enable the “Digitalist” flash briefing skill, and ask Alexa to “play my flash briefings” on every business day.
  • Alexa on a mobile device:
    • Download the Amazon Alexa app: Select Skills, and search “Digitalist”. Then, select Digitalist, and click on the Enable button.
    • Download the Amazon app: Click on the microphone icon and say “Play my flash briefing.”

Find and listen to previous Flash Briefings on

Read more on today’s topic



Bonnie D. Graham

About Bonnie D. Graham

Bonnie D. Graham is the creator, producer and host/moderator of 29 Game-Changers Radio series presented by SAP, bringing technology and business strategy thought leadership panel discussions to a global audience via the Business Channel on World Talk Radio. A broadcast journalist with nearly 20 years in media production and hosting, Bonnie has held marketing communications management roles in the business software, financial services, and real estate industries. She calls SAP Radio her “dream job”. Listen to Coffee Break with Game-Changers.

Driving Full Adoption Of Virtualized Desktop Environments

Daniel Newman

As more employees become mobile workers, it’s time for enterprise businesses to move to virtualized desktop environments. Here’s why.

Virtualized desktop infrastructure (VDI) was developed over ten years ago, yet its true potential is only being discovered now. I’ve written about VDI before – it just goes to show how much of a VDI fan I am. I still remember the excitement of logging on to my first remote desktop more than a decade ago. To sit at home and still have the exact same files and software I had at the office was magical!

Virtualized desktop environments have come a long way since then. Built on the same prose as VDI, these allow for desktops to be hosted at a data center or on the cloud. Considering that IDC predicts nearly three-quarters of the workforce will be online by 2020, it’s absolutely necessary for organizations to drive full adoption of VDE. Among other benefits, VDEs can store legacy systems and applications in a central location and be accessed from any device. With the exponential rise of bringing your own devices to work (BYOD), VDEs become of utmost importance. Here’s why businesses need to fully embrace VDEs in the years to come.

Increased productivity

While the “how” may not be obvious at first, a centralized virtualized environment boosts productivity in many ways. In the business world, efficiency comes in the form of time and cost savings. VDEs provide both. Employees will be able to work when they want, from a location of their choice, using the device they prefer. For employees who thrive in a more creative office environment than a cramped cubicle, this could do wonders. If an employee is stuck at an airport or delayed at an appointment, VDEs will allow them to complete work that needs to get done.

In terms of upkeep, IT productivity increases too. Having a centralized system to manage devices, applications, and security concerns is easier and more efficient than dealing with troubleshooting individual devices. Updates can be done at one go, freeing up IT staff time to focus their efforts elsewhere. In general, VDEs help overall business productivity through greater mobility across the organization.

Improved security

One of the greatest benefits of a virtualized desktop environment is that it sets the stage for better security practices across an organization. VDEs successfully keep corporate applications and data off users’ devices, giving company control of security. In the past, employees working from home might email work-related documents to their home computer. In such cases, the company would lose control over the security of the document as soon as it was opened on the home computer. With VDEs, all work takes place via a data center or cloud, where it can be monitored and protected.

Similarly, when it’s time to apply a security update, VDEs enable a more streamlined process. The IT department can simply patch one image in the data center or cloud, updating all devices promptly and reducing the risk of security breaches due to time lag.

Reduced cost

As mentioned above, VDEs can generate huge cost savings. Once virtualization is securely set up, companies can institute BYOD programs, which completely eliminate the cost of device-related overhead. As personal devices are successfully connected to enterprise data, organizations don’t need to purchase any new devices, saving significant capital expenses. Additionally, organizations can reap cost savings through a more efficient and fully centralized IT management system. Ultimately, enabling centralized management through virtual environments is bound to improve an organization’s bottom line.

In conclusion, it is integral that companies use VDEs, especially as more employees work on mobile devices. In the process of driving full adoption, organizations must avoid some key mistakes. Picking the right hardware, carefully sizing storage, and planning out networks (LAN, WAN, WLAN) can have a big impact on how smoothly the transition into a virtualized desktop environment occurs.

It’s also prudent to design and define workloads as well as size up the business environment before integrating VDEs into the workplace. After all, the transition to VDEs should be seamless and well received, so that employees actually understand the benefits and can fully embrace this technology of the future.

This article originally appeared on Future of Work.


Daniel Newman

About Daniel Newman

Daniel Newman serves as the Co-Founder and CEO of EC3, a quickly growing hosted IT and Communication service provider. Prior to this role Daniel has held several prominent leadership roles including serving as CEO of United Visual. Parent company to United Visual Systems, United Visual Productions, and United GlobalComm; a family of companies focused on Visual Communications and Audio Visual Technologies.
Daniel is also widely published and active in the Social Media Community. He is the Author of Amazon Best Selling Business Book “The Millennial CEO.” Daniel also Co-Founded the Global online Community 12 Most and was recognized by the Huffington Post as one of the 100 Business and Leadership Accounts to Follow on Twitter.
Newman is an Adjunct Professor of Management at North Central College. He attained his undergraduate degree in Marketing at Northern Illinois University and an Executive MBA from North Central College in Naperville, IL. Newman currently resides in Aurora, Illinois with his wife (Lisa) and his two daughters (Hailey 9, Avery 5).
A Chicago native all of his life, Newman is an avid golfer, a fitness fan, and a classically trained pianist

Human Skills for the Digital Future

Dan Wellers and Kai Goerlich

Technology Evolves.
So Must We.

Technology replacing human effort is as old as the first stone axe, and so is the disruption it creates.
Thanks to deep learning and other advances in AI, machine learning is catching up to the human mind faster than expected.
How do we maintain our value in a world in which AI can perform many high-value tasks?

Uniquely Human Abilities

AI is excellent at automating routine knowledge work and generating new insights from existing data — but humans know what they don’t know.

We’re driven to explore, try new and risky things, and make a difference.
We deduce the existence of information we don’t yet know about.
We imagine radical new business models, products, and opportunities.
We have creativity, imagination, humor, ethics, persistence, and critical thinking.

There’s Nothing Soft About “Soft Skills”

To stay ahead of AI in an increasingly automated world, we need to start cultivating our most human abilities on a societal level. There’s nothing soft about these skills, and we can’t afford to leave them to chance.

We must revamp how and what we teach to nurture the critical skills of passion, curiosity, imagination, creativity, critical thinking, and persistence. In the era of AI, no one will be able to thrive without these abilities, and most people will need help acquiring and improving them.

Anything artificial intelligence does has to fit into a human-centered value system that takes our unique abilities into account. While we help AI get more powerful, we need to get better at being human.

Download the executive brief Human Skills for the Digital Future.

Read the full article The Human Factor in an AI Future.


Dan Wellers

About Dan Wellers

Dan Wellers is founder and leader of Digital Futures at SAP, a strategic insights and thought leadership discipline that explores how digital technologies drive exponential change in business and society.

Kai Goerlich

About Kai Goerlich

Kai Goerlich is the Chief Futurist at SAP Innovation Center network His specialties include Competitive Intelligence, Market Intelligence, Corporate Foresight, Trends, Futuring and ideation.

Share your thoughts with Kai on Twitter @KaiGoe.heif Futu


How Manufacturers Can Kick-Start The Internet Of Things In 2018

Tanja Rueckert

Part 1 of the “Manufacturing Value from IoT” series

IoT is one of the most dynamic and exciting markets I am involved with at SAP. The possibilities are endless, and that is perhaps where the challenges start. I’ll be sharing a series of blogs based on research into knowledge and use of IoT in manufacturing.

Most manufacturing leaders think that the IoT is the next big thing, alongside analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. They see these technologies dramatically impacting their businesses and business in general over the next five years. Researchers see big things ahead as well; they forecast that IoT products and investments will total hundreds of billions – or even trillions – of dollars in coming decades.

They’re all wrong.

The IoT is THE Big Thing right now – if you know where to look.

Nearly a third (31%) of production processes and equipment and non-production processes and equipment (30%) already incorporate smart device/embedded intelligence. Similar percentages of manufacturers have a company strategy implemented or in place to apply IoT technologies to their processes (34%) or to embed IoT technologies into products (32%).

opportunities to leverage IoTSource:Catch Up with IoT Leaders,” SAP, 2017.

The best process opportunities to leverage the IoT include document management (e.g. real-time updates of process information); shipping and warehousing (e.g. tracking incoming and outgoing goods); and assembly and packaging (e.g. production monitoring). More could be done, but figuring out where and how to implement the IoT is an obstacle for many leaders. Some 44 percent of companies have trouble identifying IoT opportunities and benefits for either internal processes or IoT-enabled products.

Why so much difficulty in figuring out where to use the IoT in processes?

  • No two industries use the IoT in the same way. An energy company might leverage asset-management data to reduce costs; an e-commerce manufacturer might focus on metrics for customer fulfillment; a fabricator’s use of IoT technologies may be driven by a need to meet exacting product variances.
  • Even in the same industry, individual firms will apply and profit from the IoT in unique ways. In some plants and processes, management is intent on getting the most out of fully depreciated equipment. Unfortunately, older equipment usually lacks state-of-the-art controls and sensors. The IoT may be in place somewhere within those facilities, but it’s unlikely to touch legacy processes until new machinery arrive. 

Where could your company leverage the IoT today? Think strategically, operationally, and financially to prioritize opportunities:

  • Can senior leadership and plant management use real-time process data to improve daily decision-making and operations planning? Do they have the skills and tools (e.g., business analytics) to leverage IoT data?
  • Which troublesome processes in the plant or front office erode profits? With real-time data pushed out by the IoT, which could be improved?
  • Of the processes that could be improved, which include equipment that can – in the near-term – accommodate embedded intelligence, and then communicate with plant and enterprise networks?

Answer those questions, and you’ve got an instant list of how and where to profit from the IoT – today.

Stay tuned for more information on how IoT is developing and to learn what it takes to be a manufacturing IoT innovator. In the meantime, download the report “Catch Up with IoT Leaders.”


Tanja Rueckert

About Tanja Rueckert

Tanja Rueckert is President of the Internet of Things and Digital Supply Chain Business Unit at SAP.