Templosion, Technology, And The Future Of Finance

Estelle Lagorce

Part 2 of 3. Read Part 1.

What is templosion? How is it affecting finance? What role will artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and smart machines play in the future, and what impact will they have on the workforce?

In the second of three episodes on Coffee Break with Game Changers Radio, panelists from Deloitte, LLP; Simplefi; and SAP continued their discussion about how technology is transforming finance. The radio program is presented by SAP and hosted by Bonnie D. Graham (Follow on Twitter: @SAPRadio #SAPRadio). (Listen to the episode.)

The exponential pace of technological innovation is leading to a world of templosion (a term coined by futurist Edie Weiner, author of FutureThink), where very big things happen in increasingly compressed amounts of time. What does it mean for finance?

According to Sam Parikh, managing director, SAP Practice at Deloitte, it means continuous change. “We cannot be complacent after we have done one project, one initiative, or one step towards transformation. It’s a continuous journey, and leaders have to visualize what is coming up next.”

For Karuna Mukherjea, senior director of Product Marketing, Enterprise Performance Management at SAP, templosion means thinking out of the box. “It’s really about identifying the way-out trends and taking the risk and going ahead with them to transform and completely change the landscape.”

Jon Essig, senior EPM Solution director at Simplefi, added, “For those of us out there thinking ‘With all the changes out there, am I going to have a job in five years in my profession?’ ‘Are my skills going to be relevant in two to five years?’ I think templosion can be a little bit of a scary topic. But the core of templosion is that fast change. As individuals, we need to be ever more adaptable. The way that we do that is by focusing on our core values, on our mission, and on our vision. There is a lot of opportunity out there in the market right now, and people that are able to do that are going to be in a much better position to capitalize on it.”

For the panelists, the acceleration of change in finance is being driven by what some might consider unlikely technologies.

Artificial intelligence was at the top of Sam Parikh’s list. “Think about a simple process like business planning and forecasting. You can deploy cognitive technologies and have the computer value a variety of factors – market trends, consumer preferences, historical transactions, and so on – and provide you with a suggestion for what the plans should look like. I think this advancement has the biggest possibility of impacting the world of finance.”

Karuna agreed. “If you think about it, a lot of work is based on a set of rules that have defined parameters. That is what will be transformed with artificial intelligence. It will do away with a person trying to manually identify patterns in mounds and mounds of data.”

Jon singled out a different technology. “There’s a lot of cool technology out there, and the rate of adoption is speeding up. There are a couple of interesting areas. One is virtual reality or augmented reality, which I think could have a big impact on operational efficiencies.”

The entrance of millennials to the company roster and the introduction of new, advanced technologies are reshaping the workforce, as Sam explained. “A lot of tasks are being automated, a lot of new technology is coming in, and there are a lot of people who just want to come in, provide expertise, and move on. This essentially makes the idea of having a large, full-time workforce obsolete.”

However, while millennials may feel more comfortable with the new technologies being used in finance, there is no substitute for experience, according to Jon. “We have to focus on people that have the subject matter expertise, that have the process knowledge yet are adaptable, and we have to invest in them.”

In the “crystal ball predictions” round of the program, Karuna and Sam came back to the subjects of artificial intelligence and virtual reality, predicting that these innovations will have a huge impact on finance.

“Virtual reality and data visualization are where the real gems are,” said Karuna. “It’s going to give CFOs and the finance people the ability to simultaneously consume data in a way that isn’t possible today.”

Sam agreed. “The finance department will be geared up to provide the analytic insights into the business world and help shape the company’s strategy in the future, using all the tools and technologies that are becoming available to it, including virtual reality and artificial intelligence.”

Jon predicted, “Large-enterprise companies are a little slower to adopt, but I think the adoption of predictive technologies, cloud, financial planning, combining all that together, is going to be high in the next five years.”

Estelle Lagorce

About Estelle Lagorce

Estelle Lagorce is the Director, Global Partner Marketing, at SAP. She leads the global planning, successful implementation and business impact of integrated marketing programs with top global Strategic Partner across priority regions and countries (demand generation, thought leadership).