Why Successful CFOs Are Backing A Cloud-First Strategy

Richard McLean

Part 2 of a 2-part series. Read Part 1.

Businesses in general are trying to become faster and more agile in how they run and how they connect with customers. Beyond finance, most functions in an enterprise of any size are ultimately focused on the same things – performance, profitability, and growth.

A recent study by IDC highlights this assertion for small and midsize businesses in the Asia-Pacific region. The top priorities for business leaders run the gamut of imperatives – customer acquisition, innovation, efficiency, profitability, and growth. Without exception, the biggest influencing factor when it comes to pursuing these priorities is the use of technology.

Top priorities for small and midsize businesses worldwide by country (Asia-Pacific):

  China Japan Korea Singapore
Customer acquisition 53.3 44.7 47.7 53.3
Become more innovative 51.0 13.3 28.7 29.0
Improve efficiency/productivity 45.7 28.7 37.3 40.3
Reduce costs/expenses 31.3 41.0 41.7 42.0
Improve revenue growth 42.7 38.7 41.7 44.0

Finance’s role in the growing importance of the cloud

The software you use and the platform it runs on can have a significant impact on business outcomes. That’s what makes the cloud so compelling. What the cloud brings is the opportunity to pursue business priorities with greater agility and at a lower cost than ever before.

How does finance fit in? Finance increasingly feels the responsibility to expand its role and steer the business as it grows and evolves. But it must do so in a fiscally responsible way.

For example, if your company is ambitious and wants to grow, it needs to run on a platform that’s built to support that growth. For a business based in Southeast Asia and looking to expand over the next five to 10 years, it doesn’t make sense to build a customized system in Singapore and try to roll it out in other countries. Different countries have different localized requirements. A better way is to standardize on one system and scale it out as you expand into new markets.

Companies that offer cloud computing services are already thinking about and dealing with the regulations and needs of different markets. They’ve already considered how to ensure that a solution running in Singapore works in Thailand as well as Indonesia and the Philippines. Partnering with a proven cloud supplier to support your expansion plan makes a lot of sense and is going to be easier than trying to do it yourself. Finance needs to influence the technology strategy.

In the end, the cloud gives you another layer of efficiency in your business. You’re able to tie into world-class, tried-and-tested business processes and then adapt your business to match the software, rather than implement a solution and adapt it to your business processes. There’s no infrastructure to run or maintain. You can implement and be up and running much faster than before. Waste and complexity are eliminated, freeing your organization to concentrate on its core business priorities.

To learn how small and midsize businesses across the APJ region are digitally transforming themselves to advance their future success, check out the IDC InfoBrief “The Next Steps in Digital Transformation: How Small and Midsize Companies Are Applying Technology to Meet Key Business Goals with Insights for Asia/Pacific,” sponsored by SAP. More great resources for CFOs are available now at the SAP finance page.

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Richard McLean

About Richard McLean

Richard McLean, regional CFO for SAP Asia Pacific Japan, oversees all key finance and administrative functions for field and regional headquarters, supporting more than 18,000 employees. He has more than 20 years of experience in senior finance roles with leading global companies across a range of industries, including financial services, investment banking, automotive, and IT. He joined SAP in 2008.