Part 4 of the four-part series “CFO Intelligent Enterprise”
An overwhelming volume of data is generated and captured on a daily – if not, hourly – basis. Yet this is not where businesses are feeling the pressure. Now, for financial management, the challenge is knowing how to get the most value from this information.
In the view of many CEOs, the capabilities of an intelligent enterprise present an opportunity to accomplish strategic advantages such as:
- Innovate new business models and processes for tomorrow while preventing disruption
- Give employees work that is meaningful, brings a feeling of purpose, and allows skill sets to grow
- Stay ahead of competitors that are trying to gain momentum through consolidation and disruptive business models
- Build a loyal customer base by perfecting the total experience, as the range of your customers’ available choices proliferate
How can the business achieve these big-impact advantages? With the help of CFOs who prioritize four fundamental pillars of the intelligent enterprise.
1. Innovate highly automated and self-learning processes
By delivering processes that embrace automation and self-learning functionality through machine learning, the finance organization can leave behind the need to focus on executing transactional processes and move toward becoming a strategic partner for all areas of the business. The finance team can deliver shared-services functions that elevate the power and integrity of the data the company owns. Employees can be reassigned in areas where they can showcase their talent, challenge their skills, and fill in talent gaps. More important, finance can ensure that every activity – within its organization and across the enterprise – provides significant value to the business and its customers.
For example, digitalization of cash management with machine learning supports the automation of matching bank statement items and invoices. The technology learns from accountants’ past manual actions and from customer- and country-specific behavior to process incoming payments faster. While this is an excellent way for finance to increase liquidity, sales and marketing teams also benefit from improved customer service.
2. Revolutionize the user interface to increase productivity
Consumer-grade experiences are critical for driving digital transformation that results in high levels of adoption, user engagement, and productivity. And finance teams can play a significant role in generating the real-time reports and facilitating the submission needs of every employee anytime, anywhere, and on any device.
Evolving the user experience to reflect role-based and mobile capabilities allows all lines of business to create interactive data visualizations. This approach not only supports boardroom and organizational conversations as they arise, but users can also drill down to a level of detail that supports accurate decision-making.
3. Enable a true business ecosystem
A networked, real-time finance platform is an essential prerequisite for competing in every industry. When an end-to-end platform is used to support supplier integration, travel and expense management, and external credit agencies, business networks can become a vital enabler of a connected enterprise.
The business can engage with its suppliers and customers to help ensure the ecosystem continues to deliver high-quality products to the right customers and run with no disruption. Plus, this digital approach eliminates the requirement to capture and reconcile data manually when used to process procurement, invoicing, and payment requests as well as travel and expense automation.
4. Manage internal and ecosystem-related risk
As emerging technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence mature, finance can gain higher levels of transparency into internal activities. Meanwhile, business networks bring increased visibility into supplier and credit risk.
To keep pace with real-time transaction processing, finance organizations need to keep track of a growing list of regulations and policies and ensure compliance. And embedding compliance monitoring directly into systems is the first step toward protecting organizational data and processes 24×7. For instance, business integrity screening improves fraud detection and prevention by identifying unusual activity faster through flexible rule sets and predictive analytics.
Bridge the gap between a data-driven business and an intelligent enterprise
There’s a vast difference between running a business with intelligence and running an intelligent enterprise. Yes, being data-driven can help you make more informed decisions. But being an intelligent enterprise opens the door to a level of visibility, focus, and agility your business needs to deliver outcomes faster, more effectively, and with less risk.
By embracing the role, structure, and competitive advantage of the intelligent enterprise, organizations can revolutionize how they view work, processes, and the customer experience. While the finance function is certainly no exception, finance can lead the entire business through this digital transformation by taking on these four digital priorities.
Discover how your finance organization can help the entire business experience a new normal – the intelligent enterprise. Download our white paper “Transform Finance with SAP.”