Part 1 of the 4-part series, “Finance’s Transformational Role in Growing Businesses“
The pace of technology innovation is undeniably moving faster, growing more intelligent, and becoming inescapable. With each advancement, midsize companies are expanding the scope of their digital transformation efforts – from integrating technology into their business to fundamentally changing their workplace culture, organizational operation, and customer experiences.
No organization understands this reality better than finance. The IDC InfoBrief, “The Finance Role in Best-Run Midsize Companies: Improving Decision-Making Using Intelligent Technologies,” sponsored by SAP, recently revealed that finance organizations in best-run companies are embracing digital transformation and intelligent technologies such as artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and machine learning. And in return, most of them are improving timely decision-making, running more-efficient and less error-prone operational processes, and empowering knowledge workers to engage in higher-value business activities.
Notably, such changes are making finance more than a highly efficient function of cash-flow insight, effective spend management, and invoice and payment processing. It’s also emerging as the epicenter of sustainable business growth.
Reengineering the future of midsize businesses with data literacy
A common dilemma for most finance leaders from midsize companies is knowing how to gain the visibility, speed, and insight to run some of their most basic operations. From sourcing appropriately skilled resources to executing timely financial close and reconciliation and establishing adequate financial controls, the desire to be flawless, fast, and efficient is nearly impossible to achieve with manual processes.
This is where the use of intelligent technologies can be incredibly transformational. The IDC report states that finance organizations in best-run companies prioritize the ability to quickly address core activities such as liquidity basis, performance modeling, auditing and compliance, spend management, and vendor invoice processing. But more importantly, they position themselves in ways that create new revenue streams, improve business agility, and respond to competitive threats.
Source: “The Finance Role in Best-Run Midsize Companies: Improving Decision Making Using Intelligent Technologies,” IDC InfoBrief, sponsored by SAP, 2019.
How can one back-office function have such a powerful impact on the success of activities that are not traditionally in finance’s domain? It all comes down to the opportunity to increase the entire company’s data literacy.
By setting a foundation of unified and well-managed data intelligence, finance organizations are quickly becoming the center of all operations – bridging the gap between back-office and customer-facing functions. In fact, according to IDC, finance organizations that are optimizing their adoption of intelligent technologies are playing a critical role in improving governance through:
- Elimination of data silos, which is nurturing a business-wide culture of real-time insight-sharing and instantaneous data-driven decision-making
- Greater operational efficiency with reductions of workflow errors and cycle time, all of which are empowering better trend predictions, policy compliance, and detection of suspicious business activities
- Innovative use of data to improve customer service, driving better cash flow, increased working capital, and higher rates of repeat sales while reducing time to customer value
At the end of the day, each of these capabilities is helping the entire business do whatever is necessary to fuel growth. By accelerating its processes and delivery of insights with the right infrastructure and set of applications, finance is playing a central role in everything – from optimizing skilled resources to aligning operations efficiently and managing the supply chain proactively.
Kick-starting a dynamic partnership of guidance and growth
No matter if the company is creating a new customer experience, introducing a new business model, or expanding the supply chain, it is impossible to transform anything without touching various departments. But, as the IDC InfoBrief demonstrates, cleaning up finance-related systems and data management practices can empower the entire business to make the right connections between insights and action and accurately plan for a future of game-changing growth.
Discover how finance organizations can drive insight and guidance that powers real growth for midsize businesses. We invite you to bookmark our series landing page, “Finance’s Intelligent Influence in Growing Businesses,” and check it for new insights and best practices.
In the meantime, read the IDC InfoBrief, sponsored by SAP, “The Finance Role in Best-Run Midsize Companies: Improving Decision Making Using Intelligent Technologies.”
And if you want more insights and perspectives from finance and SAP leaders on their experiences in finance transformation, we invite you to visit the on-demand SAP Finance and Risk Management Virtual Event.