A New Perspective On Data Can Revolutionize Finance At Midsize Businesses

Ido Shamgar

Part 2 of the 4-part series, “Finance’s Transformational Role in Growing Businesses

The call for digitalization is definitely heating up across virtually every industry, leading to a common perception that every business function is ready to adopt new technologies with open arms. But unfortunately, not all finance departments are equally focused on new technologies to drive better insights that support their business.

Recent IDC research suggests that only 50.2% of best-run midsize companies are supported by finance organizations that understand the power of data when ensuring timeliness, accuracy, and insight. And the results from these companies are nothing short of stunning. Their finance leaders indicated that machine learning and artificial intelligence are used to eliminate data silos and enable information-sharing and increased operational efficiency. These emerging technologies also reduce workflow errors and cycle times while improving customer service.

Best-Run CapabilitiesSource: How Finance Leaders Leverage Insights Better in Best-Run Midsize Companies,” an infographic based on the IDC InfoBrief, “The Finance Role in Best-Run Midsize Companies: Improving Decision-Making Using Intelligent Technologies,” sponsored by SAP, February 2019.

The choice is clear: Get in front of finance digitalization – or get left behind

Why change a process if it’s not broken? This one question can quickly become a debate over financial responsibility and business growth for finance leaders. Some people favor the rapid opportunities afforded by fast access to real-time data to respond to changing demands. Meanwhile, others argue that existing data management approaches – even those reliant on spreadsheets – seem to provide the information needed.

While both sides have their merits, a short-term view on a company’s use of data and analytics to influence decision making is risky. Finance organizations that subscribe to maintaining a growing inventory of spreadsheets, disconnected data sources, and manually created reports face significant challenges. They include inaccurate and out-of-date information, unnecessary reliance on IT support for critical business insights, slow and inefficient processes, and poor decision-making outcomes.

Challenges facing midsize companies


Source: How Finance Leaders Leverage Insights Better in Best-Run Midsize Companies

But sometimes, if an organization doesn’t entertain a different way of doing things, it will never know what’s missing. Finance leaders should have the freedom to experiment with technologies – from tapping into a massive trove of business data in real time to automating processes and enabling what-if analysis to steer more-strategic decisions.

Take, for example, Grupo Choví. After decades of providing a staple on tables across Spain, the classic condiments company decided it was time to expand to international markets. But first, it needed an ERP system that could unify all of its information into a centralized source that allows the entire business to access the insights everyone needs – when, where, and how they want it.

By taking this step, the growing business quickly realized that its investment was about to bring advantages that go beyond data management. It also tightened process control and improved visibility company-wide and delivered cost and revenue numbers that are 100% accurate and reflect the changing dynamics of today’s economy. Plus, with instant 24×7 access to data, sales teams have the flexibility they need to provide the level of services that customers expect – no matter where they are.

While this digital initiative inspired Grupo Choví to revamp its business model and processes to add a Spanish flair to kitchens around the world, it also shows the importance of rethinking finance’s relationship with data. Proactive and systematic transformation of the finance function can help locate and invest in new opportunities as well as take on areas of improvement to deliver unprecedented growth.

Discover how finance organizations can drive insight and guidance that powers real growth for midsize companies. 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, check out the infographic, “How Finance Leaders Leverage Insights Better in Best-Run Midsize Companies.” 

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

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Ido Shamgar

About Ido Shamgar

Ido Shamgar is SAP’s global lead of Product Marketing for SAP S/4HANA, focusing on the Finance Line of Business. In his role, Ido develops compelling marketing programs, messaging, and content on the next-generation intelligent ERP. He is a seasoned business executive who works with companies around the world to market, sell, and deliver innovative technologies for pressing business needs.