When it comes to innovation and digital transformation, the finance organization is all too often relegated to the waiting room. With much of the investment in digital aimed at sales enablement, customer experience (“CX”), and Big Data, finance is routinely overlooked as a potential nexus of innovation. This research note identifies the key opportunities and initiatives that can help finance teams lead innovation and digital transformation.
- How will organizations leverage digital transformation?
- What are the effective strategies for evolving legacy capabilities into the Cloud?
- How should organizations plan, organize, and budget for digital transformation?
- What role will finance play in digital transformation?
For the past five years, topline growth has been the core metric for driving company valuations. In the quest for this growth, enterprises have been investing in new products and business model transformations. A shift from selling goods to selling outcomes, subscription relationships, and digital services has catalyzed incremental new investments in technologies to support the next level of automation in sales, marketing, and product innovation.
The overarching themes of the day have been the “digital transformation” and improving customer experience (“CX”). In the con-text of these initiatives, finance function has often been relegated to a supporting or even backstage role. And yet, a number of the core enablers to topline growth, faster time to market, and improved organizational agility reside within the purview of the finance team.
Our research indicates that, historically, the finance organization has not received levels of investment commensurate with the large part it can and should play in accelerating growth and delivering a seamless customer experience. We believe that the finance organization does not have to function as a passive recipient of digital transformation initiatives, but, in fact, can lead innovation and these initiatives in a number of key areas.
Many finance organizations are already participating in or playing a lead role in the overall digital transformation. Progressive CFOs are continuously shoring up inefficiencies in their organizations and replacing manual and semi-manual processes with automation. Money is often described as the lifeblood of a business. Traditionally, the focus of the finance organization has been on accurate accounting, reporting, and expense controls. Increasingly, finance teams are also concentrating on reducing friction in money flows and improving finance productivity, business velocity, and agility. Focus and precise targeting play vital roles in the success of digital finance initiatives.
Finance organizations should consider evolving their role in digital transformation from passive observer to active participant and, in many cases, driver of digital transformation initiatives. Companies that relegate finance function to the role of a passive recipient of digital transformation success will see higher costs, slower progress, and reduced business impact. Organizations that enable full participation of finance in digital transformation will see improved business agility and velocity, greater precision, higher level of trust in financial data, faster time to revenue, and better collaboration across functional and geographic boundaries. Modernization of finance can echo back into every operational area of a business and result in improved growth, stronger profitability, and gains in market share.