Today, being a finance executive means being a great strategist, risk manager, problem solver and analyst. It means wearing many hats: offering valuable analysis to help run the business, solving problems and choosing strategic direction. Strategising big-picture business initiatives, developing corporate strategy and taking on more and more responsibility for growth means thinking about agility, productivity and scale. Consider how your company invests in advanced technologies: does your philosophy make business sense for both core finance functions and the company as a whole? The end result: better business decisions, enhanced productivity and employee engagement.
Four technology megatrends—insights, cloud platform, mobile productivity and social—are transforming how business is done today, and each has far-reaching implications for finance.
Modern business intelligence tools connect data points from an increasingly diverse volume of data to regress, correlate and predict future business scenarios. Moreover, these tools are most often easy to use, meaning that secure, self-service business intelligence is now a reality.
The cloud gives you agility in these core ways:
- Ability to shift capital expenses to operating expenses
- Reduction of management costs
- Shrinking the time to innovation for a new product or service delivery
It also enables a new level of transparency into IT budgets, providing insights that guide investment and visibility on where to drive margin (reducing operating expenses).
- As the rate at which people access the Internet from mobile devices overtakes wired connections, think about the implications for modern workspaces, the cost impact of allowing employees to choose their own devices and the value of investing in anywhere, any time collaboration and productivity tools.
- Social computing has evolved beyond the buzz of social media networks to become an important strategic platform for driving business decisions, actions and outcomes across the enterprise, both internally and externally.
Finance executives have a unique opportunity and responsibility to help companies strategically and securely embrace these megatrends. Implementing flexible, integrated technology solutions that provide easy, highly secure data access enables better decision making, risk assessment and control and optimisation of efficiency.
- Budget forecasting
- Growth & profitability
- Enabling better decisions
- Tight credit markets
- Optimising Costs
- Healthcare costs
- Managing risk
- Lower CAPex
- Talent Management
- Providing leadership
Enable better decisions
As data proliferates, more people across the business demand access to that data. The challenge for finance leaders is to enable highly secure, role-based access while still driving business impact. Microsoft technology gives you highly secure, real-time analysis and reporting; data access and security are embedded in the technology, giving you the ability to proactively design both reports and processes. With data visualisation tools such as Microsoft Excel Power View, provide the right insights to the right people at the right time—on any device. All employees can slice and dice the data based on their needs, without requiring specific technical skills. And while access and use of data increases across your organisation, you can help ensure continuity within your finance team and across the business.
Real-time data analytics coupled with collaboration technology are a powerful combination for finance executives, who are often asked complicated questions that need to be answered immediately.
Assess and control risk
Core to the role of finance is understanding and controlling risk. Whether you are giving your employees self-service risk management tools or assessing strategic risk to the company, the right technology can paint a full picture of the internal and external factors that threaten your company’s future. For example, a self-service portal puts information that employees need at their fingertips. You can give employees access to policies and forms (such as for anti-corruption and procurement), assign approval quickly with built-in workflows, and use real-time reporting to avert potential issues.
Whether improving the way you reach customers or how your employees collaborate and communicate, optimising efficiency increases productivity and lowers the cost of doing business, both within your finance operations and across the company. Cloud technology provides one means of achieving this efficiency: it can help you build modern apps to optimise productivity and the use of IT resources in whatever way works best for your business—whether public, private or hybrid cloud. Cloud services such as Microsoft Office 365, which provide anywhere access to tools and information, likewise can help your employees work more effectively while shifting capital expenses to operating expenses. You can further reduce costs by reducing travel while improving throughput with unified communications tools. And by embracing social collaboration through tools, you can help to build a unified corporate culture.
Today’s finance executives are in an unprecedented position to help their companies achieve their goals for profitability, growth and productivity by addressing technology as a business priority, both strategically and tactically. With a connected platform, you can maximise today’s technology trends while minimising your risk.
Written and Published by the Microsoft Enterprise Team via Microsoft.Com