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Top Six Predictions for 2020 and Beyond

Transformation across Purchase to Pay and all the related fields is a continuous journey. And as we edge closer to 2020, digital revolution is feeding its way into company strategies for the future.

Industry 4.0 and the Revolution of Work

Fueled by data, the technology that sits alongside it and billions of online transactions between companies, individuals and devices, whole industries are changing and reinventing themselves. New technologies like 3D printing, electric cars and companies like Airbnb have shaken up supply chains and whole sectors.

Today’s B2B worlds are expected to reflect our everyday B2C experiences, with the same ease of use and accessibility. And with the first Millennials about to hit 40, it’s a world many have grown up in. But the digital revolution won’t happen by itself. An organisation needs to embrace it within the corporate culture and make sure that it’s something that impacts all levels and strips away silos. Success in this environment means being flexible and driving change in a way that makes sense to the teams doing the changing. And in many organisations, it’s the CFO who is sitting at the heart of that digital strategy.

Data First

The bedrock of a digitally powerful organisation is its data. The ever-expanding connections between our systems, internal customers and our buyers and suppliers creates an endless river of it. But the digital transformation that your company hopes for will never happen if the data isn’t powerful enough. Organisations that know how to accurately monitor and create clean data and then capture what they need, are the ones which will succeed. And that’s where using the right technology comes in.

Business Partnering and Digital Collaboration

Departments that were once very separate are becoming increasingly connected. Connected through process and connected through technology. And because finance functions sit at the core of their enterprise, CFOs need to ensure that they are highly integrated. The days of a big bang approach to implementation are over. There aren’t many brown field sites of paper based manual solutions, and most organisations are likely to have been through one or two rounds of system improvements. Many in charge of implementing systems have far more first hand experience than ever before. This means that organisations are more likely to grow an end to end eco-system, rather than rely on a one size fits all approach.

Building and Retaining Talent

This landscape also has implications for career advancement. To stay ahead, it’s going to be essential to have the ability to look up from the area of your direct experience. Soft skills such as emotional intelligence, empathy and strategic thinking will be equally as important as the core needs of a specific area. As we shift further into a world of AI and augmented reality those who can demonstrate this ability will find themselves in demand. We will also start to see people working alongside us from areas not traditionally associated with our own.

Corporate Social Responsibility

A company’s ethics are becoming critical differentiators in the global market. As organisations seek to strengthen their social value, they are building capital on traits like fairness, honesty, sustainability, and community. But it’s a cultural change that organisations need to build into their teams and to filter that down their supply chain. With environmental and climate activists on the streets of several countries of the world, being sustainable isn’t just the ethically correct thing to do, increasingly it’s brand savvy too, but you do need to actually do it, not just say it. Being digital first, with intelligent use of automation and connected IOT, means that you’ll be best placed for trend analysis and able to predict possible disruption and do something about it.

The Future’s in the Cloud

If the bedrock of future success and insight lies in a company’s data, its visibility and accessibility lies in how that data is stored. And the future is in the cloud. The shift over the last 8 – 5 years has been ever more cloud based, and most organisations expect that trend to continue, with more than 70% of organisations expecting to be fully in the cloud over the next 3 years.

As our world becomes less certain, it makes sense to control what you can. Adding an easily reportable automation eco-system to your processes is certainly one way to do that.