22nd July, 2021
We often talk about Transformation as if it’s a finite thing. But transformation across Purchase to Pay is a continuous journey. Your processes and technology can be transformed from what they were, but like going to the gym, what’s fit and healthy today, will be tired and clunky tomorrow if you don’t keep up with things. One of the effects of the pandemic was to focus everyone’s attention on the company’s tech. From internal meetings, to global spend and cash management - it caused companies to scramble to get to grips with their digital strategy. In our latest survey, supported by our partners, ITESOFT, we asked our P2P community to talk to us about their experiences.
Many soon discovered that when it comes to understanding processing, it’s data that comes first. The ever-expanding connections between our systems, internal customers and our buyers and suppliers creates a constant and growing stream. But the digital transformation that organisations hope for will never happen if that data isn’t captured or isn’t clean enough. And yet, we discovered that for over 50% of people we spoke to, reporting capabilities were either very poor or needed improvement. And that’s where using the right technology comes in.
The Future’s in the Cloud
If future success and insight lies in a company’s data, its visibility and accessibility lie in how that data is stored. The shift over the last five years has been ever more cloud based, and as security concerns become less relevant, the idea of a future, 100% in the cloud, seems probable. As our world becomes less predictable, it makes sense to control what you can. Adding an easily reportable automation eco-system that can be accessed in real-time by many, is one way to limit the damage created by uncertainty.
Business Partnering and Digital Collaboration
Departments that were once very separate have become more connected. Despite the dramatic shift to remote and hybrid working which served to physically separate us, the need for better transparency across the business meant that teams have had to co-operate more with each other. And it’s not just a nice-to-have. Because finance functions sit at the core of their enterprise, CFOs have the visibility across the business that few other roles have. Over a third of businesses this year have increased their digital collaboration, many with shared KPIs, generating real value to their organisation’s bottom line.
Building and Retaining Talent
This landscape also has implications for careers in finance. To stay ahead, soft skills such as emotional intelligence, empathy and strategic thinking are equally as important as the core needs of a specific area. And as the transactional element of finance becomes more automated, those with strong analytical skills will find themselves more in demand. To attract and retain the talent needed, organisations will have to demonstrate a desire for a forward-thinking digital programme.
Industry 4.0 and the Revolution of Work
Fuelled 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 and electric cars have shaken up supply chains and whole sectors. Today’s finance and procurement teams will be increasingly impacted by these shifts, and by new areas of digitalisation such as the rise of crypto currencies, with Bitcoin now starting to find its way onto corporate balance sheets.
But of course, getting to grips with a digital transformation project is never just about the technology. For anyone who’s ever tried to deliver a project without a change management plan, you’ll have learnt the hard way. No matter how shiny the new technology is, if your team aren’t on board, it’s not going to work. Making sure that the right people are involved, that the right voices are heard, and the right decisions are taken based on those voices, will be the difference between an efficient, successful transformation programme and one that falters and fails to deliver.