Finance Transformation: How Cloud Solutions Can Be A Catalyst For Process Improvement As Well As A Driver Of Business Transformation.
Finance transformation is critical if you want to keep up with the evolving ideas and strategies of today’s business landscape. It will revolutionise processes and systems within organizations to make them more effective, and more profitable. Cloud solutions and Software as a Service (SaaS) is one key area offering transformative results.
In particular, cloud solutions provide a unified and cohesive environment, a single point where all information can be created, shared, discussed and communicated securely. Each person and department are integrated into the information flow. Boosting the flow of information will act like a catalyst for process improvement with transparency, workflow management and better accountability becoming key factors. These key areas of transparency, workflow management and accountability, are at the core of business transformation for the digital age and the benefits that come with it, which include cost reduction of finance operations, productivity improvement and data leakage risk mitigation.
Cost and error reduction
Let’s first look into the ways in which costs can be significantly reduced through finance transformation. Cloud technology is easier to deploy and more affordable than native or traditional systems that require manual updates and have high maintenance costs. A unified cloud solution allows for streamlined automation which bypasses repetitive, mundane, error-prone tasks that can accumulate into enormous amounts of time, risk and inefficiencies due to human-errors. This unnecessary waste of time translates into tangible costs.
Take spreadsheets for example, up until the past few years, there was really no alternative to Excel. If you wanted to crunch numbers, keep financial records, and manage your corporate finances and risk analysis, Excel was the only tool at your disposal. But it’s no secret that traditional spreadsheets leave a lot to be desired when it comes to modern business use. Many studies have found that up to 90 percent of spreadsheets contain errors. From copy and paste errors to hidden cells and miscalculations, it is certain that you’ve encountered or created an Excel error at some point. And how much time and resources have been wasted on rectifying these errors? With the latest cloud-based spreadsheet platforms, automation limits routine human error. What’s more, this type of software allows multiple team members to collaborate in real time, as opposed to back-and-forth emails and the insecure sharing of documents.
Communication and collaboration
The transformative impact of cloud solutions extend far beyond cost efficiency. Playing a more strategic, business-oriented role depends on effective communication and collaboration between the finance function and other parts of the business. Finance transformation is set to redefine how communication and collaboration through cloud solutions become the overarching priority for business transformation at decision making level.
Digital transformation allows for collaboration as means of engagement and data gathering, as well as accountability and governance for organisational transparency. It also democratises the information flow, removing bottlenecks and allowing every stakeholder to get key answers on the fly, without asking finance people continuous “what-if” questions. More on this below.
Deploying a cloud-first finance transformation strategy is a catalyst for developing an agile and adaptive organisation which meets the needs of a fast-paced and changing environment, thus becoming a competitive advantage. This can be trickled down from enhanced productivity – allowing organisations to react and respond quicker by accessing cloud data in a few clicks. These decisions typically are strategy-level finance data that determine and influence decisions – therefore, taking control and gathering organisational data in a unified process allows for better and faster information flow whilst protecting confidential data which has in the past been cumbersome, slow and perhaps a little to late.
There is also self-service analytics to consider: distributed cloud systems empower each stakeholder in the finance department to extract valuable information without relying on the guru of this financial model or that business case. Everybody can interact with the information they seek in a simple, not to mention faster, way and contribute data without risking the chance of deleting or breaking the logic of the other collaborators.
The main reason for large companies to migrate anything to the cloud is not the cost savings, or the more robust infrastructure and backup. Neither is it the efficiency and reduced complexity of managing IT in large organisations. The real and most tangible benefit comes from transforming how the organisation works. The cloud is more than merely a technology, it is a shift in the paradigm, manifesting how organisations should adapt to the digital age, where people spend more than 50 percent of their time using their mobile devices and increasingly doing everything instantly, on-demand and on the go.
Transition to the cloud is essentially about empowering the people in an organisation to work together in real-time and from anywhere, making all businesses more agile and lean, increasing the speed of processing information, making decisions and responding to changes in the outside world. That’s why transition to the cloud is so important.
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