Expert Q+A Part 1: Tech for Businesses Today
Learn about the latest technology considerations in this expert Q+A.
Businesses today increasingly face a need to implement best-of-breed technology solutions to improve the client experience, streamline financial operations, and establish an enduring competitive advantage. Three Riveron leaders provide commentary on top-of-mind issues for businesses this year, in this first segment of a two-part series focused on technology enablement.
For business today, how will technology drive the biggest impacts?
Brent Fisher: Enabling technology within a business process can drive automation, reduce manual processes, and capture meaningful data—to enhance revenue and reduce costs. Doing so reshapes the value of people, turning them into business partners, working for the business versus focusing on tasks that are repetitive. The right use of technology also gives decision makers an ability to make smarter decisions faster.
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Ankur Mittal: Technology enablement will ensure a business stays competitive for a longer period. It can improve the bottom line by streamlining business processes and removing excess. Businesses can also grow the top line by improving customer satisfaction—helping to retain customers—and by providing technologies that promote self-service and transparency of information.
Jimmy Solis: Businesses will continue to drive efficiency, cost savings—including a reduction in inefficiencies for selling, general, and administrative functions—because of an increase in the number of processes being automated.
Advancements in cloud technologies and further adoption of software-as-a-service platforms will increase the amount of integration between vendors, suppliers, and customers paving the way for a more integrated way of doing business. This will likely shape expectations for staying relevant in a more integrated business environment and drive the types of technology investments required.
Proactive business decisions will continue to require that an ever-increasing amount of data be analyzed. An increased reliance on technology only adds to the volume of data that must be analyzed to make truly informed decisions. This will require the need for businesses to invest in modernized decision-support systems to keep up with the information flow being thrown at decision makers.
Why should business leaders today modernize with technology rather than stick with the status quo in their organizations?
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JS: There are multiple reasons to modernize, and Riveron partners with clients to clearly define those reasons. Some prevalent reasons are:
- efficiency gains which lead to cost savings,
- scalability and flexibility to facilitate scaling up the business,
- uncovering trends and patterns in information that will allow companies to capitalize on opportunities.
AM: Modernization of technology continues to provide businesses with a competitive advantage.
BF: We have observed that companies need to be willing to change to survive and be competitive, and the rate of change is fast in the marketplace. To respond, companies must use modern technology to keep current, provide competitive advantages, and drive exceptional customer experience. Otherwise, these companies will be negatively impacted by siloed, outdated systems.
What is top-of-mind for business leaders this year—when seeking to enable better use of technology across the following areas:
- Modernization of the finance and accounting function?
AM: Transformation for finance or accounting is about streamlining business processes through technology to support the financial planning and analysis (FP&A) function. In large enterprises, there are a lot of discrete processes in finance and accounting that make the FP&A processes onerous, time consuming and inconsistent. Implemented appropriately, the right processes and relevant technology can help address these issues.
BF: Businesses need to do more with less. Finance and accounting organizations must look for opportunities to optimize and embrace necessary improvements. Business analysts can leverage technology to manage by exception and automate the remaining work versus using manual involvement for scenarios that are consistent. With appropriate technology and processes, workplaces can shift focus toward high-value tasks instead of repetitive tasks that can be replaced through automation.
JS: Now and in the near future, finance and accounting functions can improve through process automation, specifically using robotic process automation (RPA). First, organizations need to identify processes that can become automated and set a journey to introduce RPA if they have not already.
- Corporate performance management (CPM) or improving businesses from supply chain through customer experience?
AM: The top use case for CPM technology enablement revolves around the consolidation of financial information, but reconciliation and planning are other uses cases that drive technology enablement within the CPM domain.
JS: Performance management is beneficial because consolidates multiple financial systems. Providing proper operations planning support can help to integrate information related to operations and financial information. Here, relevant management of key performance indicators (KPIs) will drive business improvements.
BF: To improve businesses, the customer has to be the center. Effective digital transformation is about the customer experience and driving change to enhance the experience of the customer. Any technology investment should improve the ability of people to serve the end customer.
- Improving performance in scenarios related to private equity or acquisitions?
BF: Private equity firms are looking to maximize the value of the companies during the hold period which involve scaling the business for growth and enhancing the business processes. Typically, this leads to re-platforming core business applications, optimizing current investments in systems, cost takeout through application rationalization, or layering in tailored solutions to drive value.
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JS: Fund-level reporting and business intelligence allow private equity firms to track the performance of the companies within the portfolio. These types of technology-related improvements often serve private equity by enhancing a portfolio company’s ability to produce financial and operational data in a way that business leaders can make decisions quicker.
AM: For business acquisitions, performance improvement initiatives often center on streamlining the lead-to-cash cycle. This is evident where businesses focus on serving the customer better, monitor sales effectiveness, and streamline the ability to invoice and collect more efficiently
- Technology needs and priorities when it comes to divestitures?
AM: For divestitures, technology needs are most often related to data mapping and integration—to allow the business to isolate assets that need to be divested. Some of Riveron’s clients that actively divest have set up shared service groups, especially within their IT organization. This approach allows an organization to provide optimized processes and tools to help divest part of a business in a consistent and expeditious manner.
BF: Within divestures—from a buying side or carve out scenario—technology has to be the foundation to allow the company to stand alone, scale, and operate efficiently. Short-sighted decisions can create long-term inefficiencies as the business scales.