It might seem that Digital Transformation has become the top priority for a great majority of today’s businesses. Factors such as emerging technologies; increasing demands of the customers regarding their relationship and experience delivered by companies; pressure to change and innovate, and enterprise mobility have an enormous influence on how modern companies operate these days.
And when we hear how Digital Transformation can benefit our firms, whether it is improving and transforming customer experience, encouraging collaboration between departments, updating skillset and knowledge, or fostering a digital culture – it comes as no surprise that businesses not only need to, but also want to change.
But is it the truth? Well, not entirely; especially when it comes to finance leaders.
In the age of Digital Transformation, finance leaders have this great opportunity to become ‘an important change maker in an organisation’s digital journey’. And here we can talk about a real change associated with the role of the financial leader. They no longer limit their responsibilities to developing the business case for digital change projects by utilisng their financial experience and knowledge. Now, they are able to demonstrate how digital change can support, improve and transform the efficiency and productivity of their own department as well as the whole company.
But not all, in fact very few want to capitalise this amazing opportunity.
According to RSM new study, while 92 per cent of finance leaders believe digital will have a moderate or major impact on their role over the long term, just 19 per cent describe digital change as their top priority. Unfortunately, this demonstrates that a mind-set of many finance leaders fails to understand the importance of Digital Transformation; how digitalisation intersects with and what impact it has on other issues, and how it can help to ensure a company's survival.
Research also shows that CFOs might have a great impact on how digitalisation is perceived as they lack significant confidence in their skills, thus deter from embracing transformation and change. Within the c-suite, they’re also the least confident in their ability to lead digital change projects. Just 25 per cent say they have all the skills they need to do this, compared to 57 per cent of business leaders and 51 per cent of IT leaders. It also seems that that the title of the role has major influence on their opinion as CFOs also believe digital change is more the job of the business leader or the IT leader than the finance leader.
Finance Leaders' Attitudes to Digital Change
source: RSM 2018
Emerging technologies have a great impact on how transactions are processed, how business insights are shared and how resources and risks are controlled. However, as stated by RSM, finance leaders are slow to adopt new technologies for their own departments. 42 per cent of finance leaders have adopted cloud computing, while only 27 per cent have implemented big data/analytics solutions or automation technologies in their business. In a fast-moving digital world, this will only hold teams back.
‘The arrival of blockchain and further advances in artificial intelligence hold even greater potential to transform the finance department, but these benefits will only be realised by those who have already taken steps to digitise their departments.’ (RSM)
Technologies Finance Leaders Have Adopted in Their Organisations
Author of RSM new study emphasises that ‘today’s finance leaders need to keep pace with innovations coming down the track, and have the ability to understand which will allow them to provide management with a ‘single version of truth’ about business performance, and which hold the most promise for releasing staff from routine transactional activities. This creates obvious pressures.’
He also comes to a sad conclusion that ‘too often, finance leaders are so overwhelmed by the day job – pulling and presenting business insights and preparing for month or year end – that they struggle to find the time to horizon scan for new innovations. Yet technology is the one investment that can reduce their time spent on these activities. Those who are able to reconcile their day job and a digital change agenda will, over the long-term, find success in a digital world. Those that don’t run the risk of remaining uncompetitive in a fast-changing world.’
B60 is a global leader in delivering Digital Transformation and Technology Development and works with ambitious firms in the U.K. Europe and USA across multiple sectors. Since 2012 B60 has been embracing digital change by utilising our unique operating models, frameworks and methodologies to truly drive innovation and change from within our clients businesses.
If you’d like to discuss with one of our experts on how you could successfully deploy Digital Transformation and Technology Development in your business drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively call us on 0121 405 0270.