The ‘Digital Future of Finance’ is a recent report by Gartner for Finance.  It outlines 10 CFO opportunities to accelerate digital transformation.

In the introduction, Richard Ries, VP Gartner research and advisory says:

“Most business leaders expect revenue to return to or exceed 2019 levels in 2021-22, and CFOs are drivers, or at least key stakeholders, in a range of critical issues that will drive this post pandemic recovery. 

The chief challenge is to meet senior leadership’s demands to accelerate growth and digital models while restoring the organization’s financial health. CFOs also have a function to run. They are entering a period of significant transformation for finance, with new technologies readily available to help drive efficiencies and insights into business performance. These pressures culminate in 10 digital imperatives for CFOs in 2021 — to accelerate the digital enterprise and the digitalization of the finance function itself”.

The 10 digital imperatives identified in the report are:

Accelerate the digital enterprise.

Strategy setting

Planning a budgeting

Performance management

Cost allocation

Employee productivity

Accelerate the digital finance function.

Digital upskilling

Cloud adoption

Data analytics

Technology investment

Waste reduction

Reading the report, the research, and the roadmaps that are offered is interesting, in and of itself but, there is a wider reaching message that requires us to rise above this and look across, not only the whole organisation but, the whole market, the whole sector and perhaps the wider economy.

Gartner advised us that they believe 80% of all b2b transaction will be digital by 2025 and each report we see shows the foundations being set this this transformation.   

If the CFO is now busy ‘accelerating the digital enterprise’ and pushing on with ‘accelerating the digital finance function’, have we prepared the rest of the business…?

Last year I presented what we do in Strategic Social Media through Social Selling & Influence to a potential client, they loved it but they didn’t hire me (at that point).

Instead, they went back into a leadership huddle and concluded that they wanted to progress with Social Selling & Influence but, if they were to make a real go of this, they should restructure their entire lead to PO process to digital and make sure everything was ready for the transformation.

This company ‘accelerated the digital enterprise’, not only for finance, but across all the entire organisations.  The didn’t just accelerate the digital finance function, the accelerated all of their digital operating functions.

As business leaders we must understand that digital transformation will come from within our businesses, here is some really interesting research from MIT:

MITs ‘Center for Information Systems Research’ (CISR) reveals that “enterprises that invest in building the digital skills of their internal workforce significantly outperform those who cut back"

Research from Korn Ferry adds to the argument:

"That conclusion is supported by conducted similar analysis from management and recruitment consultancy Korn Ferry which arrived at much the same conclusions – the most successful business are those who take a longer-term view on building a workforce capable of navigating and thriving through the challenges of the future."

Take this statement from Gartner at the top of this piece and pull it across every department, discipline and function in your organisation:

The chief challenge is to meet senior leadership’s demands to accelerate growth and digital models while restoring the organization’s financial health”.

This applies up, down and across the company, every corner.  HR, R&D, Project management, accounts, Quality, HSE, Engineering, Sales and Marketing…everywhere.

The reference article discusses how we shift for analogue to digital in finance, they biggest issues many of our clients face today is in Sales.  Everything from lead generation, forecast and pipeline security and the ability to even reach prospects.  Many have cut marketing budgets and asked Sales to push quotas.  The problem with that is that the art and science of Sales and Marketing has changed significantly, if you haven’t retrained your team, they will struggle.

In 2021, a significant element of this includes how we manage Social Media.  Not simply throwing adverts onto LinkedIn, how we apply a strategic lens to Social and develop how it helps, and in many cases replaces what we used to do in many of those disciplines listed above.

Many still see Social Media as a place where you transmit, a pace you behave in the same way you did in the analogue world, this is a mistake. 

Many still see Social Media as a place for prospecting only, this is a mistake.

Digital has transformed the business world.

Global Social Media users: 4.20 billion – 53.6% of the world's population use social media in other words, more people use social media than don't use it.

Two thirds of the working population in the world is now active on social media.

Its harder to find someone who isn’t useful to you and your business these days who isn’t on Social.

In closing, the report from Gartner includes an interesting slide titled “Align digital strategies and business outcomes”, the slide states:

“2021: Strategic plans will feature business-driven digital initiatives 64% of business leaders say they will use the COVID-19 and related economic crises as an opportunity to focus on redesigning their businesses. 69% say digitalization initiatives are accelerating. CFOs are critical enablers of these enterprise ambitions. Business models will need to shift, for example, to account for the new “everywhere, everything” customer”.

As the world becomes more digital, its is clear the organisations must prepare themselves internally to operate digitally, in balance with the requirement to be able to operate in a digital external environment.  

Have you created your 10 digital imperatives for your organisation and each of its functions...?

We teach our clients how to become, and remain, digitally dominant int their markets, sectors and over their competition. 

Each week we are showing more and more organisations from a range of sectors how it works and how it could work for them – let me know if you’d like to see how it could work for you.

Live Social ‘21

Eric Doyle

Crux / DLA Ignite