Digital transformation is a survival issue that, for optimal management, requires treasurers to stop seeing technological change as a threat and take it as an opportunity to solve and expedite growing financial challenges. To address this issue, CFOs / CTOs will need to recognize their changing needs, understand what new technologies can help, create a vision and a roadmap to a more strategic and sustainable future.
Clarifying concepts and scope
Digital transformation is the process of adapting existing business practices to new digital methods to increase efficiency and keep up with changing market demands. Many processes that have to do with digital transformation are oriented towards the client or to generate more sales, but there are others that are directed towards efficiency in which they can achieve great benefits such as the ability to manage cash and liquidity, or the administration financial risk, leaving aside the false perspective that it is a simple substitution of paper.
In recent years, economic stability has been impacted by various factors, but the health crisis has become one of the main catalysts for change and has forced companies to migrate their treasury to the cloud to optimize times, processes and resources, as well as to adopt different technologies such as Software as a Service that allows minimizing operating licenses and the possibility of integrating into the existing infrastructure.
In this new environment, treasury functions will be integrated with intelligent automation, which by improving financial department data will drive and enrich decision-making so that treasury can eliminate error-prone processes. The technologies that will drive the changes are: Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Bots; Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML); Big Data and Data Science; Cloud Computing; Blockchain and DTL; Internet of Things (IoT); and Open Application Programming Interface (API).
Organizational change, the most important pillar
However, despite the fact that technology, data and processes are some of the most important bases of the digital transformation of the treasury, organizational change is the main pillar. CFOs play an essential role when it comes to understanding the applications of intelligent automation of processes within the strategic functions of the treasury, adapting to change and understanding new technologies; understanding them will allow staff participation to achieve the necessary change for the company, as well as to calculate more complete forecasts.
As technology advances and new solutions and / or tools appear, people will need to expand their knowledge and, although it is not necessary to become experts, it is essential to have knowledge of topics such as:
- Hard skill: Knowledge of finance, economics, management and risks.
- Soft skills: Teamwork, grow mindset, change management.
- New digital skills: AI, Big Data Analytics, RPA and Pyton.
With this change, the treasurer will become less operational as RPA, IA and ML will perform all operational tasks for him to focus on data analysis, process guidance to lead new projects, channels and technology process changes. The hard skills in finance, economics, administration and risks will be fundamental for its development.
Although there is no formula that could be implemented in all companies, since each one has different needs or goals, it is very important that the current situation and gaps be identified, and a specific objective is established according to their strategy of where to go. they want to go with their metrics; action plans are developed to implement in the short term; and a culture of digital knowledge is created to identify the benefits of technology in each situation.
What did you gain from the transformation?
The digital transformation of the treasury is key to continue operating in the best possible way, representing an opportunity for innovation, adaptation, growth and increased competitiveness, which at the same time ensures the success of operations and customer satisfaction.
The implementation of new technologies will improve productivity thanks to the automation of processes; reduce times and costs by minimizing production times and reducing the margin of error, while increasing business competitiveness; improve internal and external communication; as well as increasing the analytical capacity by delving into the data analysis of all departments.
It also allows the creation of new business opportunities through new business structures; the expansion of graphic borders; extend the life of the organization by favoring the information collected day by day about everything that happens and the consequences it causes in users; in addition to decentralizing operations and continuous training through remote work, which will allow the mobility of employees to generate new business opportunities.
Federico Buiter is CEO of Integrity Software Latin America.