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Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

3 Ways CFOs Can Support Greater Productivity

By Eric Farber, Global VP/GM, Oracle Global Business Services Leader at IBM

Emerging technologies are not only disrupting business, but the US economy as a whole. The new Oracle report “Intelligent Finance: How CFOs Can Lead the Coming Productivity Boom” details how widespread cloud adoption is accelerating productivity and new business value, potentially adding $2 trillion to the US economy over the next decade. Much of this new value comes from using the cloud to deliver groundbreaking technological advancements such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cognitive computing, intelligent process automation (IPA), and the Internet of Things.

Finance leaders have a key role to play in driving innovation in this productivity boom. Business models and the competitive landscape are changing rapidly, with disruptors focusing on building platforms that allow them to completely reinvent business processes and their industry as a whole. In many cases, these disruptors are industry incumbents rather than nimble startups.

There are three actions finance organizations can take to help them keep pace with these changes and achieve greater productivity:

  1. Take out structural costs by moving on-premises data centers to the cloud
  2. Deploy innovations, such as a touchless close workbench, to reduce finance cost and risk using IPA and blockchain
  3. Enable smarter enterprises with Cognified Business Process Outsourcing (Cognified BPO)

1. Take out structural costs by moving on-premises data centers to the cloud

Cloud application projects deliver 3.2x greater return on investment (ROI) than on-premises ones. The two primary benefits of taking on-prem data centers to the cloud are the ROI and the operating advantages of transferring expenses from CapEx to OpEx. These benefits permit firms to reallocate increased operating profit and capital into new platform investments and growth opportunities.

2. Deploy a touchless close workbench to reduce finance cost and risk

One of the most compelling use cases for intelligent process automation (IPA) and blockchain is around month-end close. The touchless close workbench can help firms reduce cost (both internal and external), limit risk and avoid delays to the close. By implementing Oracle ERP and EPM Cloud, ConnectOne Bank was able to cut seven days from their monthly closing and speed up audits by 10%, saving them significant costs per year in auditor fees.

With a touchless close workbench, companies can drive even stronger results. IPA at scale allows the finance organization to automate key steps in the close process, remove the potential for human error, increase the speed of performing tasks, reduce the cost of finance, and allow finance resources to focus on higher-value activities. Blockchain can make it simpler for finance organizations to track, control and authenticate firecall access. Other blockchain use cases may include: resolving shared reference data challenges, improving audit and compliance tracking, and validating letters of credit.

3. Enable smarter enterprises with Cognified BPO

Cognified BPO can help individual associates accomplish more, resulting in reduced workload and increased accuracy, thereby lowering risk. This allows firms to operate leaner, freeing up associates to provide hands-on customer service or focus more on innovative, high-value work. As a result, firms can feel confident they are completing their ongoing processes with high levels of quality and consistency, while also providing an excellent experience for both internal and external customers.

Learn more

To begin your journey, check out the IBM Oracle Cloud Impact Assessment to learn more about how we’re helping businesses make their move to the cloud, paving the way for them to maximize productivity in their finance functions.

IBM will also be attending and presenting at Oracle OpenWorld, October 22-25 in San Francisco. We invite you to connect with us at the event and attend our speaker sessions to learn more about our solutions leveraging blockchain, IPA, cognitive computing, and other transformational technologies. Learn more at ibm.com/oracle.

Learn how CFOs are driving productivity. Get the report.

Eric Farber has over 20 years of consulting experience specializing in industry solutions and platforms. Eric has a long history of building and leading some of IBM's largest clients globally and has served as a Global Lead Account Partner in the Consumer Products, Distribution and Professional Services industries and most recently served as the Senior Client Partner and Senior Services Area Leader in the Travel and Transportation industry. 

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  • John Friday, June 29, 2018
    Thank you for your tips!
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