With the Winter Games starting this week in PyeongChang, South Korea, it’s fun to highlight a competitive edge often forgotten: innovation.
Over the years, winter sporting innovations have delivered plastic ski boots for alpine racers; wind tunnel testing for bobsleds, skiers and figure skaters; metal components for skis; aerodynamic fabrics for speed skaters; and unique carbon fiber protrusions for snowboarders. Other innovations involve timing, video simulation, snow making, and ice management (cue the Zamboni).
Many of these innovations have become common place not just in athletic circles but across consumer markets. Their deployment into everyday use started with the world’s best athletes, who collaborated daily with companies, inventors and technologists to reach the podium. The medal winners achieve their goals not only with hard work, dedication, and perseverance, but with next-generation technologies.
Today’s finance leaders are remarkably similar in their drive to be the best and deliver big wins for the organization. Leaders in the profession are going for the gold by building tomorrow’s finance, today. These leaders are focused on strategic value (not just the tactical mission) for their company. They also strive to be leaders in their profession; from business articles and speeches, to motivational hallway posters and team building exercises, there are many parallels between today’s business activities and the Winter Games.
Luckily, today is a golden age of innovation in finance. Every professional who dreams of being a finance leader can leverage not only the cloud but a complementary plethora of new innovations. These rapidly evolving technologies include adaptive and artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, the internet of things (IoT), machine learning, chatbots and more.
These technologies are not merely interesting concepts or playful constructs. They are game changers, used to foster new products and services at long-established companies as well as garage-based startups. New disruptors have arrived to exponentially expand marketplace change and chaos.
Most importantly, these technologies are designed for a cloud-first world; the older, on-premises systems of yesteryear cannot support the rapid evolution of technologies that change and learn as they go.
Just imagine if a skiier participated in the alpine slalom with old technologies from last century: wooden skis, lace-up leather boots, and a loose collection of puffy clothing topped with a conical hat. Depending on your personal experience, that image will make you laugh or cry.
Regardless of the other racers, the CFO with old technology won’t reach the podium, let alone taste the gold. It’s a prediction I am taking to the bank.