CFOs signing off on a significant ERP investment cannot afford to take a hands-off approach to implementation and adoption. Technology has changed – from the cloud to mobile, IT no longer has ownership of data, it is owned by the business. And the C-suite needs to be driving the innovation that can be delivered by this new model, insists Brian King, Product Manager, CPiO.
The technology landscape has changed fundamentally over the past decade, not least with the now widespread availability – and adoption – of cloud computing. The combination of subscription based software with the removal of on-premise IT investment has removed the barriers to entry for new businesses: SMEs can get fast, cost effective access to the latest business management technology, providing a single, integrated system that encompasses everything from customer billing and finance to logistics, eCommerce, warehousing and support.
It is, however, the way in which organisations embrace technology change that is one of the biggest areas of competitive differentiation. Technology must be considered a business enabler – not a cost. How many successful new business models and companies today are not, in effect, technology companies? From Airbnb to Uber, technology is enabling market disruption on an unprecedented scale.
To achieve the mindset change from cost-first to business enabler, traditional organisations with legacy systems and long-standing processes must approach technology implementation and change as a journey, not a one-off investment.
Organisations need to have a strategic vision, not continue to adopt technology piecemeal to address specific business issues. Of course, a phased approach works – but it is essential to have that end goal in place. To envisage that goal, there are a number of essential questions to ask: How does the business want to operate? How will that help to achieve growth and maximise profitability? What systems are required and what is the journey? What technologies will our customers expect and our employees demand?
An essential component of this strategic vision is the delivery of data trust. One of the most fundamental changes enabled by this shift towards cloud and subscription based software is data ownership. IT is no longer in charge of data – that data is owned by the business. And with that ownership should come trust. With an integrated solution, the quality and accuracy of the data needs to be tested just once – during the implementation. Once that quality is proven, organisations can then confidently embark upon significant business improvement enabled by fact based decision making.
For the CFO, the change is quite frankly radical: the control the IT department had over month end reporting has gone; CFOs now have the control delivered by real-time and continuous financial performance insight. But this change must be grasped; it will not happen by default. This shift from IT to C-Suite control marks a sea-change in technology investment and realisation of value – if organisations are to maximise investment to drive business growth, cultural attitudes towards technology need to change and the C-Suite needs to take a far more hands-on approach to investment and technology led business transformation.