Fighting Back to Gain Momentum
Explosive economic deceleration followed by what might be explosive acceleration in business levels keeps us all deeply focused on our underlying business fundamentals, regardless of whether economic recovery turns out to be K, V, U, W, or L shaped in nature.
Defining recovery as a shape makes it easy for us all to visualize what to expect, but no one knows at this stage which one will play out. This means that a number of varying scenarios will need to be thought through, both ground up & top down at a detailed revenue & cost line level, and each continually modified on an ongoing rolling basis to ensure alignment against any “new norm”.
Leaving no stone unturned to release value will include line by line cost & revenue movement analysis for each operating entity including regional management, and important assessments for each as to whether reduced historical cash flows are able to support the needed working capital flows associated from any new alignment of costs, strategy, or recovery in business levels.
Economic shocks have been massive at many levels but as always cybersecurity and privacy have not gone away and continue to be increasingly within focus from your various stakeholders, including regulators. With all parties becoming increasingly aware of data usage rights, and all against a backdrop of changing in-country data management regulations, steps must be taken towards continuous and ongoing cyber hygiene as well as maintaining a constant focus on data classifications to ensure that vital data can be protected across the organization.
Operational bottlenecks identified in the past few months within your business processes will be in need of attention, particularly where speed of their execution has caused you frustration or delays, as these steps are likely to be repeated many more times during 2021 and beyond. These areas will need to be prioritized and addressed, but some of these changes might not be as painful as originally thought when it comes around to making changes, and indeed today’s ERP systems can rank variances at both entity and regional level as well as driving corrective actionable contextual workflows to further improve smoothness of operation.
Operational pain is fundamentally caused by the lack of two things which with modern technologies can be solved. These are practical compute power to drive the second, which is the ability to combine data sources such as Human Resources Management and Financial Management data with ultra-granular transformation for both qualitative and quantitative activities.
Practical compute capability is not to be confused with the potentially abundant compute power of your on-premise or cloud systems, but is more to do with the optimization of the process to efficiently execute them.
End to end reporting pack processes for financial month end and continual forecasting within or across locations are likely to show these weaknesses well and solving them would free time across entities on a repeatable basis. For example consider the time taken for the end to end production of your financial statements for both geographical or business segment reporting, and the date upon which these are available for management review.
Whether grappling to gain forward or backward visibility or focusing on initiatives involving net or gross margin improvements, the underlying fact remains that solving the two bottlenecks of practical compute power, plus ultra-granular transformation goes a long way to driving improvement right across the board to reduce process friction. This is to efficiently support both the finance & operational management functions that are constantly dealing with end to end transaction processing, decision support, controls, and management activities. All processes are auditable and repeatable.
Such financial business processes typically go across entities and have associated complexities to be sorted like differing currencies, varying year end dates, different business segment activities, and tags etc. To cap it all off the underlying data can originate from across multiple business applications from various vendors, as well as from digital ecosystems from other specialist providers like banks, FinTech providers etc. These all come together to form the backbone of today’s digitally enabled systems, where data within different accounting applications can come together in a controlled compliant way to drive value creation.
Technology is not the only prerequisite for success, and must be combined with both systems integration skills and change management expertise during execution, the complexities of which are sometimes overlooked in project preparation.
Time is of the essence in today’s volatile environment, but as always there is never enough of this precious commodity to go around. Through careful prioritization and leverage of latest compute and x-application data transformation technologies, then useful, repeatable and measurable gains in productivity from reduced data processing bottlenecks can be found. This in turn frees more time for driving other cost and time saving initiatives, noting that all ongoing processes can be further facilitated by our latest technologies that include simple or complex data rankings for priority setting and contextual actionable workflows for faster corrective actions. A game changer in this tougher operating environment!!