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Gone are the days where technology was just the guy in IT’s problem. Financial Managers are now having to wear more than just their finance hats – they are having to tackle technology decisions as well.
CFO’s and Finance Managers need to identify opportunities where technology can enable the finance function to unlock new business value in the future. This, on its own, is quite a new role for finance whose legacy function was to keep score of what has already happened.
This comes with an understandable feeling of pressure and often high anxiety, unfortunately it can often hold them back from embracing different technologies or it can cause those in finance to have a negative experience that is damaging for their business.
We work very closely with Financial Managers and have come to recognise the top 3 most common concerns when it comes to making technology decisions.
1. Fear of making the wrong decision
This fear is so deeply entrenched in us, and is further fuelled by the fact that one wrong move could be career ending, that it holds us back from adopting new or the right technologies.
Companies become less imaginative, they canvas other companies with similar demographics and do what they’re doing. However what this does is simply obfuscate any responsibility for their choices, and it still does not mean they’re going to make the right choice for their business.
Implementing new software can be a massive task that can take anything up to a year at great business financial cost, and the integration can be intensive on your in house IT resources, so be very sure your business actually needs it.
When moving between systems having a defined cutover and testing plan is a great way to reduce discrepancies and minimize loss of time. Using Excel and its analytical features is a great way to do system checks and reconcile between the old and new system. At e-magination we assist our customers reach their system implementation goals by providing these solutions.
If there are specific issues that you need solutions for partner with an external provider to take the workload off your business-as-usual or engage with them for smaller projects and solve your issues one at a time.
2. Making a responsible software choice
There is so much choice out there when it comes to tech and every service provider is working very hard to convince you that their software is the best. How do you choose software for your business responsibly?
My advice is to walk the floor; in order to really make a responsible choice you need to truly understand your business’ needs and culture. It’s great to get the buy-in of executives and IT managers but the real business value is in engaging a range of business users that actually use the technology. They know where the current tech is lacking and whether a new tech could bring value and match the company culture.
3. Not being able to walk away
Adopting new technology company-wide is often a huge and long-winded process, so often once you are on that journey there seems no way to stop it – but what if it’s not working?
A Gartner study stated that “66 percent of large-scale projects fail to achieve their stated business objectives, are delivered late, or are substantially over budget”. So having an exit plan can dramatically reduce the anxiety of adopting new tech. It involves clearly defining a list of non-negotiables that need to be met or you walk away from it.
In conclusion, make sure you create an environment where you can prototype the new software before making a concrete decision by using a scale to prove the concepts first. When e-magination builds analytical solutions for customers such as our Excel PowerPivot solution, we always prove the concept by first building on a subset of data to prove the customer benefits first as well as gain insight into any business challenges that were not obvious prior to starting a project.
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