Strategy Huron

Business Synchrony: Enabling Sustainable Finance Digital Transformation

Sponsored by Huron

A new eBook tells a story of how finance executives will thrive in their digital transformation initiatives.

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In the midst of a complex digital transformation project, it is all too easy to focus exclusively on vital technology implementation and overlook strategic planning, the people component, or the processes that will support the new system. Yet, successful digital transformations require the synchronization of these four core elements so that they work together in harmony, connecting disparate corporate functions and breaking down barriers. These advancements, in turn, enable the continuous innovation and evolution necessary to achieve the digital transformation that is required to compete in a rapidly changing environment.

The following eBook, published by Mario Desiderio, author, Huron leader in technology-centered improvement and recognized by The Consulting Report as a 2022 Top 25 Technology Leader, tells a story of how finance executives will thrive in their digital transformation initiatives.  

Digital transformation, as a concept, is not new. Thirty years ago, it was about embracing the idea that businesses needed a website. Today, it’s about integrating business capabilities with technology and harnessing the Internet of Things (IoT), robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) to develop a competitive advantage.

One of the most critical mistakes an organization can make is pursuing transformation in which the strategy becomes increasingly disconnected from the other elements of business synchrony as the project progresses. With outdated systems and processes, businesses are fated to consistently lose market share and will find it hard to compete for top talent. The opportunity for leaders lies in ensuring that the organization does not lose sight of its North Star goals while maintaining clear linkages to the people, processes and technology that support the effort.

In a world that is in a constant state of technological evolution, we are seeing brilliantly innovative solutions emerging in the market at a rapidly increasing pace. The rise of these advancements now enables companies to unlock a whole host of capabilities undreamt of in recent memory. However, it has simultaneously made the landscape increasingly difficult to navigate and understand.  Nonetheless, global spending on digital transformation continues to reach record highs year after year, yet most enterprises fail to yield any business value whatsoever from their digital transformation efforts, and even fewer achieve their expected business outcomes.

It is undeniable that digital transformation is no longer just a desire, but a requirement for companies in this increasingly competitive environment. Leaders must rethink their approach to digital transformation. They need to be asking themselves what changes must be made technologically and strategically, not just to survive but thrive in this era of complex business technology. With such a diverse range of prospective changes that can be made, there will never be a one-size-fits-all approach to digital transformation. However, we do see that for any business, by emphasizing just a few key areas of synchrony that are often overlooked, we can get monumentally closer to a truly optimized digital transformation.

The first step is establishing a clear, consistent vision of the ideal future state. This often encapsulates becoming less siloed and more centralized, utilizing data driven decision-making capabilities, and overall enhanced efficiency and insight. Process optimization can result in creating 20-40% in operational efficiencies. Data-driven decision making can achieve 20-40% in cost savings and increase the overall productivity of finance teams by 50%. However, while many organizations can identify these goals and understand how this improvement could occur, they often overlook the downstream implications of these changes. Implementing new technologies inherently mandates substantial process adjustments and existing organizational models often become obsolete. Failing to address these realities leads organizations to at best, underleveraging their new capabilities or at worst, erasing the positive impact of their digital transformation altogether. Therefore, it is paramount that organizations have an in-depth change management strategy in place and consider necessary changes to their organizational structure.

We can analyze the success of a digital transformation initiative by looking at two critical focus areas. First, we need to examine operational success factors: speed, utilization, and proficiency. Even if an organization flawlessly implements a complex system with advanced capabilities, it is of little importance if employees are not using it properly. As such, we must investigate the users’ rates of adoption, their overall utilization of new systems, and their level of proficiency in effectively leveraging their new capabilities. Second, we look at an initiative’s overall performance factors: achievement of transformation objectives, duration of delivery, and budget performance. Organization’s success in all of these focus areas varies immensely based on their commitment to change management.

Organizations that prioritize excellence in change management have been shown to experience in-line or better speed of user adoption, user utilization of new systems, and user proficiency of new systems at rates far exceeding those who did not. Moreover, we see the same disproportionate levels of success when looking at an initiative’s overall performance. Organizations that prioritize excellence in change management are far more likely to meet the objectives of their transformation, stay on or ahead of schedule and stay on or under budget than those who do not.

There is no end in sight to the development of revolutionary business technology, and it is easy for leaders to focus only on solutions’ cost and capabilities. However, if organizations want to optimize their digital transformations, it’s imperative they remember the processes and people behind the technology. Synchrony is the answer to success.

Download the full eBook today.