When it comes to success, it’s all about growth. Virtually, every CFO is on the lookout for ways to drive growth and expand their business. Yet, deciding on which technology is best for your business, allocating budgets for a new technology solution, and sticking to the data and process you have are tough decisions. You may have implemented modern systems, enhanced your internal processes, and made investments in tons of other software and tools; it may feel like you’ve reached your goal, and that you can finally sit back, and reap the benefits. But the question is: are these efforts enough to sustain growth? As your business expands, how do you ensure you can skillfully manage more employees, customers, regulations, and markets?
The top technology challenges for the modern CFO
For the digital organization of today, technology adoption is no longer a question of ‘if’’, but ‘when’. Given the pace at which market trends are changing, customer needs are varying, regulatory frameworks are emerging, and new markets are mushrooming, embracing the latest technology is the only way you can meet the needs of customers, stay competitive, and emerge as winners. Yet, CFOs around the world are hesitant about new technology adoption; they are concerned about revenue growth within the organization, keeping up with the changing regulatory landscape, and meeting their financial goals while managing enterprise risks. Some of the top technology challenges for the modern CFO include:
Challenge 1: How do I decide which technology solution is best for my business?
Solution: No technology solution is going to act as a magic wand for all the problems your organization is facing. However, with proper planning and due diligence, you can find a solution that can leverage the business processes you’re using now – with some enhancements – and bring them together so everyone gets to easily view all the information they need to do their jobs better.
Challenge 2: My organization cannot afford an expensive enterprise system
Solution: Most enterprise systems today offer a variety of capabilities in distinct modules. So, the solution you choose doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. You can purchase the modules you think your business needs right now – and purchase others, as and when the need arises. This will not only ease the implementation process, but also allow you to evade a massive investment in one go as you can pay-as-you-go.
Challenge 3: I do not want to get rid of the data or processes we have currently
Solution: As a CFO, you would want to continue using the systems, processes, and data you have currently. While this is natural, you must think about including new features and making some modifications that will help you leap into the future. You have the option of moving to or implementing a solution that can easily migrate your existing data while offering new and better features.
What budget should you allocate for an enterprise system?
For the modern enterprise, the promise of an ERP solution that integrates and makes data instantly available throughout the enterprise is compelling. But given how expensive an ERP can be, especially for smaller organizations, before the new fiscal year, you need to think of setting a budget. Here are some factors you should consider when planning and allocating a budget for an ERP solution:
- The software license cost of the ERP solution
- User/device license costs based on the number of users likely to access the system
- The cost of the plan with various modules/features you choose to implement
- The investments you make in hardware and software so your existing infrastructure can support the new system
- Customization costs
- Costs of integrating the ERP system with existing and third-party systems
- Cost of the deployment model you choose – on-premises or cloud or hybrid
- Vendor cost for implementation and change requests
- Costs incurred for training users on how to use the system
- Ongoing support and maintenance costs
- Future costs as you take scalability considerations into account
What you need to know before investing in an ERP
Once you’ve made the decision to get an ERP on board, regardless of the industry you’re in or the size of your business, remember that ERP is a major investment, and demands substantial planning, time, effort, and the right outlook for success. Here’s what you need to know before investing in an ERP:
- Choose the right ERP
With so many ERP vendors in the market today, each offering a plethora of ERP solutions, choosing one that makes most sense for your business and its needs is important. If finding the right ERP is a challenge, you should begin with an ERP assessment, to better understand your needs, evaluate the options at hand, and make the best ERP decision.
- A big bang approach is a recipe for disaster
While you might be tempted to get done with the implementation in one go, the best way to get the most out of your ERP is by opting for a phased approach. Not only is it safer, and less expensive, it also allows you to enjoy benefits as they come, learn from your mistakes, and work on them before moving onto the next phase, or implementing the solution company-wide.
- It is ok to want to customize the solution, but don’t overdo it
There was a time when ERPs had to be heavily customized to meet the distinct needs of businesses across different industries. But customization makes the solution extremely difficult to manage and integrate. Thankfully, today’s ERPs are curated based on the industry, company size, feature-set, and more. All you need to do is some research, and in all probability, you will find an ERP that is made just for your unique business.
- You won’t accrue the benefits immediately
The ROI from any ERP implementation is hard to come by; so, don’t expect to see immediate improvements in productivity, business efficiency, or customer satisfaction. Since the implementation is complex, and takes months or even years, it is important to be patient, and drive efforts in the right direction to see a complete transformation in how your business operates.
- There will be resistance from your users, so make sure to have plans in place
Like with any major change, resistance or unacceptance is a given. Since your users are accustomed to certain systems and a general way of working, an ERP is often looked upon with fear and apprehension. Make sure to inform all your users about the upcoming implementation at the earliest; provide them with the required material, appropriate training, and onboarding experience so they can understand the benefits they will achieve from the new system, and address any concerns they have – in time.
- While wanting to implement the ERP on your own is natural, get an experienced partner on board
A lot of times, CFOs have a tough time getting budget approval for an ERP implementation. In such cases, they try to cut costs wherever possible, and one of the first things they decide on is implementing the ERP solution on their own. While you might think you have a highly capable in-house team, the benefits that an experienced partner can bring to your implementation is beyond compare – extensive knowledge on ERP software, years of experience in implementation, knowledge of best practices, robust plans for workarounds, industry knowledge, and more.
Role of Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations for CFOs
Today’s CFOs are grappling with a sea of challenges: unifying operations, making sense of humongous volumes of data, and driving higher productivity while ensuring growth and profitability. Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO) is a great way for CFOs to meet these challenges head-on. With capabilities that allow for discovering financial insights, managing cash flows, financial reporting across currencies, it is a great choice for CFO’s looking to navigate the ever-changing local and global regulation, and lead the business through strategic innovation. Here’s how D365FO can help CFOs:
- Offer a variety of KPIs, metrics, and charts to drive accountability and improve financial performance
- Unify global operations into a single system, unearth trends, and drive strategic innovation
- Meet global and local business needs, stay ahead in the regulatory race and turn compliance into competitive advantage
- Automate tasks across financial processes, budget planning and control and minimize operational expenses
- Act on financial intelligence and embedded analytics in real-time and improve revenue and margins
- Leverage flexible chart of accounts and quickly adapt to changing financial requirements and regulations
How you can drive profitability and growth with Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations
If you want to drive accountability, profitability and growth, real-time visibility into financial health of your business is a must. And that’s what Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations provides; not only does it allow you to delve into your past, it also enables you to use the insights gained to improve the decisions you make today and tomorrow. Here’s how you can drive profitability and growth with Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations:
- Manage finances
For global organizations operating with thousands of vendors, partners, and customers managing finances in real-time is a Herculean task. Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations provides you with data and forecasts to support your business decisions. It allows you to seamlessly manage myriad global financial operations – from a single screen – and monitor financial health across the globe. You can predict when invoices will be paid, and better allocate funds and spot credit risks in time to ensure robust long-term planning and daily performance.
- Unearth actionable intelligence
With data-driven decisions becoming extremely important, Dynamics 365’s built in machine learning and predictive analytics capabilities deliver informed projections to effectively plan for tomorrow while maximizing financial performance today. You can leverage powerful flexible tools to optimize daily operations and ensure long term growth and achieve multiple views of financial performance –bird’s eye view or drilled-down to the metrics of your choice.
- Ensure regulatory compliance
As the regulatory landscape gets increasingly complex, Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations allows you to manage compliance across every transaction in every locality. You can derive true business value through optimization and ensure ongoing compliance with regulatory frameworks, mitigate risks in time, and deliver timely reports to internal and external stakeholders
Drive innovation with Dynamics 365
As your company’s CFO, there’s a lot on your plate: from efficiently managing your company’s finances, to reporting, budget management, cost-benefit analysis and more. Add to it the need to prioritize your strategic initiatives. In all the major decisions that you are compelled to make as a CFO, one critical decision is investing in an ERP. For a growing business, an ERP solution can be a real asset; it can allow you to seamlessly manage your finances, unearth actionable insight across your cash flows, and drive innovation like never before. Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations is a great choice to operate your global business. By offering a range of capabilities, it reduces the cost and complexity of operating your business, while continuously safeguarding your data. It lets you invest in ERP with confidence and allows you to transform your day-to-day operations and to drive innovation.