1. WORKING AS WE WERE EVEN 5 YEARS AGO IS NO LONGER ENOUGH
Disruption is a common theme across a wide range of industries. Not for profit organisations currently face a large change to the way people want to donate to their favourite charities according to Alistair Brown(3). Visibility and a degree of power into where the money donated will end up has seen more engagement e.g. down to the exact hut the money will be spent on.
The Higher education system currently suffers from discrepancies between supply and demand resulting in graduates leaving with top degrees to markets where few are managing to land a job e.g. law according to Mark McNamara(4). Questioning areas that have previously never been done so is important for inspiring innovation and change.
Uber for trucks was an example given by a delegate as their new service which is already making an impact. This is a brilliant example of a market observing disruption elsewhere and reapplying it across to another industry. This could have interesting ramifications for the wholesale and distribution market.
2. THE SKILLS YOU NEED AS A CFO AND HOW IT RELATES TO INNOVATION (NOT CREATIVITY)
Traditional skills given as examples by a panel(5) of experts such as trust, reliability, accuracy and the ability to reduce risk even after a catastrophic event are a good start. But there are new areas for reflection taking into account this new age of disruption means innovation needs to be either managed internally or externally via ‘jumping on the band wagon’ and possessing a talent in dealing with the fine balance between financial stewardship and innovation is necessary(6). Another skill also raised by Sandy Chakravarty is the ability to analyse data and bring insight into the performance of the business.
Thinking of the finance team and function not just as a valuable source of ideas on how to cut costs but also as a potential engine to generate thoughts on how to improve revenue was offered in Dr Ralph Kerle7’s seminar.
3. USING TECHNOLOGY EXPERTS IS VITAL
Ken Matthews(8) raised an interesting point about the need to use technology experts when implementing systems at the risk of sinking a great deal of money into a venture with little chance of reward. While I would certainly agree with this to be true, as we see often in Business Intelligence implementation, it is also necessary to form a partnership between your internal staff (and their unrivalled industry and business knowledge) and the technology experts who are key to coordinating and pushing the project to completion. Very open lines of communication with clear expectations and deadlines is critical.
The reason most cited for not implementing a system is lack of time. Ensuring your organisation has both the correct and necessary tools to complete their daily work but also those intended to aid productivity and inspire innovation is becoming fundamental. Using technology experts who have proven experience could save a lot of time.
4. ERP ALL THE SAME?
Ken Matthews(8) mentioned all ERP software systems being similar, and that a good cloud based system is perfectly fine. While I do prescribe to the idea that installing a solid good-fit ERP system is now a necessity rather than necessarily a competitive advantage, finding the correct fit for your business is not as easy as choosing a cloud based solution because it is ‘trendy’. I would suggest searching for an ERP based on your circumstances while thinking in terms of growth and longevity with a demonstrated plan for innovation to the software being a new element to consider.
5. HOW CAN YOU BUILD AN INNOVATIVE YET STABLE ENVIRONMENT?
It is not enough to pull data from various systems and build simple graphs and charts for review. To cope with the turbulent landscape now faced by all industries a coherent strategy for embracing change is needed which satisfies the need to minimise risk. Start by understanding your current position and what is working effectively first. After reaching this point, you are in a position to channel ideas and make insights into areas for innovation; all while doing so with the data acting as evidence to back up strategies.
Business Intelligence is a great support for this as your data will reflect the external environment in which it operates. Achieving higher value insights into your data which have a noticeable return on investment (ROI) is an area which should be explored. Finding key instances for innovation or, for example, spotting changes to revenue are flags for moves made by potential disruptors or competitors.
If you would like to discuss further and explore what Endeavour Solutions can do for your business, be sure to contact us on 1300 583 097.
Be mindful there are a great deal of buzzwords circulating, for example ‘cloud’ ‘rewriting’ and ‘blockchain’. The key is not to let yourself or your organisation get overwhelmed. Innovation is a risk but with your data as your source, often you can create an environment of calculated risk to the future great benefit of your business.