Digital Disruption and the change ready business

Digital Disruption
The Five Forces of Digital Disruption and How CFOs Can Stay on Top of Change

Laurent Dechaux,
Vice President Digital Finance at Oracle @LaurentDechaux


Forget concrete plans. This is the age of the change-ready business

Speaking at our Modern Business Experience summit in London, Oracle VP of ERP and EPM Cloud, my colleague Steve Cox traced today’s environment of digital disruption back to five key drivers:

Driver 1: The global talent shortage

According to Cox, 70% of finance leaders have concerns about their human capital. It’s becoming increasingly hard to find the right people with the right skills at the right time.

Driver 2: The rise of the robots

Industrial robots that would have cost $1.5 million five years ago are available for $10K today, and more companies are investing in response. Sales of robots in Asia jumped 70% between 2010 and 2015, according to the World Robots Report, and American companies installed some135,000 industrial robots over the same period.

Driver 3: The changing shape of the labour market

 How can we recruit today for the jobs that might disappear in 5 years? That’s a challenge. 

It’s a harsh reality, but according to the World Economic Forum over 5 million jobs will be lost to changes to the job market by 2020, particularly those that involve predictable, physical labour.

As Cox puts it, “How can we recruit today for the jobs that might disappear in 5 years? That’s a challenge”.

Driver 4: Customer expectations are rising, exponentially

In the social media age, businesses have never been more subject to customer expectations for speed and service quality. 53% of consumers expect a response within an hour of reaching out to a brand on Twitter.

Driver 5: The volatility of business models

We’re seeing product manufacturers start to sell services, IT hardware companies provide content and even young sharing economy leaders branch out their offering. No matter their industry, companies in this environment need the infrastructure to adapt and evolve quickly.

Becoming a change-ready organization

 The building blocks of organizational change: A guide for the Modern Finance Leader. 

For a company to redesign its approach so it can better manage change, it needs both clear goals and the right systems to absorb inevitable surprises along the way. At Oracle, we wanted to refocus our business on delivering capabilities through the cloud, which required us to revamp our sales process to make the buying experience faster and easier for our customers.

As Cox admits, “The notion of an Oracle customer being able to complete a transaction within 24 hours was a dream a year ago”. Today, some 70% of our cloud deals are completed in less than 48 hours. Crucially for us, rather than spending six months negotiating an implementation our sales team is freed up to keep growing the business.

Start simple

 At Oracle, we wanted to refocus our business on delivering capabilities through the cloud. 

Where companies occasionally struggle with digital transformation is that they jump to innovation without first re-examining their fundamental processes. Speeding up an antiquated approach is just a faster path to failure.

It’s crucial to simplify before you speed up or automate. As Cox says, “there is only one best process”, and that’s the one companies should be aiming for. It’s also important to standardize processes so they’re the same across the business – consistency is as important for employees as it is for customers, and is one of the biggest drivers of efficiency.

Plan for “what if?”

From unexpected political developments to disruptors that continue to challenge established business models, companies must be ready for anything and flexible enough to shift strategic gears.

Finance teams need to be able to model and test many scenarios quickly and with a high degree of integrity. Only then can they can develop a robust plan for each possible outcome.

Today’s CFO sits at the strategic helm of the organization and is being asked to navigate a host of new challenges and uncertainties. At the same time, they need to find keep finding new to run their departments effectively and quickly, all at a lower cost. Our own research found that 53% of finance leaders say more is being asked of them now than ever.

 

“Consistency is as important for employees as it is for customers, and is one of the biggest drivers of efficiency.”

Tougher times have elevated the role of placed CFOs at the heart of business strategy. This is by no means a time to be reckless, but those finance leaders who help their organisations navigate change with authority will be instrumental in securing their continued success.

Oracle’s Modern Business Experience comes to Paris on 29 March