Five Ways CFOs Can Improve Agility and Responsiveness

Most CFOs are focused this year on growth.  That is one of the primary findings from yesterday’s 2014 CFO Sentiment Survey conducted by the CFO Alliance.

It is an old adage that growth in sales covers a lot of problems in business.  Growing is great, but growing with an efficient organization is a primary concern of all CFOs.

One of the more difficult things to do is to improve operational agility or responsiveness. Many times when growth occurs, a company needs to staff up, train and assimilate those new employees into the team.  That takes time.  So companies are left with trying to operate faster with their existing processes and tools.

The 2014 CFO Sentiment Survey reports that:

76% rate improving responsiveness/meeting
customer expectations of importance when
asked to characterize their top operational
challenges for 2014″

How can CFOs impact responsiveness?

Embrace some of the best of breed, SaaS technologies that can supplement your existing ERP Systems.  These best of breed systems can drive phenomenal efficiencies in your organization.

Here are Five Ways SaaS technology adoption can speed organizational responsiveness:

1.  Reduces IT Complexity – a major issue for many organizations is that their IT staff has limited resources that slow down technology adoption and deployments IT  does not mean to slow things down, but they are limited in what they can do and must prioritize.  SaaS tools can be deployed with many times 80-90% fewer IT hours, placing the demands of implementation on your SaaS provider and your department subject matter experts.  Most SaaS tools can be fully implemented in 3-5 months.

2.  Broaden access to SaaS tools to a larger User base – SaaS tools are typically built on modern web-development tools that make them as easy to use as navigating Google or Amazon.  Why email requisitions to purchasing, just to have them re-key the requisition?  If purchasing has already negotiated deals with preferred vendors, push those choices out to the users and let them buy from your preferred vendor contracts.

3.  Choose SaaS tools with track records of integration – the days of highly complex integrations with your ERP systems is about over.  Many of the latest SaaS tools can easily interface with your ERP without a large team of consultants working for months.  You can eliminate time-consuming re-keying of sales orders from Salesforce.com to Intacct Accounting & Finance software..creating tremendous agility and cost benefits.

4.  Ensure Saas tools are Mobile Device friendly – many executives do not visit their office except at the beginning and ending hours of the day.  There are meetings, both internal and external that chew up the day.  With a mobile friendly SaaS tool, approvals can be managed wherever you are.  This will speed the agility of an organization to act on orders to hours and not days.

5.  Implementations are faster than the Decision Process – most SaaS tools can be implemented in days, not months.  In my experience, it takes organizations longer to go through a software purchase decision process than it takes to implement the technology.  If you have prepared a well thought out ROI achievement model, you are likely to achieve project payback in less than six months.  How many of those type of projects do you have on your desk today?

As the CFO, you can dramatically impact the pace of SaaS adoption by driving the decision-making process.  Organization agility can be a huge financial gain for a company.  You will need to get multiple departments to embrace the change…for financial gain benefits…not just departmental benefits.

Source data:  CFO Alliance: 2014 CFO Sentiment Survey, 1/9/2014

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