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Planning, Process, Communication: Q2 Roundtable Takeaways from the West & Midwest

Last week, we facilitated our Q2 Roundtable Series, “The CFO & Technology” Is the Future of Finance New Technology or New People?” in the West and Midwest. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, our East Coast Roundtables focused on three key themes: data analytics, efficiency and effectiveness. These themes were also prevalent in our remaining Roundtable, but attendees in these markets also brought to light other important concepts to consider.

Attendees in our Denver market emphasized the importance of planning and process. Reviewing the business case and mapping out the processes and procedures to ensure a smooth and effective technology implementation prior to selecting a vendor are key to a successful technology strategy. Our case study, Elizabeth Salomon, CFO of Xactly Corporation, shared that at Xactly they will do an internal audit on a quarterly basis to see what programs (i.e., Dropbox, Sharefile, Google Docs) their employees are using to consider the need and evaluate for a company wide rollout.  Attendees also discussed the benefits of involving employees of all different levels of the organization in the adoption, roll out and testing of the new technologies.

Effective communication was identified as a critical point in our discussion in Chicago, where Thomas Stewart, Executive Director of the National Center for the Middle Market, was our featured guest. Automation, specifically through robotic process automation and easily adaptable ERP systems, can accelerate and enhance technology implementations. Data was another big topic of discussion - specifically how to effectively communicate data to different audiences. Many attendees discussed how storytelling with the data is an engaging and relatable way to explain the impact of data to employees across their enterprises. Utilizing tools like the HBDI employee assessment and Crystal Knows are a few of the ways that attendees have been able to identify and understand employees’ communication preferences.

Bob Jacobson, West Region Consulting Leader at RSM, highlighted that alignment of technology and people is a necessity for digital transformation success at our Southern California Roundtable. CFOs are interested in reducing cost and driving efficiency through automation and outsourcing technology strategies. New technology initiatives must be lead from the top, with the C-Suite all driving organizational buy-in. Attendees discussed the adoption of an integrated digital strategy, which includes alignment of the customer experience, employee experience, digital products and digital operations.

Attendees in San Francisco discussed the importance of identifying the right data to inform their businesses. Data and information quality are people dependent and should be available in real time. People must gather and provide accurate data to get the information that they need from it. Our case study guest, David Wohlwend, VP of Finance At ModSquad, Inc., feels there is a need to hire employees with data science skills. The “analysis” component of the financial planning and analysis (FP&A) role is becoming increasingly important. Transitioning from legacy systems to future technology can be challenging and requires significant planning and managerial expertise, but the benefits generally outweigh the costs and resources when implemented effectively.

We will be hosting a Q2 Series Roundup Webinar on June 7th from 2:00 to 3:30 PM EST, where our featured case study guests and CFO Alliance Operating Team will give an overview of what was discussed and the key takeaways identified from each of our Roundtables over the past few weeks. Reach out to me at (215) 433-1800 or at steve.lezynski@thecfoalliance.com for more information.


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