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The two 'must-have' trends CFOs should capitalise on — Gartner

Thu 9 Sep 2021

CFOs should place priorities on hyperautomation and intelligent composable business for ‘immediate action’, according to Gartner.

The data analyst company has today released a report titled Top 2021 Strategic Technology Trends for Finance, recommending the two trends as a buffer against fragmented and ill-considered technology approaches. If they wish to capture the full benefits of digitalisation, CFOs should consider them, Gartner says.

“These trends reflect the need for finance leaders to quickly and efficiently adjust to rapidly changing business conditions,” says Gartner Finance senior director of research Alejandra Lozada.

“Hyperautomation stresses the importance of moving away from manual and onerous processes to automated processes, which can be more easily adjusted to changing business conditions. 

“Similarly, intelligent composable business highlights the need for finance leaders to create flexible systems and capabilities that can be adjusted as needed.”


Hyperautomation

Hyperautomation will play a major part in reducing operational costs in the future, according to Gartner: by 2024, such costs will reduce by 30% simply through combining hyperautomation technologies with redesigned operational processes. 

Many CFOs have overused a single tool — robotic process automation (RPA) — falling into a trap where they are then unable to automate a large proportion of the finance process.

“CFOs must understand that RPA is just one part of the hyperautomation toolbox which also includes artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), event-driven software architecture, and intelligent business process management suites (iBPMSs), among other tools,” says Lozada.

CFOs can prioritise finance automation investments by creating multi-year roadmaps towards hyperautomation, including concurrent and aligned initiatives. They should also develop a business-led approach toward automation adoption by focusing on measurable improvements in business outcomes rather than automation-focused goals.


Intelligent composable business

50% of financial application leaders will incorporate a composable financial management system approach to their solution selection by 2024, Gartner predicts. The analyst firm defines a composable architecture as one where highly modular applications can be composed and recomposed to deliver capabilities and outcomes that keep up with the rapid pace of business change.

“Financial management system (FMS) solutions that encompass cloud core financial management, financial planning and analysis and financial close processes should become composable,” continues Lozada. 

“This will allow them to be acquired, assembled, composed, configured and personalised primarily by the finance staff who actually use them.”

As it’s highly modular, CFOs can benefit from this financial management architecture through its ability to be quickly reconfigured to meet business needs in a rapidly changing environment.

CFOs can further improve the ability to accelerate the implementation, operation and management of composable financial management systems by developing relevant finance competencies, such as data literacy, which facilitates data integration across a broad range of available sources.

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