Microsoft in partnership with Harvard Business Review hosted a roundtable that targeted Chief Financial Officers (CFO) and Chief Operations Officers (COO) working in various organizations. This was with the aim of aim of educating and highlighting to them how advanced technologies are presenting unprecedented changes to their roles.
The event which was one in a series of meetings organized for customers in the country, provided insights into how the roles of these functions continue to evolve with the advances in technology. It also highlighted that they are tasked with driving corporate performance through the use of technology and setting their organization’s strategic technology roadmap powered by data.
Traditionally, the core roles of Chief Finance Officers and Chief Operations Officers have been cost reduction and sourcing of new revenue streams. However, courtesy of technology, a new role of exploring new opportunities has emerged. This disruption has been enabled through the integration of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, mixed reality, blockchain and the cloud.
Modern finance is now able to streamline, centralise and/ or outsource otherwise manual activities through robotic process automation (bots). This provides a mechanism to significantly reduce costs and errors while improving the quality and speed of internal processes. Similarly, machine learning is a critical tool for predicting outcomes and managing risk. Organisations can use this technology and solutions like Microsofts Cortana Intelligence Suite across the organisation to stay ahead of the curb internally.
In terms of risk management, organisations are also able to harness the power of the cloud to create early warning systems and tools that assist in proactively managing risk. To remain competitive and foster an environment that is agile to the change brought about by digital transformation, finance executives must lead their companies to reach goals concerning growth, profitability and productivity. This is important as they implement advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and cloud.
Geoffrey Mathare, Finance Lead for Enterprise Business for Microsoft North, West, East & Southern Africa, Levant & Pakistan countries, had this to say, “The role of today’s CFOs and finance executives must take into consideration a much broader scope requiring a heightened technological sophistication. The emergence of the digital age is fundamentally changing the priorities and roles of today’s finance executives, and security forms an integral part of this.”