Invest in tech to curb impact of Covid-19
Over 47 per cent of CFOs believe that their current finance function is not equipped to meet the demands the future will place on it
Organisations across the UAE and the Middle East region that took the time to invest in technology found themselves better positioned to tackle the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, experts said at the New Age Finance & Accounting Summit.
Presented by Khaleej Times, the summit brought together several experts to discuss the role that technology will play in the finance field.
Speaking in a panel session, Abdul Razzaq Al-Balushi, chief financial officer at Ooredoo, Oman, highlighted which technologies will play a key role in paving the way for a company's success.
"We have to focus on Big Data," he said. "And, we are all aware that Artificial Intelligence is the future of digitalisation and a leading element of the economy. Invest in technologies so that they can bring you a long-term return on your investment."
Rob Davis, VP of Solution Management at MicroStrategy, noted that organisations have had to rely on analytics as an integral part of navigating the Covid-19 crisis. Sharing some statistics, he said that over 43 per cent of organisations have placed analytics front and center in helping inform major decisions.
"Around 71 per cent of organisations are leveraging their analytics specifically to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic," he said. "In addition, over 43 per cent of organisations have had an impact on their analytics staff. Companies have to find more innovative ways to make money and for that they need to have analytics."
There are some challenges that all organisations will have to face, he added. One of them, he said, has to do with working remotely. "Gone are the days when you could just walk to the analytics department and ask a friend for a statistic that is necessary to making a decision."
Ramkumar Balasubramaniam, head of Finance - Middle East, Barclays Bank, revealed that 85 per cent of all finance teams are currently undergoing or planning finance transformation. However, only 30 per cent of finance transformation is delivering on the forecasted benefits to the business. This is why data driven decision making is key, he said.
"Finance should seize the opportunity to lead the way and adopt an agile operating model," he said.
Fawwaz Qadan, MEA region lead at Blue Prism, pointed out that the future of finance will revolve around both technology and people.
"Statistics show that 47 per cent of CFOs believe that their current finance function is not equipped to meet the demands the future will place on it, while 69 per cent see the finance leader role fundamentally changing," he said. "Also, 65 per cent of respondents say that standardizing and automating processes and building agility and quality into processes will be a significant priority for tomorrows finance functions."
He added: "In addition, 58 per cent of respondents say that combining state of the art technology with process improvement will be a major focus for the future finance function. Meanwhile, 67 per cent of respondents believe that improving business partnering between finance and the business as a major priority. Lastly, 57 per cent of respondents say that building skills in predictive and prescriptive analytics is critical for the future."
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