5 Keys to Staying Ahead of the Technology Curve with AI and Process Automation
In today’s increasingly data-heavy finance arena, process automation is no longer a luxury. It’s a necessity. Data management, reporting, financial statements, forecasting, and analytics all depend on real-time, relevant data. But trying to juggle all of those processes manually is both time-consuming and constitutes a recipe for errors you can’t afford.
Automation technology tools help you streamline labor-intensive financial processes, freeing your finance pros to make strategic decisions without drowning in data. Letting technology take the reins on routine reporting tasks empowers your organization to save time, improve accuracy, and reduce risk. These benefits segue into ROI-boosting outcomes like better accuracy, reduced operational costs, compliance peace of mind, and real-time insights that support better decision-making.
Technology Trends: Shaping the Business Landscape
The purpose of technology innovation and automation is to enhance speed, efficiency, and accuracy, support competitive advantage, and empower better business decisions. With the right digital tools and solutions, you can reduce risks like outdated data, errors, unnecessary complexity, and declining ROI.
But how do you know which technology makes sense for your business? Deloitte recommends keeping your finger on the pulse of innovation in these areas:
- Business Intelligence (BI) – Business intelligence tools harness data to improve visibility and decision making. They can help you boost efficiency and transition away from manual, error-prone solutions like spreadsheets and offline data storage. Today’s tools can also be integrated into more comprehensive solutions to support task automation and streamlined analytics and reporting.
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – RPA tools use AI to manage data, support supply chain efficiency, and crunch numbers for analytics and forecasting. By removing the grunt work of manual tasks, RPA can free your workforce to focus on high-value opportunities. RPA can also help you automate routine, repeatable tasks so you can engage your talent more effectively and supercharge your growth efforts.
- Natural Language Processing (NLP) – Many organizations already use NLP, even if they don’t know it. NLP is the technology that powers email filtering, smart assistants, predictive text, and text analytics. It is a useful tool for reducing human workloads in these areas, but it cannot perform human functions like handling unexpected factors, addressing complex issues, or making judgment calls. As you consider which tools and platforms to implement, consider how NLP is integrated and whether it could improve efficiency and productivity across your finance department.
- Machine Learning – Machine learning uses algorithms, patterns, and historical data to analyze and make predictions. Because it is able to incorporate new data points rather than just those that are programmed, machine learning has the potential to assist with more complex operations like conversations (chatbots) and predictive analytics.
- Generative AI – Generative AI is a truly disruptive function that is already transforming not only the finance industry, but also the business landscape as a whole. We’ve all seen the potential available within ChatGPT, and as more providers develop their own tools you can expect to see more solutions on the market soon. Already, companies like Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Apple are exploring options for using the technology to create text, images, video, and code. Keep an eye on new developments in this space to see how generative AI could deliver competitive advantage in the future.
5 Keys to Staying Ahead of the Curve
We are on the brink of a technology revolution, with AI leading the way. To keep your competitive edge in this ecosystem, it’s crucial to stay at the forefront of innovation. Invest in tech where it can deliver measurable value and look for chances to automate and standardize.
Here are 5 recommendations to help you build a future-ready technology strategy.
- Identify Friction Points – Look for points of friction in your workflows, especially areas where employees still resort to manual processes, outdated tools, or workarounds. These are the inflection points where automation can help you reduce workloads, improve efficiency and accuracy, and ensure data quality.
- Prioritize Clean, Integrated Data – If your data still resides in multiple systems that can’t talk to each other, you won’t be able to generate reports and insights efficiently. Invest in updated systems and processes to break down these data silos, standardize data collection and storage, and support data visibility.
- Build Your Tech Team Strategically – Implementing and managing new technology effectively will require unique skill sets, including the ability to adapt to new innovations quickly. As you evaluate your tech talent, look for tech skills like design thinking, data analysis capabilities, and project management, as well as soft skills like collaboration, agility, problem-solving, and resilience. Build agile teams with the ability to integrate new ideas and develop field-relevant skills in the future, not just specific skills like programming languages and software (which may be obsolete in a few years).
- Upgrade Foundational Tech – As technology tools change, so will the foundational tech needed to support them. Last-gen ERPs may not be able to integrate with next-gen AI tools, so be sure your tech stack can support new technology both functionally and in terms of security. Don’t overlook cybersecurity as an integral part of your technology strategy, especially in terms of access controls and threat detection.
- Commit to Continual Innovation – Remember, technology transformation isn’t a one-time event; it’s an ongoing investment that should be woven into your tech strategy. Staying tuned in to the latest innovations is one of the smartest moves you can make to establish and sustain your competitive edge. Don’t fall behind the curve!
Ready to upgrade your tech stack? Whether you need project management support, digital strategy consultation, or interim CFO services to help you achieve your vision, we can help! Contact us today to learn more about our services or to request a demo of our innovative analytics platform, EdgeVu.