I recently attended our Digital Innovation in Finance webinar featuring analyst Ray Wang from Constellation Research and FinancialForce’s Kevin Roberts. As you’ll see in the video below, it was an insightful discussion around how the digital transformation is changing business landscape and what finance must consider to adapt to this shift towards the recurring revenue model.
I spent some time with Kevin Roberts after the webinar to get his takeaways from the engaging session.
1. Kevin, what were a few observations that stood out during the webinar?
I was pleasantly surprised that it was so well attended. To me, the interest from managers and directors in finance reaffirmed digital transformation isn’t just hype — it is very real, and it has captured the attention of the finance department. It was encouraging to see the volume of financial professionals watching this trend and realizing the need to adapt to this period of rapid change.
Something else that stood out were the poll results during the webinar (see graphs below). I was half expecting attendees to say no, we are not expecting our business model to change, and I was really expecting to hear that it will be business as usual for the foreseeable future and that digital transformation is just hype. But what we learned from the poll results: 28% keeping existing models but adding some services and 21% expecting a significant shift to drive additional recurring revenue, showed digital transformation is impacting businesses and finance will be front and center to help the organization adapt to these changes.
2. How about the 2nd and 3rd poll questions? What do those numbers imply?
Those numbers must be a bit worrisome for finance because they imply that finance is still spending much of their time producing backwards looking reporting and crunching numbers when what they’ll need to do in the digital transformation era is much more forward looking, with much more complexity and in greater volume. As the volume of transactions multiply in the new digital economy, current reporting vehicles are going to hold their business back. If finance cannot spend time chasing and reconciling transactions– these tasks must be automated for finance to act more strategically to help their business grow.
3. What do you hope the attendees walked away with?
I hope the audience walked away feeling that doing nothing is not an option and business as usual will put them in a disadvantage and hold them back from new opportunities. However, that said, I felt very optimistic after the webinar because it is clear the finance function is paying attention to things like digital disruption and IoT. They long to understand what tools are out there to help them succeed! However, the data from the 2nd and 3rd polls also showed the way many businesses use finance is still tactical, reactive and hasn’t evolved much in the last 20 years. I expect to see that changing rapidly in the next few years as the modernized finance department will become a competitive advantage of organizations in this great period of innovation!