This article originally appeared in SAP Digitalist.

The power of the intelligent
enterprise provides businesses with a single source of truth. With advanced
analytics from next-generation technologies including blockchain, machine
learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and more, executive teams no
longer have to wonder whether their data—which they use to make vital,
business-changing decisions each day—is up-to-date or accurate.

For CFOs and financial teams, then, advocating for their business’ transformation into an intelligent enterprise should be a top priority.

The abilities of machine learning, a next-generation technology used among intelligent enterprises, are not unlike the role of financial leaders. Machine learning takes massive amounts of data and uses mathematical algorithms and high-speed computing power to generate patterns about this data that are dependable and accurate.

That data can then be used by the
technology itself, or a living person, to make a decision that the business
expects will provide the best possible outcome.

I view the role of financial leaders
similarly to the function of machine learning. As the CFO of SAP in the Asia
Pacific and Japan region, I get the opportunity to watch these financial
leaders in action every day. I’ve seen that they will always be regarded as the
bastions and custodians of the single source of truth.

As financial leaders, we must ensure
that we have strong financial controls—and controls around data generally—to
make sure that we are looking at the correct information. But then we have to
find ways of bringing it to other decision-makers.

This means that Finance has the
responsibility to provide insight to support decision-making. I believe, then,
that the intelligent enterprise can better enable Finance to perform this job
with technologies that provide unparalleled insight into data.

But once a CFO realizes the benefits
of the intelligent enterprise, what is their responsibility to provide strategic leadership for advocating for their business’s
transformation? Just like any other investment that could increase revenue and
growth, CFOs should shepherd their businesses as best they can with the benefits
of the intelligent enterprise.

However, there’s more to it than just
singing the praises of next-generation technologies. Financial leaders and
their teams have a responsibility to assuage employees’ fears about change. For
instance, they should get employees excited about how becoming an intelligent
enterprise can enable them to do more meaningful work while reassuring them
that it won’t take away their jobs.

I recommend these three tips for
financial leaders considering transforming into an intelligent enterprise.

Take Ownership

Don’t rely on someone else to run the
project. No one else is going to come along and transform your finance
organization or business—not for the better, at least.

Your transformation into an
intelligent enterprise needs business leaders to own the change and advocate
for their vision of the future. The intelligent enterprise may be powered
primarily by technology, but it needs you to win the hearts and minds of your
people and prepare them for change.

Build Confidence with Quick Wins

Make a case for the intelligent
enterprise by providing employees with something that will inspire confidence
in the transformation of their business. This can be as simple as thought
exercises that give them the opportunity to think about what they need in their
day-to-day activities.

What would their work look like in a
perfect world? What if they weren’t constrained by the current legacy system?
Let them discover that the intelligent enterprise might provide just that.

Create a Culture of Learning & Innovation

Once employees are thinking outside
the box about what might improve their daily work, encourage and foster that
innovation even further.

From there, employees’ ideas may
extend beyond their own jobs and turn them into advocates for change and growth
across the business—the perfect frame of mind for a thriving intelligent
enterprise. Reward this type of thinking, and it will reward your business
back.

Learn More

Register for InTheBlack in Singapore on May 15, hosted by
BlackLine, to hear more about how solutions and services from SAP can help your
business navigate this transformation toward intelligent finance.

Richard will be presenting a keynote called The Pathway to Intelligent Finance, focusing on emerging trends and key technologies including cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics.

The post CFOs & the Intelligent Enterprise: Custodians for a Single Source of Truth appeared first on BlackLine Magazine.