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Technology has changed the way we do everything, so it should come as no surprise that we’re seeing more and more automation in the workplace. In fact, our CFO’s playbook for 2024 found that 68% of senior decision-makers said they are currently undertaking digital transformation. 

Traditional ways of doing business have shifted from tedious Excel sheets to cutting-edge technology, saving businesses a whole lot of time, money, and work. And with hybrid working looking like it’s here to stay, businesses are relying on software to keep teams connected and aligned more than ever before. 

But implementing these kinds of changes doesn’t happen overnight. Introducing new processes, software and tools can be lengthy, not to mention daunting. Digitally transforming how you and your teams do business requires work, from strategy to budgeting and continued maintenance. Here’s how to successfully implement new digital ways of work (and while you’re here, why not read how Vistair successfully did this?). 

One step at a time

Once you lift the lid on digital transformation, it’s likely you’ll realise just how many processes can be automated, freeing up time for your team to focus on more strategic work. But it’s crucial to take it slow and prioritise the areas that need digitising first.

Introducing new ways of working can take time. This is something Jamie Sargent, Manager of Presales Solution Consulting at Oracle NetSuite, shed light on at our recent Beyond event. 

“When people start thinking about adopting digital transformation, they think, ‘right, what systems need changing?’ They then start with one process and before they know it, they're looking at three or four or five across their whole stack,” Jamie said. “Don't try to boil the ocean, pick one or two [processes to automate], the low-hanging fruit – go for those and go for it.”

Strategy at the forefront 

As with any new process, you need a plan in order for it to be successful. Introducing a new way of doing things can be tricky business, especially if you’re altering an age-old process like expense management, for example. So, to begin, you need to have a defined roadmap with your main objectives outlined, as well as a defined success criteria. 

Your strategy should make sure the implementation of digital transformation is aligned with the company’s direction, mission and objectives. Make sure you question whether  the process is contributing to growth, budgeting, profitability, and any other measurements that are relevant to the business, company-wide. 

Get everyone on board (and aligned)

Introducing a new process is daunting. It requires a change of routine that might’ve been around for years. To make the change as smooth as possible, clearly communicate internal changes and provide training and support where needed for your teams. 

“There’s a long list of reasons why people are reluctant. I think we see emotional attachment to systems that people are using. It takes a lot of effort to move systems, to reflect on what processes we have and question if they're as good as they can be,” Jamie said. “As a finance person, I would say people in the industry can be generally risk averse, so I think the idea of change and the fear of the unknown is something that does need managing.”

It’s also worth considering the impact of these new processes when it comes to how it could affect company culture and general operational efforts. When outlining a strategy, be sure to monitor the risks at every corner. 

Keep your finger on the digital transformation pulse

Even with a well-defined strategy, the whole team backing the changes, and a clear list of prioritised processes to digitise, successful implementing digital transformation won’t happen without a sustained effort to maintain the changes. 

To do this, make sure you’re regularly getting your team’s feedback on the implemented new tools and processes and be sure to keep in-the-know of emerging technologies. Question what’s working and what isn’t in current market conditions.

Committing to digitising processes is the key to success, and in the long run, it could save your business time and money. Whilst this idea has been a conversation for over a decade now, being able to adapt to an ever-digital work is crucial, and businesses don’t want to be playing catch-up. The time is now to embrace the digital revolution with your team. 

The CFO's playbook for 2024

The CFO's playbook for 2024

Discover the state of spending in an increasingly automated and digitised financial world

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