"Be more agile" was a phrase that quickly took the forefront in the world of finance and accounting. Technology quickly became the saviour over the last year with digital transformation jump-starting the change in new ways of working.
Initially, businesses saw the migration to the Cloud as an incremental process. But the pandemic removed barriers and resistance to digital transformation. Adopting Cloud technology, keeping their teams safe, maintaining productivity, building remote teams, remotely onboarding new starters, and providing real-time reports daily all added to the evolution of the Finance Director during the pandemic.
What is business agility?
Business agility is best described as the ability to adapt rapidly and cost-effectively to an ever-changing environment. Agility has always been one of the central pillars upon which long-term, sustainable success is built, but the pace at which today’s environment changes has evolved so dramatically that agility is now a necessity rather than a luxury.
Agility underpins every aspect of business, from marketing and product development right through to how a business handles its finances and makes game-changing decisions. Gone are the days of on-premise monolithic systems, which are expensive to run, difficult to maintain and costly to upgrade. Instead, today’s organisations choose cloud-based platforms that allow for greater flexibility, agile Cloud automation, and intelligent data analytics that enable them to make rapid-fire judgments and instantly change direction.
Why is business agility important?
Today’s organisations are racing against one another to become as agile as possible. Not just because it makes day-to-day operations easier but because it has a measurable impact on the bottom line. McKinsey’s 'Enterprise agility: Buzz or business impact?' highlights some of the main outcomes of successful Cloud-based agile transformation. It includes the importance of employee engagement, better customer satisfaction, and an improvement of operational performance / resilience.
All of this, according to McKinsey, can lead to a 20-30% improvement in overall financial performance. This, however, comes with the caveat that agility is implemented successfully, holistically and with the right technology in place - and that’s where Advanced comes in.
How does Cloud computing bring in business agility?
The Cloud innately offers businesses more flexibility than a legacy on-premise solution. Instead of purchasing hardware and software that then needs to be maintained and upgraded manually, usually by a resource-heavy in-house IT department, a Cloud-based solution allows businesses to tap into an ecosystem that’s secure, always up-to-date, and able to scale with their needs. Instant access to real-time data allows finance teams to tap into the tools and information they need at anytime and from anywhere.
Unlike legacy IT estates, cloud-based computing is based almost entirely on a subscription-based economy.
For CFOs and Finance Directors, this allows you to easily forecast spend and anticipate cost increases in line with business expansion or the demand placed on your services. It also enables you to treat your entire IT ecosystem as OPEX instead of CAPEX, giving your business more financial agility and freedom.
While in the Cloud, your business will also be able to create, test and deploy new solutions more seamlessly and efficiently, particularly if you partner with a managed services provider such as Advanced. This advantage at the rollout stage will translate into a real competitive advantage that will enable your business to react to sudden environmental changes, such as consumer spending and behaviour. As companies struggled to adapt to the near-instant changes brought about by the pandemic, for instance, those harnessing the benefits of Cloud computing faired much better, demonstrating greater resilience. This is agility in action.
The benefits of agile Cloud automation
For a Cloud solution to fulfil its potential, a web of disparate functions needs to be brought together under one unified silo. From applying new network configurations that allow your IT infrastructure to grow to intelligently extracting data and using context to make it useable. Manually completed, these processes take time and resources that could be better spent elsewhere.
Thanks to Cloud technology, however, a great number of these tasks can be automated using certain rule-based parameters, only flagging for human intervention when absolutely necessary or a key decision needs to be made. Needless to say, this can have profound benefits for businesses when it comes to cost-saving and resource planning.
As we continue to face one of the biggest economic challenges of our generation, agility in decision-making is going to play a significant role in business survival. Our Cloud-based accounting software, Advanced Financials, is here to help CFOs and Finance Directors understand, predict, and weather the storms ahead, from an informed position.