In a modern, global business environment where competitors are constantly innovating, and start-ups are shaking up industries by using emerging technology in novel ways, the finance department has been under pressure to not only take care of the numbers but to innovate. CFOs are now being expected to lead the way and take a more strategic role to elevate finance beyond its traditional remit.
The balancing act
When it comes to new technologies, organisations have primarily invested in customer-facing solutions. But businesses focussing their efforts solely on more visible customer-facing capabilities are missing an important part of the smooth running of the organisation: business support functions. Without this investment, these organisations are slower and less accurate at forecasting and planning than organisations who invest equally in both.
A study from FSN Modern Finance Forum found that organisations that approach technology investment as a double-pronged approach find that they are better at nurturing innovation. These businesses are more easily able to share ideas and cross-organisation skills and are more willing to make mistakes as they grow: innovation is the top priority. The study also found that businesses that balance their customer-facing and business support functions face fewer obstacles like in-house politics or risk aversion, and they find it easier to spot talent to encourage further innovation.
Investing in customer-facing systems is more immediately noticeable to customers, but business support function investment is what will drive an overall better customer experience. Without this foundation, a unique omnichannel experience is almost impossible. By seeing both operational and financial data in one place, finance departments can have a superior, 360-degree view of the organisation—allowing data-driven decision-making, a more personalised customer experience and faster delivery of services.
Overcoming roadblocks on the path to innovation
Innovation in all forms requires a significant change, even if the finance function knows exactly what type of innovation it

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