Lead story - What are the top five priorities for the modern CFO?
Ten years ago, CIOs faced the imperative to move beyond administrative functions (keeping the lights on). In recent years, that's expanded to the entire C-suite, including the spreadsheet-and-compliance-beleaguered CFO. Brian shares his top CFO priorities in Adding up five modern, relevant priorities for today's CFO:
A recent client has been CFO at his firm for almost 15 years. In that time, the company had grown 3X but no accounting technology improvements had been made. Furthermore, the company had to pass on two potential acquisitions as the firm realized its systems and people could not handle the increased transaction volume. In all that time, only one thing had changed: the number of spreadsheets in use had grown exponentially.
Ouch! So what needs to change, Brian? He challenges CFOs: What will your legacy be when you retire? CFOs should leave their workplaces:
- Fully Digital and Paperless
- A Place that People Want to Work For
- Scalable (Up and Down)
- Spreadsheet Free
- A Fountain of Business Insights and not a Documenter of Prior Business Transactions
I don't think we're at a "fountain of business insights" yet - so there's a worthy challenge to tackle. So how are we going to get there? Brian lays out his five CFO priorities. I won't run them all down here, but here's a few action items for the forward-thinking CFO:
- Metrics that measure the effectiveness of programmatic ad buying (e.g., web advertising, job listings, etc.).
- Continuing and increasing productivity gains via RPA.
- New metrics for new business models.
- Tracking competitors and their products across social sentiment and other big data
- Effectiveness of radically reimagined processes and the tools that are bringing these to life.
That should keep finance teams busy for a while - and there's more where that came from.
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- Checking out the Co-op's headless commerce strategy - a co-operative approach with Amazon, Deliveroo and Salesforce - How do you navigate the Amazon-dominated commerce world? With some heavy-duty partnership, including Amazon itself. Madeline on the case: "It was here that Co-op’s role as a last mover in the e-commerce grocery space became an advantage, as the firm had no legacy technology to deal with."
- COP 26 - is the tech industry really being incentivised to tackle climate change? - Derek gives his initial take from the UNFCCC DEFRA COP26 Technology for Climate Action Conference: "Sustainability and climate responsibility are clearly seen as important, but ultimately most of the companies on stage are measuring success by the returns that are delivered to shareholder." That's a tough dilemmas, but a good one for attendees to grapple with.
- COP26 - mistrust in data means it's not easy being green - For those firms that want to take serious steps, Madeline shares SAP data on how to get there: "The problem facing firms is getting systems in place to help them introduce and measure green targets. When asked what were the main barriers for their company taking action to improve the planet’s environment, the top response was not understanding how to embed sustainability into business processes and IT systems." Look for that to change in the next couple of years - a number of sofware vendors are (finally) pushing into this.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- Salesforce data - connected shoppers have higher expectations for what they demand from retailers in the Vaccine Economy - Stuart parses the latest Salesforce retail data: "Sure enough, retailers expectations of what they need to keep focused on post-pandemic - whenever that might be - is dominated by fulfilment flexibility. BOPIS leads on 73%, followed by ship-from-store (68%), online returns to store (68%), curbside pick-up (67%) and same day delivery from store (65%)."
- Coupa CIO on the importance of taking the long view as an IT leader - Phil shares how Coupa's own CIO approaches leadership, strategy - and software purchases.
- Will partners and SIs buy into customer success KPIs, or not? SAP Executive Board member Scott Russell weighs in - In this diginomica exclusive, I continue my series on debunking and rebooting customer success by sharing this dialogue with SAP.
More vendor picks, without the quips:
- Freshworks turns in strong revenue numbers in first post-IPO earnings release - Stuart
- CEO Bill McDermott points to a new era for ServiceNow - Derek
- 'Lumpiness' weakens Rimini Street Q3, but changes are underway - Stuart
A few more vendor picks, during a brief break in our fall show coverage:
- A Frictionless Enterprise perspective on supply chain planning - Phil extracts the frictionless lessons from the Kinaxis "Big Ideas in Supply Chain" event.
- Do cloud ERP vendors have a supply chain analytics edge? Steve Miranda makes the Oracle Fusion Analytics case - Steve Miranda gives me his take on an issue that matters to customers - pure-play analytics or package deal?
- Talend seeks to tie business outcomes to healthy data with latest release - Derek breaks out a slew of Talend news, all tied to data health and improved user adoption.
Jon's grab bag - Mark Samuels filed a couple fresh use cases - I liked George Best Belfast City Airport uses hyperconvergence to reach new heights in IT operations. Finally, Stuart unfurled our
chance to yell at "smart" machines that screw up our orders glorious fast food futures in McDonald's looks to supersize its AI prowess via a new partnership with IBM - Count me amongst the "AI will make your drive through experience better" skeptics, but - interesting nonetheless.
Best of the enterprise web
My top seven
- Making machine learning more useful to high-stakes decision makers - MIT reports on a human services use case where making ML user-friendly (and more trustworthy) is the focus.
- Having a single cloud provider is so last decade - Up to this point, "multi-cloud" was more of a cool idea than a viable practice - especially for shifting workloads easily between clouds. But is that starting to change? Joe McKendrick reports on a study of more than 7,000 C-Suite executives: "Only three percent reported using a single private or public cloud in 2021, down from 29% in 2019, the survey finds. Avoiding vendor lock-in was the prime motivation for moving to multiple clouds."
- The Number One Thing to Assess About Your Customers - Gartner's Hank Barnes on a new study that generated some real surprises: "The one thing you want to know about your prospects is the organizational attitude toward change. You can then also assess strategic value of technology. And then discover other attributes."
- The Problem with Microsoft Teams and Enterprise Collaboration. With Jokes and Sociobiology - Josh Greenbaum has some (major) bones of contention with Microsoft Teams. But his critique of collaboration goes further: "Don’t forget about process debt and process management: Collaboration is the graveyard of dead processes, which is to say there’s a lot of poorly designed collaborative processes that have basically proven how poorly we understand collaboration." There's only one problem with Greenbaum's critique - which I'll get to in the whiffs section.
- ‘System Error’ Warns Against the Dark Side of ‘Optimization’ – The critique of big tech goes beyond Facebook's latest woes.
- Why Facebook Shutting Down Its Old Facial Recognition System Doesn’t Matter - Speaking of Facebook's woes...
- How AI digital twins help weather the world's supply chain nightmare - This one almost went into fhe whiffs section - I'll get to that next.
So some ex-jail employees are getting sued for making convicts listen to the children's song "Baby Shark" on repeat. That does seem cruel and unusual...
I won't call this tragic, but it is a setback of expectations:
The 'Locked Ness Monster': Glasgow police 'arrest Nessie' ahead of COP 26 protest https://t.co/7fxmFwQUQx
-> I was hoping the long-awaited discovery of Nessie would have a bit more dignity than this :)
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) November 7, 2021
Meanwhile, as for Facebook's supposedly progressive gesture:
If anyone thinks this is a privacy victory, I've got some swampland for you to look at, over in Meta county..... https://t.co/pytACh4t6N
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) November 6, 2021
Josh Greenbaum railed against Teams, and rightfully so, but he keeps sending me Teams invites:
The Problem with Microsoft Teams and Enterprise Collaboration. With Jokes and Sociobiology https://t.co/yEb01Ugw0U
"Teams is without a doubt the app I use the most that garners the most complaints when I use it."
-> I got a Teams invite from author @josheac this week :)
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) November 6, 2021
I'm not sure I can help with this level of self-inflicted dystopianism, but I did offer to get Greenbaum a Zoom subscription for the holidays....
Remember that digital twins-and-AI article? It was an okay article, but here was my beef:
How AI digital twins help weather the world’s supply chain nightmare https://t.co/VUq6Sjxxpt
This article was originally titled "How AI could solve supply chain shortages and save Christmas" - which is exactly the opposite of what the article actually says....
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) November 6, 2021
If retailers are going to save the holidays, they'll need more than AI this year. I'm not sure why MIT felt the article needed another truckload of hype, but there you have it. Kurt Marko nailed it down:
So its the classy cognoscenti version of clickbait.
— Kurt Marko (Live long and prosper 🖖) (@krmarko) November 6, 2021
Pretty much Kurt, pretty much. See you next time...
If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses - in a good or bad way - let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does. Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed.