TechUK recently published a guest blog by Tim Vine, European Head of Finance Solutions – Dun & Bradstreet.
Background: Dun & Bradstreet partnered with the Chartered Institute of Credit Management to understand how finance and credit leaders are embracing automation, as well as identifying potential barriers to successful implementation.
Automation is a buzzword that’s preoccupied the minds of business leaders for years. Promising a wealth of opportunities and benefits, from reducing inefficiencies to promoting better growth, but also prompting concerns about workloads and employee retention.
Automation is now a crucial component of any digital transformation strategy, and will help maximise the full potential of staff, data and technology. Not only this, but it’s become vital to meeting the increasing expectations of banking and financial service customers.
However, automation can only be successful if the data, information and technology being utilised and analysed is reliable, accurate and relevant. With the volume of data businesses are grappling with continuing to skyrocket – to the tune of over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day – it’s more difficult than ever for an organisation to process, understand and develop insights from this overwhelming volume. Worse, most businesses aren’t managing it well.
Embracing the automation opportunity
Dun & Bradstreet recently partnered with the Chartered Institute of Credit Management to understand how finance and credit leaders are embracing automation, as well as identifying potential barriers to successful implementation.
Eighty seven percent of those surveyed believe automation will improve their function’s efficiency in the next three years. Of those surveyed, 83% are currently using some form of automation within their team processes and believe automation is improving efficiency by giving employees more time for value-added tasks. Billing (43%), credit scoring (36%), reporting (30%) and collections (30%) are listed as the top processes currently being automated in the finance function today.
For those that are automating, there are a number of advantages from integration of processes to eliminating repetitive manual tasks to improve productivity. Simply put, successful automation means people can spend less on time on administration and more time on value-added activities and strategy.
The majority of respondents believe that having comprehensive and reliable data is key to successful automation. More than 67% cited reliable data as the #1 requirements – even more vital than integration with other systems, time and budget. And they’re absolutely right. Organisations driven by data and insights are 39% more likely to report year-over-year revenue growth of 15% or more, while companies with advanced data strategies are twice as likely to report more than 30% revenue growth.
Addressing automation challenges
However, while many are already embracing automation, 62% of finance leaders who took part in our survey are automating less than a quarter of their existing processes. While reliable data is the top success factor, achieving successful integration of multiple systems and tools is a significant barrier along with securing funding and budgets, and convincing senior decision makers to make investment in automation a priority.
Ultimately, implementing successful automation is about ensuring that a business is employing the right technology, while understanding which processes will benefit from automation, and having a grasp on the data required The truth is that none of the benefits of automation – cost savings, added value, scalable processes, greater efficiency or effective risk management – can be realised without a foundation of reliable data.