Revolutionizing marketing operations and customer experience for Central Finance

     CASE STUDY

   Revolutionizing marketing operations

   and customer experience for

   Central Finance

Central Finance (CF) is a leading licensed finance company in Sri Lanka founded in 1957, with an asset base exceeding Rs 114 billion and offering a diverse portfolio of services including savings and deposits, loans and advances, credit cards, insurance, and leasing. The company services over 170,000 customers across all regions of the island, from Colombo to Trincomalee and from Jaffna to Matara, via 103 branches and over 1,700 staff.

Central Finance Logo
  • Improve customer satisfaction

Agents were able to track customers’ historical data and engagements when responding to inquiries, thereby catering to their needs on a personal level and improving customer satisfaction.

  • Enhance sales team productivity

With a 360-degree view of customers, agents were able to keep track of past activities, follow up on leads and grow/convert opportunities, while getting recognized and receiving incentives internally.

  • Increase marketing campaign performance

The optimized processes helped generate a higher return on digital marketing investments, create customer loyalty through superior campaign performance, and unlock real-time performance decisions during critical campaign cycles.

  • Streamline business processes

By enabling multiple options such as sending notifications to the customer, sending follow-up emails, and passing complaints to higher management, the entire complaint management process became more efficient and user-friendly.

THE CHALLENGE

Central Finance has multiple systems for different business units; owing to this, customers’ historical data, interactions, engagements, and inquiries from different mediums such as social media, messages, and physical visits were scattered and not connected to a centralized database. As a result, they faced the following issues:

  • Inability to create a seamless customer experience
  • Limited capabilities for targeted promotions
  • Difficulties in measuring team productivity

SOLUTION OFFERED

Central Finance’s main requirement was to consolidate all existing systems into a centralized platform and streamline processes to get an overall view of its customers. Owing to its BFSI industry experience, technical knowledge, implementation experience, and relationship with the customer, MIT ESP was able to suggest the implementation of Sales Cloud and Service Cloud to integrate all systems, and Oracle Marketing solutions to improve visibility into their customer base and get a unified view of marketing prospects.

Implementation of Sales Cloud and Service Cloud

The Sales Cloud and Service Cloud solution helped CF to reduce inefficiencies in its processes and to generate more leads and opportunities. In order to integrate all customer touchpoints, MIT ESP recommended implementing Cisco call center integration, which would also allow agents to retrieve all information, past interactions, and past contracts to get a 360-degree view of a customer.

Implementation of the Oracle Marketing solution

The Oracle Marketing solution helped CF to improve visibility into their customer base and get a unified view of their customers. The Social Relationship Management solution implemented by MIT ESP provided an analytical view of Central Finance’s social media presence and connected all platforms to one solution, which allows them to identify customer preferences and trending topics in order to enhance the customer experience.

The Zero Trust approach to Cyber Security

The Zero Trust approach to Cyber Security

Given the higher volume and velocity of cyberattacks owing to an increasingly hybrid workforce, enterprises must always be prepared to protect their data in the event of an attack. The Zero Trust approach to cybersecurity has become one of the most popular means of safeguarding communications and data.

Why do enterprises need to rethink their network security?

The traditional approach to cybersecurity was to identify and implement specific remedies to defend against every potential danger and attack. To achieve this, organizations have deployed a variety of solutions, such as Web Application Firewalls (WAFs), firewalls for network security and end-point protection for malware. According to an independent study by IBM, today’s businesses have implemented an average of 45 security solutions across their networks. This traditional method creates a security gap in interoperability between tools. Moreover, there are unnecessary overlaps between multiple devices or software each being paid for through its own licensing – simply put, too many solutions from too many vendors.

Why do enterprises need to rethink their network security?

Cybersecurity relies on trust. As technologies evolve, new ways of trusting connections/users/devices emerge, either directly or indirectly. As a result, different scenarios require different levels of trust. For example, internal users/devices are granted access to organizational resources based on “implicit trust”, but secure defenses prohibit external users/devices from accessing resources within the perimeter. However, this makes the entire domain more complex and thereby easier for attackers to exploit loopholes in the system.

The traditional model of physical security no longer applies as businesses rapidly evolve. Remote and hybrid workforces are the new trend in modern business, where employees can work from anywhere in the world. Additionally, cloud computing environments are growing and becoming popular places to host applications, data storage, and other IT assets. As there are no well-defined physical boundaries to ensure security, network administrators must rely on explicit trust between local users and remote networks and devices.

Therefore, we need a framework to ensure the security of modern enterprises against volatile cyberattacks.  Implementing the Zero Trust approach has never been more critical.

What is Zero-Trust

“Trust no one, not even your end users” – Forrester Research

In layman’s terms, Zero Trust (ZT) is the new cybersecurity paradigm that mandates trust is never granted implicitly but must be continually evaluated and imposed explicitly. With this approach, a user/device has to earn the trust of a system after continuous authentication/authorization regardless of their location.

In this context, internal users are treated the same as users outside the network. Being in a public cloud environment does not change the way microservices communicate with each other. They are given the same level of trust as a set of applications communicating in a private or on-premises network, and each connection is always evaluated against all rules.

A Zero Trust environment cannot be implemented overnight. It is a gradual transformation where every step of a digital transaction is validated using various security implementations. These implementations adhere to a standard set of rules set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Some examples of these implementations are Identity and Access Management (IAM), Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), Micro-segmentation, and DevOps. Migrating business processes into these implementations is one way to implement Zero Trust.

Benefits of Zero Trust

According to a Statista survey, 30% of companies have already begun to roll out Zero Trust security solutions, and 42% plan to do so in the near future.

Some benefits of implementing the Zero Trust security model are as follows:

  • Focus on proactively implementing security solutions as a strategic business objective, rather than implementing on a per-use case.
  • End-to-end organizational security of identity/access/workloads spanning across users, applications, and infrastructure.
  • A proper inventory of users, devices, applications, and services will be beneficial for an organization’s auditing and performance planning.
  • Gain access and identity control over cloud and container environments when moving to hybrid/multi-cloud architectures.
  • Reduced risk of a data breach with the principle of least privilege.
  • Improved monitoring and alerting of cyberattacks.

Conclusion

Adapting this framework is not without its challenges. Identifying business processes with the lowest risk of failure during the transition to a Zero Trust architecture is the first step towards migrating critical entities over time. Check out our next article to learn more about Zero Trust security, which focuses on an end-to-end approach to establishing enterprise resource and data security.

Anupa Wijegunawardana
Engineer – Cyber Security

Stretchline’s digital transformation with MillenniumIT ESP

     CASE STUDY

   Stretchline’s digital transformation

   with MillenniumIT ESP

Stretchline (Pvt) Ltd is the world’s largest narrow fabric manufacturer and the first global brand of elastic. Established in 1996, the company is a three-way joint venture between Stretchline (UK), MAS Holdings (Sri Lanka) and Brandot International Ltd (USA). Stretchline has manufacturing plants in Sri Lanka, China, Indonesia, Mexico, Honduras, the US, and the UK, which are supported by marketing offices in the US, the UK, and Hong Kong, enabling the group to provide needlepoint support to the world’s leading lingerie and activewear brands.

  • A future of digitalization 

Helped realize Stretchline’s digitalization plan for 2025 – to transition from manual sales order processing to a fully automated system that ensures high accuracy and high production volumes.

  • Employee productivity 

Enabled significant data entry time savings of 793 hours/month by deploying the RPA solution at one plant, freeing up employees’ time to engage in productive and value-adding activities.

  • Process accuracy 

Implemented RPA BOTs to optimize the sales order processing system, which reduced delays, ensured high data accuracy, and increased employee productivity.

  • Global expansion 

Working with Stretchline to expand the project scope and implement the system in other parts of Sri Lanka, as well as in Indonesia and China

THE CHALLENGE

A key initiative of  Stretchline’s Digitization Plan for 2025, was to transition its employees away from non-cognitive work and use automated/software services where it could optimize the overall production process. Stretchline’s requirement was to address delays and errors in the sales order processing system while ensuring high accuracy in data entry and updating systems with high volume traffic. Therefore, the PO process was selected as a starting point as it is the first step of value creation and is critical to ensuring a seamless operation of the entire journey.

SOLUTION OFFERED

The teams from MIT ESP engaged in several discussions with the sales teams at Stretchline to understand the processes and core pain points to come up with the end-to-end scope of the solution architecture. They implemented RPA BOTs which can accept sales orders from customers and enter them directly into the ERP system.  By digitizing the manual process, Stretchline significantly reduced the number of man-hours required for the PO process. The BOT solution also allowed POs to be entered into the system on the same day, minimized human errors while entering the details, and managed a high volume of POs with ease.

BUSINESS IMPACT

Stretchline was able to incur a significant time saving of 793 hours/month of data entry by deploying the RPA solution at only one plant. They now plan to implement this system in other parts of Sri Lanka and expand to operations in Indonesia and China. By streamlining and standardizing the process across the board, the BOTs also maintained a higher accuracy and freed up the employees’ time to engage in more productive and value-adding activities.

The scalability of the overall process and the ability to handle larger volumes were a few additional business outcomes gained by implementing the RPA solution. MIT’s engineering and sales teams’ many years of experience working in the apparel domain allowed them to quickly relate to and address the issues faced by the Stretchline team and they are keen on expanding the project scope with more project optimization and re-engineering in the future.

Marching Towards Cyber Security Mesh Architecture

Marching Towards Cyber Security Mesh Architecture

Today’s enterprises operate in a distributed manner, with assets and workforce scattered across the world. Owing to this, technology deployment and management have changed over the years. Networks have become distributed; applications are hosted on cloud services and the number of remote employees is rapidly increasing. It is clear that fully centralized IT networks are slowly but surely moving toward extinction. Similarly, the cyberattack vector is growing rapidly, and cybercrimes are finding new and increasingly sophisticated ways to steal data and disrupt business operations. After all, a walled city cannot protect its people when they are roaming outside of it.

Before Cyber Security Mesh

The traditional approach to cybersecurity was to identify and implement specific remedies to defend against every potential danger and attack. To achieve this, organizations have deployed a variety of solutions, such as Web Application Firewalls (WAFs), firewalls for network security and end-point protection for malware. According to an independent study by IBM, today’s businesses have implemented an average of 45 security solutions across their networks. This traditional method creates a security gap in interoperability between tools. Moreover, there are unnecessary overlaps between multiple devices or software each being paid for through its own licensing – simply put, too many solutions from too many vendors.

What is Cyber Security Mesh Architecture (CSMA)?

When addressing these challenges, we had to change our style of managing projects and teams as follows:

 

Cybersecurity Mesh Architecture (CSMA) is a concept developed by Gartner to help companies move beyond the protection of traditional IT perimeters to a more collaborative and flexible approach to security. CSMA is a fundamental support layer that enables various security services to collaborate, creating a dynamic security environment. It also promotes coordination and interoperability between products, which leads to a more integrated security policy. It takes less time to build, maintain and eliminate the possibility of security deadends that cannot serve future demands. Cybersecurity technologies are deployed through CSMA; each device will be added to the network as an integrated, carefully planned part of a consolidated security posture. A cybersecurity mesh is also defined by Gartner as a distributed architectural approach to flexible, scalable and reliable cybersecurity control.

cyber-security-business-technology-antivirus-alert-protection-security-cyber-security-firewall-cybersecurity-information-technology-vector-illustrationx9_115579-1757

CSMA provides four foundational layers that make it possible for various security controls and solutions to cooperate with one another and make deployment, configuration and maintenance easier.

The four layers are as follows:

  • Security analytics and intelligence
  • This layer is responsible for accurately gathering data from threat resources. CSMA will develop a rapid threat response strategy based on data security tools such as SIEM and SOAR that can analyze potential threats.
  • Distributed identity fabric
  • This layer is responsible for providing identity and access management, an essential component of a Zero Trust strategy.
  • Consolidated policy and posture management
  • This layer is responsible for managing and enforcing consistent security policies across different environments. CSMA translates the central cybersecurity policy into the foundational framework for every security solution or can offer dynamic runtime authorization services.
  • Consolidated dashboards
    • Having to switch between numerous dashboards from different security vendors or tools decreases the effectiveness of security operations. Using an integrated dashboard, CSMA provides a composite view of the complete security architecture e platforms.

Key features of CSMA

Several CSMA features, including the following, will result in enhanced flexibility, agility and an overall stronger security posture for an enterprise:

  • Ease of implementation
    • CSMA is ideal to simplify and streamline design, deployment and maintenance.
  • Practicality
    • CSMA is a more practical architecture to protect digital assets hosted outside the traditional network perimeter.
  • Zero security gaps
    • Enterprises can address security gaps caused by flaws and vulnerabilities in various solutions by utilizing existing and developing security standards.
  • Agility
    • CSMA has the advantage of making an organization’s detection and response to security threats more agile.
  • Future friendly
    • CSMA supports future expansion by utilizing plug-in APIs to easily enable extensions, customization, analytics and compliance with new regulations and standards.

How different vendors approach CSMA

Several cybersecurity vendors have “CSMA-like” approaches that can provide benefits of scale and cost to an extent. However, they have the potential for vendor lock-in due to a lack of interoperability.

  • Fortinet Security Fabric: Designed to manage the entire digital attack surface, while reducing risks by eliminating vulnerabilities and gaps in security.
  • Checkpoint Infinity: Provides consolidated security across an organization’s entire IT environment, enabling centralized security management and integrated threat prevention and response.

Conclusion

According to Gartner’s strategic assumption, “By 2024, organizations adopting a cybersecurity mesh architecture will reduce the financial impact of individual security incidents by an average of 90%.”

It is clear that traditional security approaches are failing to fulfill fast-evolving and demanding cybersecurity requirements. However, many enterprises remain stuck with traditional cyber security methods. Larger enterprises with complicated IT systems (such as banks and government organizations) have invested heavily in several security solutions to individually protect each asset in their environment. Cybersecurity Mesh Architecture (CSMA) contributes to the creation of a unified, integrated security framework for all assets, whether on-premises, in data centers or on the cloud. Through standardizing the communication between security solutions, CSMA enables standalone security products to coordinate and interoperate, increasing overall security.

Anuka Jinadasa
Associate Engineer – Cyber Security

How can we help you?

Project management in the COVID-19 era

Project management in the COVID-19 era

The challenges we faced…

The COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to rethink their business models and shift to remote working or a work from home (WFH) format. While facing a global crisis situation like no other, they also had to learn on-the-go to steer their businesses through this style of working. As project managers (PM), we too shifted to the WFH model, but navigating it came with the following challenges:

  • Our modes of communication were limited to calls, emails and WhatsApp messages, which was a challenge in itself. In the pre-COVID era, we conducted meetings with teams, clients and stakeholders in-person. This helped the PM form the right team, understand customer requirements better and discuss feasible methods of project execution. Similarly, it helped the customer to better understand the project progression, from planning to execution.
  • Owing to the new health protocols put in place, our technical teams could not visit operations sites, locally or overseas, for the installation and configuration of hardware.
  • While our technical teams would usually work on-site at the customer’s location, the pandemic brought about new rules and regulations on a nation level, as well as by some customers. For example, some businesses restricted access to outsiders. Our teams had to improvise or obtain special permissions to utilize customers’ VPN connectivity in order to directly link to their systems and servers.
  • There was an urgent need to create dedicated workspaces in our homes to conduct official online meetings.
  • We were obligated to arrange special transportation for critical technical teams to visit client sites during the mandatory lockdowns.
  • Office access was granted for certain project teams in order to obtain the necessary equipment for their work.
  • Printing of project documentation was done using office printers to maintain quality, while binding and transporting them to customers was also done in-house.
  • We had to obtain digital signatures from customers and project teams for project documentation.
  • Coordinating overall team activities to work as a single unit became a task in itself.

How we overcame these challenges?

It was a challenge to adopt to this new way of working overnight in March 2020. We had to navigate the country’s restrictions on movements and adhere to changing health guidelines, which was something entirely new for us. Here are some actions we took to overcome the challenges:

  • We conducted daily meetings and stand-ups with the project teams, and had frequent online discussions and phone conversations with our respective subgroups to monitor project tasks.
  • We were able to obtain special approval from customers to visit them onsite for location-based implementations. Our company also required us to keep track of visits to external sites via a new contact tracking system.
  • The technical team required VPN connectivity in some cases, which was duly provided by the customers as the best safety net for the employees of both companies. In other cases where VPN permissions were not obtained due to critical secure systems, we were able to organize isolated spaces within the premises for our resources to work on the project.
  • With the assistance of our transportation team, we arranged special transport for some individuals during the lockdown, and the contact tracking system was maintained.
  • The company provided clearance for key resources to visit certain sites for critical projects with assistance from the customer.
  • Staff within the office premises assisted us in many tasks, from obtaining the necessary hardware to printing and binding project documents.
  • We learned to adapt to using modern communication tools extensively to connect with our teams, as well as customers.

How did you change your management style to adapt to WFH?

When addressing these challenges, we had to change our style of managing projects and teams as follows:

  • Changes in the mode of communication from in-person and direct to online and distant, including adopting various audio and video communication tools.
  • Managing customers from a distance.
  • Working on operational tasks such as procurement, delivery of hardware, project expenses, etc, from home.
  • Delivering status reports to client sponsors via online communication tools such as MS Teams, Cisco Webex or WeMeeting.
  • Learning to manage all our daily office activities from one location.
  • Adapting to and using new processes for online client meetings, including using a single corporate background.
  • Organizing training and knowledge sharing sessions for stakeholders via online platforms.

Advantages of WFH?

Gayathri Perera
Senior Project Manager – Delivery & Customer Success

How can we help you?

MillenniumIT ESP partners with the world’s number 1 CRM platform Salesforce

MillenniumIT ESP partners

with the world’s number 1

CRM platform Salesforce

MIT ESP Sri Lanka’s leading enterprise solutions provider recently added Salesforce, the world’s number 1 customer relationship management (CRM) platform, to its extensive partner portfolio.

Salesforce CRM is renowned for bringing companies and customers together; the Salesforce company’s approach in centralizing the ‘customer’ will help businesses to better understand customer needs and assist with customer retention. Salesforce CRM allows all stakeholders to obtain a single view of every customer interaction and simplify the engagement and communication process between a business and its customers more effectively.

As one of the largest Salesforce partners in Sri Lanka, MillenniumIT ESP aims to redefine how enterprises understand and respond to the customer journey. A perfect combination of people and technology, this partnership combines the comprehensive capabilities of Salesforce with the experience of MIT ESP consultants that have spent the past several years helping enterprises convert siloed data into customer intelligence.

From setting a new CRM platform ground up to optimizing existing implementations, MIT ESP’s engagements focus on creating a customer journey that delivers business value.

Commenting on the strategic move, Shevan Goonetilleke, CEO of MIT ESP says, “Helping enterprises become data-driven is in our DNA“. By partnering with Salesforce our consultants are empowered to take the world’s #1 CRM platform to local and international markets to encourage more enterprises to invest in intelligence, which in turn will translate to business growth.

We are excited to be a part of redefining the customer journey across diverse organizations, industries, and regions.”

MillenniumIT ESP partners with global leader in omnichannel communication Infobip

MillenniumIT ESP partners with global leader in omnichannel communication Infobip

MillenniumIT ESP, Sri Lanka’s leading Enterprise Solutions Provider, is proud to yet again add a new partner Infobip, a global cloud communications platform and a leader in omnichannel engagement, into their extensive partner portfolio. Infobip specializes in providing a personalized omnichannel communication experience to the end users by knowing the brands and their customers while employing technologies such as AI insights, communication optimization, automation, and routing management to provide quick, seamless interactions.

Over the years with technological advances, customer preferences, attention spans and even communication modes and means have changed. In partnering with Infobip, MillenniumIT ESP aims to provide easy, full-stack communication, integration, and intelligent automation tools in navigating customer support to better business practices and better yet increase sales and customer experience largely. Infobip’s own chatbot Omnia delivers fast, seamless communication by working on huge volumes of simple queries at a time and making data-driven decisions, allowing agents to take on high priority queries.

Harsha Solanki, Managing Director – India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, Infobip, said “Every brand is on a digital transformation journey in the post-pandemic era, relying on multiple communication channels to engage and stay connected with their customers. We’re excited to collaborate with MillenniumIT ESP to make it easier for brands to connect and engage with their customers on a large scale. Through this strategic partnership, we will further grow our customer base in Sri Lanka and enable them to stay ahead in the digital-first era by offering their customers with what they need, when they need it, and delivering the right message at the right time on their appropriate and preferred channel. This will significantly elevate a customer’s overall experience and engagement.”

Infobip seeks to simplify the engagement and communication activities between businesses and their customers across the world of communication platforms, whether it is on chat apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook, Line, or other mediums such as SMS, voice or even email. Their approach to better customer experience and business generation is through cost-effective, easy-to-use tools with a customized service dedicated to enhancing business and customer satisfaction.

“We have come to realize that customer interaction is key for business growth. They want fast and reliable information and feedback without having to spend much time communicating. The technology provided by Infobip facilitates better customer engagement and communication with the use of their automation tools, leading to efficiency and cost-reduction within any organization,” stated Shevan Goonetilleke, Director/CEO, MillenniumIT ESP.

 About MillenniumIT ESP

In their 26-year journey, MillenniumIT ESP has strengthened their hold in the IT sector through their delivery of successful innovations and projects in various industries. MillenniumIT ESP (MIT ESP), a complete Enterprise Solutions Provider offers technology solutions and services around Core Infrastructure, Cloud, Cyber Security, Enterprise Applications, Intelligent Automation and Data, Smart Buildings, and Managed Services. The company has a strong presence across a variety of industry sectors including Telecommunications and Media, Banking and Financial Services, Manufacturing and Retail, Government, and Commercial Sector which focuses on Healthcare, Transportation, Hospitality, IT and BPO Companies, and other Conglomerates. Currently, the company is on a growth drive with plans to expand its footprint globally across all sectors. For more information, visit www.mitesp.com.

About Infobip

Infobip is a global cloud communications platform that enables businesses to build connected experiences across all stages of the customer journey. Accessed through a single platform, Infobip’s omnichannel engagement, identity, user authentication and contact centre solutions help businesses and partners overcome the complexity of consumer communications to grow business and increase loyalty. With over a decade of industry experience, Infobip has expanded to 65+ offices across six continents. It offers natively built technology with the capacity to reach over seven billion mobile devices and ‘things’ in 190+ countries connected directly to over 700 telecom networks. Infobip was established in 2006 and is led by its co-founders, CEO Silvio Kutić, Roberto Kutić and Izabel Jelenić.

Recent award wins include:

  • Ranked the leading service provider in CPaaS by Juniper Research in its new Competitor Leaderboard CPaaS Vendors (October 2021)
  • Infobip named a Leader in the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Communications Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) 2021 Vendor Assessment (doc #US46746221, May 2021).
  • Best A2P SMS provider for the fourth year running by mobile operators and enterprises in ROCCO’s annual Messaging Vendor Benchmarking Report
  • Best CPaaS Provider of the Year, Best RCS Provider of the Year, and Mover & Shaker in Telco Innovation at the 2021 Juniper Digital Awards

THE PERFECT FIT: The CIO-CFO relationship

THE PERFECT FIT: The CIO-CFO relationship

A company’s management strives for synergistic value creation yet, working together doesn’t come easy: it requires constant effort and mutual understanding.

When considering a Chief Information Officer (CIO) and a Chief Finance Officer (CFO), the former is known to look at an innovative outlook and the latter is expected to look at a realistic one.

Imagine this: A CIO comes up with an innovative digital solution to address company’s problems. It’s seamless in integration, superior in quality, faultless in performance, rich in detail and simply, perfect. Still, when the financial approval is sought, the CFO may reject it because it’s too costly, too over-the-top and seems to be a mountain of a solution when the requirement is a molehill. Sounds familiar?

CIOs sometimes struggle to communicate the ROI of IT projects, as well as priorities, costs, commitments, and cash flows. Still, their knowledge and experience of technological solutions and their network of technology partners are priceless. CFOs often consider IT as an expensive budget item and therefore look to cut any cost they deem unnecessary.

Most CIOs are aspirational in their thinking; they seek the perfect solution and look at the future. CFOs, on the other hand, stand by the principle of “earn the right to spend” and place priority on ROI which can often be overlooked or oversimplified by CIOs.

This clash in philosophy often results in grudges, preconceived biases and ultimately, blocking the pathways for the company’s progress in the digital world.

Working to make the CFO-CIO relationship work

There are several strategies to weave a mutually beneficial CFO-CIO relationship into the fabric of organizational success.

1. Communicate effectively 

Communications don’t just mean exchanging words but also understanding personalities, respecting perceptions and accepting attitudes.

2. Mutually sharing organizational objectives and strategies

CFOs have good visibility into their organization’s objectives and key metrics, which could be shared with CIOs to develop technological contributions in achieving them since they have a good understanding of the organization’s IT potential.

Similarly, CIOs have a good vision of the technological landscape of the industry, which could be shared with CFOs to understand the true potential of the organization and show the pathway of achieving the objectives.  This level of mutual sharing will help inculcate finance and technology into business solutions from the initial stages, resulting in more strategic solutions over tactical fixes.

3. Create efficient and automated processes 

In many organizations, finance teams are still overwhelmed with manual tasks. Legacy systems – or simply MS Excel worksheets – are still favored over ERP systems and other advanced processes.

This traditional mindset has normalized slow speeds in organizational accounting, which sometimes justify why many companies release last month’s results in the middle of the following month!

The criticality of data-based solutions is still a novelty in many companies, hindering progress and resulting in slower and thereby less effective decision-making.

A good relationship between CFO and CIO will help instill better and more efficient processes while managing and overcoming resistance to change. With two teams working in tandem towards the unified objective of efficiency, legacy systems and manual workloads can be replaced by digitally advanced solutions that create a competitive edge. More importantly, when Finance and IT work together with mutual trust and confidence in each other, process automation can be achieved seamlessly and at a fraction of the time it will otherwise take.

4. Use of technology to enable insights 

Data is the currency of success.

Both CFOs and CIOs carry a gamut of data that can be used in analytics and insight generation to drive business performance. When shared, these sets of data become a treasure trove of information.

Having the right data at the right time is crucial for business success. So, nurturing a good relationship with a team that has the data you need is a simple formula for success.

CIOs and CFOs working together to orchestrate data across the organization generates critical business insights that drive strategic responses.

 5. Technology that brings strong ROI

CFOs always want to see higher ROI from IT investments while CIOs might struggle to prioritize projects that bring tangible business outcomes and higher ROI. Therefore, collaboration is essential whenever an investment decision is required.

When seeking approval for an investment, many IT teams find it challenging to talk to finance teams since they focus on qualitative factors while the other seeks quantitative angles. This results in a clash and subsequent rejection. Yet if both teams can compile a joint business proposal, getting Board approval becomes easy and mutual.

While there are many industry-specific use cases, the following are some generic data analytics use cases that affect revenue and cost, directly or indirectly.

The future of the IT and Finance relationship

For too long, we’ve seen companies having divided fronts in terms of its IT and finance functions. However, with organizations increasingly focusing on holistic business operations and unified direction, moving away from siloed and functional mindsets is crucial.

Collaboration, coordination and communication with mutual respect and trust – that’s the formula CIOs and CFOs must brew to create the perfect fit, with common objectives, to make the organization ready for next digital transformation.

Dinuka Perera
Chief Financial Officer / Vice President – Finance and Supply Chain

How can we help you?