A few months ago, chatting with my friend, she mentioned that her company was already using robots working in Finance Share Center. The robots can work 7x24 hours per week, no complains, no overtime pays. It saved around 20 headcounts. Yes, we are living in the Big Data era. More and more people believe that Big Data will change our lives and works thoroughly within the next three years. Big Data delivers the potential to find value no one knew before, whether you are trying to maximize production, cut costs or boost efficiency. Data can be turned into dollars.
Internet of Things (IoT) is the basis of Big Data. It refers to network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items which are embedded with electronics, software sensors, actuators & network connectivity that enable these objects to collect & exchange data. Anything that can be connected, will be connected. The internet is leveling the playing field. IoT is a game change technology. To be competitive in the future, companies will need to take action now.
• Real time operating data – Information for agile decision-making to improve the bottom line
• Advanced solutions – Cloud – enabled software that achieves greater connectivity, unifies systems, processes more data and finds more ways to use data to run a smarter operation.
Fully one-quarter of the world’s economy will be digital by 2020, forecasts a new report from Accenture. But that prediction doesn’t tell the whole story. Because increasingly, all business processes will be not only digitized – converted from analog to digital – but also digitalized – transformed in a way that blurs the physical and virtual.
• Reduced unplanned downtime - Data analytics identify patterns that reliably predict future events, giving companies the tools to detect and prevent abnormal situations.
Many organizations are struggling to respond. In fact, only five percent of companies say they’ve mastered digital transformation to the point of competitive differentiation, according to Forrester.
Under the environment of Big Data explosion and rapid growth of IoT, customers expect companies to provide faster, agile & flexible analytics and solutions. In order to better serve customers, not only high-tech companies, but also a lot of traditional companies are enhancing their strategy to grow software and data analytics capabilities.
The challenge is especially acute for manufacturers. From innovation to production to logistics, manufacturers are seeing their operations revolutionized by digital technologies.
Along with business transformation, finance also need to deploy transformation. Comparing to traditional finance structure, the major changes of future state came from:
That starts with research and development. Here are four key ways digitalization is transforming R&D:
• Commercial finance would be the primary partners of business. It would be embedded into the business as one core part of management theme to deliver P&L results, involve planning & forecasting, making investment decisions and cost management.
科学技术给予用户越来越多自由。目前用户已经具备及时和稳固性的音讯，包含产品、质量和价格 – 无论是你照旧你的竞争对手。过去，假设您曾经是有个别世界的带头人士，竞争者处于劣势。前几天，用户们清楚您是怎么在世界范围和对手们比赛的，你过去的市4总监地位变得无关首要。
那不只是出卖和市集的题目，那也改为研发的难题，因为她们无法不用最快的速度对客户更动的要求进行反馈，好新闻是科技(science and technology)早已有了消除方案。举例，重新规划智能产品，利用了物联网（IoT）传感器，研究开发人士能够收获使用数据去询问客户的急需，以及产品表现多少，可用来学学以及高速立异产品。
• In the meanwhile, finance operations would be centralized in corporate level to provide consistent high-value finance services to all businesses, such as management reporting & analysis, closing and booking reconciliation, collections & payments management, travel & expense management.
1. End consumers are more empowered
Technology has put consumers in the driver’s seat. Customers now have instant, constant access to information about products, quality, and pricing – for both you and your competitors. In the past, if you had established yourself as a leader in a region, the competition was at a disadvantage. Today, customers know how you stack up against rivals around the world, and your past market leadership is irrelevant. This isn’t just a problem for sales and marketing. It’s also a problem for R&D, which must respond – in as near to real time as possible – to changing customer demands. The good news is that technology is also the solution. For example, by designing smart products that leverage Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, R&D can capture usage data to understand customer desires and capture performance data to learn how to improve products rapidly.
The changes of finance operating model would help commercial finance to split from routine daily finance transactions so as to concentrate on driving business profitable growth. All business performance will be finally reflected by finance reports. Stakeholders would like commercial finance team to improve on below 3 aspects:
• Helping business to achieve growth target.
2. Transparency is rewriting how manufacturers collaborate
Information access is changing the way manufacturers interact both internally and with suppliers. This is true for every function, but especially for R&D.
As R&D creates more smart products, the skills it requires are changing. The automotive industry is a case in point. Fifteen years ago, cars began to incorporate electronics such as engine-control systems. Today, electronics are where most automotive R&D is happening, and within 10 years, electronics will allow cars to pretty much drive themselves.
That dramatically changes how cars are designed. In the past, mechanical engineers led design efforts, and electronics were merely an add-on. Today, software development – with its very different requirements and design cycles – is integral to the process. In the automotive industry and in virtually every other industry, product design will involve new stakeholders who must work together in new ways.
• Anticipating needs and requirements proactively
• Providing user friendly finance tools and reports.
3. Business models are growing more flexible
In the past, product designers worked for companies that sold products. But increasingly, manufacturers will sell not products but services. That affects R&D in fundamental ways.
A good example is a midsize SAP client that makes industrial air compressors. Some years ago it realized customers wanted not air compressors but compressed air. So it began offering compressed air as a service. Before this time, it designed and manufactured air compressors and then sold them to customers. Now, it designs and manufactures air compressors, installs them at customer sites, and then charges for the compressed air customers consume.
That new business model changes how R&D develops products. First, it needs to design in IoT sensors to monitor the compressors in real time and enable predictive maintenance. Second, it needs to optimize longevity and ease of maintenance. One way the company achieves that is by having engineers regularly spend time with field service to see firsthand how equipment is performing.
To achieve the target from report-driven to analysis-driven and improve satisfaction of stakeholders, finance need to deploy a series of activities on business analytics transformation.
Common Process / System
4. Business processes are becoming more customer centric
In fact, 83% of executives believe digitalization is driving a shift from supply-side economies of scale to demand-side economies based on interconnection with customers and partners, according to the Accenture report.
Manufacturers will have to be more connected to customers, because new business models will demand it. Take the air compressor customer. It hasn’t invested in a capital-intensive air compressor; it’s simply contracted for compressed air. At the end of the contract, there’s little disincentive to switching to a more attractive contract. The same will be true for many products across many industries.
How does that change R&D? Design cycles will have to accelerate to maintain competitive differentiation. For example, most carmakers update a car’s electronics only if the customer happens to come in for service. Tesla has upped the ante by sending new features and functions directly to the consumer through regular software updates. Don’t be surprised if its competitors start to follow.
Ultimately, the digital economy begins and ends with the customer. Customers are more empowered, so companies need to become more customer-centric. And nowhere is that more true than in R&D.
For more insight on the new customer-centric digital economy, see Customer Relationship Status: It’s Complicated.
Multi-national companies normally organize several of Business Groups. Each business group has several of business units and each business units has several of line of business. Some legal entities are shared by several of business units. Some legal entities are standalone for exact business unit.
In addition to the complex legal entity structure, multi-national companies have the complicated business models as well, not only including comprehensive product basis business in different kinds of industries, but also long term project basis business which combined products, engineering delivery, service, software etc. to provide total solutions to customers. Furthermore, besides organic growth, multi-national companies always seek growth opportunities from merger and acquisitions. All these factors put together have increased the complexity on finance management dramatically.
Under this circumstance, Common Process / System is needed to cultivate one company culture. The vision is to deliver common best practice business processes with enabling systems and technologies to drive profitable growth and business transformation across corporation. The program is using global design model to connect commercial and Integrated Supply Chain (ISC) initiatives, deliver measurable business value, and best in class business processes.
Common process system not only provides more security and uniform environment, but also supplies better integration interfaces for merger & acquisitions.
Multi-national companies will take benefits through common process system deployment.
• Consistent approach into defining and agreeing the business scope.