July 2020

Digital Transformation is a hot topic and certainly getting a lot of attention, but many people are confused as to what it really means or only consider singles aspects of it.

To us at bi5, Digital Transformation is the use of new, fast and frequently changing digital technology to solve problems.  It is about transforming processes that were non digital or manual to digital processes. However it can mean different things to different people and to different businesses.  For some businesses it may be transforming from paper based record keeping to digital, for others it could be a transformation of their budgeting, reporting and analytics to a digitally automated process. For others it could be a transformation from bricks and mortar to an online market place/store.

However there is one key element that is common in all of these seemingly different transformations, and that is a digitisation of a process of some kind.  In all of the above transformations there is a move away from a more manual process to a digitally automated process.

As businesses move down the ‘digital transformation road’ more data become available, more data means more information, which in turn means better understanding and analysis and ultimately better performance.

So how do you ensure you make the most of your journey, and that the full benefits of efficiencies and improved information, understanding and analysis are realised?  The answer is to ensure as much of your business is transformed as possible.

Digital Transformation – who will benefit?

At bi5 Solutions we have been working in the area of Digital Transformation for over 10 years and from our experience it appears to generally be driven initially by the Finance team. Some argue, quite correctly, that ERP systems and Excel are Digital Technologies, as they are digital, data is stored as 1s & 0s. However what we are talking about here is transformation,

We are primarily engaged by our clients to implement modern and integrated Budgeting, Forecasting and Reporting, and Data Capturing systems.  The most common reason for our customers initially getting in contact with us is they seek much more automated, efficient, timely and flexible systems for the Finance functions within a business.

However, the clients that get the most benefit from this  digital transformation are those where they understand how this process can touch, and improve, all aspects of the business. When both Finance and Operations, and the whole organisation is involved the benefits are greatly enhanced.

Our most successful implementations are for those clients who really embrace the bigger picture of digital transformation beyond Finance.

As we have said in many of our previous blogs, at its core it is all about the data, and it is the integration of the data that provides a complete story of what is happening in your business,  and  the environment in which your business operates.

bi5 attended a BOARD Virtual Conference last week and listened to the experiences of a number of organisations who had embraced Digital Transformation across their business and the results were very impressive.

The particular presentation that impressed us the most was by the CFO of a large privately owned Transport Company operating across QLD and NSW.

They set out on their Digital Transformation journey 3 years ago as the company was going through a change. With the owners stepping back from day to day involvement, and realising how much of the decision making process was reliant on their experience and ‘gut feel’, they determined that had to change..

They had a vision to transform their business processes by using technology, and transform they did. Their entire fleet of over 500 vehicles were fitted with technology that enables them to monitor all aspects of vehicle performance and also the performance of the drivers. This included things such as speeding incidents, level of speeding, duration of speeding, and  dashcam technology to measure driver fatigue incidents. This was great but in isolation it didn’t deliver the real benefits that they envisioned. It wasn’t until this  operational data was integrated with the financial data that the real benefits were realised

The data is updated automatically on a regular basis,and dashboards are used throughout the business to provide performance information to all the various departments. As  result everybody now understands how their performance impacts the overall performance of the business, through their ability to analyse driver performance, route, vehicle and customer information.

From the finance perspective they can now use this data for quick and easy what-if analysis and scenario planning, functions which are of even higher importance in uncertain times like those we currently face

According to the CFO, their overall performance and profitability was significantly higher than any of their competitors and he put it down to their use of technology of digital transformation of the company.

Another insightful presentation was from Sydney Airports Corporation which was obviously seriously impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Because they had invested in a modern Budgeting, Forecasting and Reporting system they were able to quickly, and with total confidence re-calibrate, their business for falling (or disappearing!) passenger and flight numbers, and incorporate the government’s JobKeeper and other initiatives into different scenarios..

Fact-based decision making is critical in such situations and old style Excel based methods just couldn’t provide the level of detail or confidence necessary to make such major changes.

If you would like access to these presentations please you can use this link get access.

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