Optimising financial processes

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Shared Services, Cybersecurity, Lobsters and Shells

I spent a couple of days this week in Las Vegas.

I’m not a gambler or a fan of mega shows, so I left without too much financial pain. (Although everything IS expensive!)

I attended and participated in workshops at Shared Services & Outsourcing Week (SSOW), amongst a talented group of Shared Services and GBS leaders and contributors.

There was a lot to discuss.

The first thing that struck me (it couldn’t fail to, at checkin) was that the Bellagio, and other MGM properties, had been the victim of a cyberattack and all the systems were down.

It was a challenge, but must have been hell for management and the IT team.  

This hack made the global press, and reminded us all that we are just a few well-tended controls away from serious trouble. You will, no doubt, know that public US companies now need to disclose such incidents to the SEC!

MGM Resorts International lost 10% of its stock price at one point this week. If you need any encouragement to tighten controls, this will be it.

You can read the report here . . .  but critically, Moody’s cited research from cybersecurity analysts which gave MGM Resorts a low grade for IT server patching cadence, a key control.

This SSOW conference provided lots of food for thought on end-to-end processes, digital transformation, AI & (and, of course, Generative AI), culture, leadership, value creation, business alignment, “radical prioritization” and more.  

Together with Steve Fox and Harvey Campbelton, I facilitated a session for about 40 participants entitled Hands-On Guide to Digital Business Services Transformation: Drivers, Challenges & Best Practices which generated some great discussion and insights.

We discussed topics including;                                                                     

  • Business Demands of Executive Stakeholders on Shared Services & GBS
  • Personal Aspirations of Leaders in the room                                                         
  • The key areas of opportunity for digital transformation  
  • The most exciting technology enabled transformation opportunities               
  • Which Business Process has the potential for highest added value?  
  • Roadblocks to digital transformation                                                                       
  • Key accelerants for process & digital transformation     
  • What capabilities are missing, or need strengthening, to achieve our Digital potential?

The keynote talk by Laurie Segall, founder of Dot Dot Dot, an entertainment company with a focus on the society and artificial intelligence, produced an unexpected gem.

She talked about lobsters and their shells.

Laurie referred to a viral video that I had never seen, that shines a light on personal and professional growth.

The lobster grows inside its rigid shell until it becomes confining and uncomfortable. When that becomes too painful to tolerate, the lobster hides under rocks, casts the shell away and grows itself another one. This bigger one will eventually get too narrow again, the pain of the lobster becomes unbearable, so it repeats the process.

“If lobsters had doctors, they would get a prescription and never grow into a bigger, better version of themselves — they would simply suppress the pain and live with it.”

I guess that’s a paraphrase of “No Pain, No Gain” . . .

We have to face our fears and discomforts to grow.

You can see the brief, 90 second video that Laurie was talking about, here . . . .

Thanks for reading . . .