Optimising financial processes

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You Are Right! It’s Not Rocket Science!

There are so many challenges in today’s complex global business processes that it can be difficult to know where to begin. Ownership, functional lines, geographic scope, legal and compliance obligations, understanding, systems complexity, data, governance, even “what good looks like” is not easy at scale.

Expectations on the use of data to drive business insights have sky-rocketed and whole new job categories have boomed as a result. We have enormous amounts of data at our disposal paired with a systems environment that keeps evolving. Software marketers, academics, and technology evangelists are great cheerleaders for the tools that can mine and visualize this enormous body of ubiquitous data about our businesses.

The reality is that this is not an “engineering” or technology problem. It is as much, or more, behavioral and humanistic as it is technical. It’s not “rocket science” but the answer might just be “Business Science”, an evolution of thinking about “Data Science”.

Data Science is an inter-disciplinary field that uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms and systems to extract knowledge and insights from many sources of data.

Business Science is the application of data insights and knowledge to the execution, management and optimization of business processes, in the context of human behavior, and exploits data science techniques in the context of desired business outcomes.

Business executives have been “sold” repeatedly on the benefits of new technologies, only to be disappointed in the real value delivered. They bought into the new ERP system, Business Intelligence platform, RPA tools, and now AI. The technology is rarely the solution but rather one of the enablers.

We know that people and process are the two other sides of the classic “change triangle”, and now many are arguing that “data” needs to sit at the core of this triangle. But when we talk about “people” and “process”, we are also talking about human behavior.

If we can crack the code on this, we have the opportunity to deliver on the “data promise”, make technology investments more transparent and predictable in delivering business value, and we may even get AI to deliver its true potential!

New frameworks are starting to emerge and I am actively engaged in making this a reality for business leaders. In my old role as Vice President of Global Business Services, I used some of these techniques, but we are closing in on a better way.