As established organizations respond to the challenges of digital disruption, they find themselves needing to collaborate with an external ecosystem of partners, from small start-ups to large technology providers. However, it is not just external collaboration that must evolve: Internal C-suite collaboration needs to change, too.
To keep pace with the demands of the digital economy, companies need strong collaboration across their major assets, namely capital, technology, and people. Traditional ways of operating no longer apply in a world where information and data are at people’s fingertips and where roles are being transformed or replaced by artificial intelligence.
For businesses to change how they operate, finance leaders need to orchestrate strong collaboration among the critical triumvirate of the CFO, CIO, and CHRO. Why? Simply put, closer collaboration between the finance team and these two functions can bring significant benefits.
Our “Finance Redefined: Workday Global Finance Leader Survey”—which gauged the views of more than 670 CFOs and senior finance leaders around the world—identified a range of areas where finance can add value through collaborative contributions to the technology and human capital agendas.
When it comes to the finance function collaborating with IT leaders, our research shows that the biggest benefits to the enterprise’s digital agenda can include:
- Trustworthy predictive analysis of future business scenarios, such as the impact of emerging technologies on the organization’s business model.
- Data-based business cases for digital investments and evaluating and prioritizing enterprise investments in digital, including technologies that drive operational excellence, such as the cloud and robotic process automation.
Three key areas where through collaboration the finance function can add value to the enterprise’s human capital agenda include:
- Empowering higher employee self-sufficiency, from assessing the impact on productivity to modeling the efficiencies that could come from eliminating transactional processes.
- Responding quickly to market demand through the agile allocation of people and financial resources, such as responding to the way technology is changing consumer behavior and needs.
While people may understand the benefits of collaboration, doing it well is another story. Our research found that despite the reported benefits of a strong culture of collaboration, only 31 percent of finance leaders report a seamless relationship with the CHRO, while 27 percent report the same with the CIO. Even rarer is effective collaboration across all three functions: our research found that only 6 percent of CFOs have seamless relationships with both the CIO and CHRO.
Part of the problem is that in the past functions have often pursued narrower goals, with people working in their silos, barriers emerging between departments, and incompatible team cultures that can hinder understanding and communication. To break down organizational silos, finance leaders need to identify the key roadblocks that stand in the way of better cooperation with IT and HR.