Making Faster, More Informed Decisions
Having access to large amounts of data is critical to everything Franklin Templeton does. And the faster Shaneyfelt can provide insights to decision makers, the faster they can adapt to changes, manage risk, and seize opportunities.
“All investment managers and broker dealers are regulated in countries across the world, and putting together the web of those rules and coming up with the best business answer requires data,” said Shaneyfelt. “It requires knowledge and synthesizing all that data.”
In a fast-paced, always-changing industry where there’s no room for error, finance teams need access to unified, real-time data. Legacy financial systems, however, were built around monthly and quarterly processes—one reason why organizations such as Franklin Templeton have moved to Workday.
“To drive the right types of insights in such a dynamic environment, companies need to have today's view of what's going on, not today's view a month from now,” said Sharp. “By using Workday, Franklin Templeton is able to have better quality data, faster speed of reporting, and less time focused on operational processes. And all of that positions this team to drive growth for the company much more effectively.”
Opportunity Comes from Change
Both Shaneyfelt and Sharp see major changes—such as mergers and acquisitions or deployments of new technologies—as an opportunity to address long-standing problems, such as operational inefficiencies.
That includes making the decision to change how a business works to align with industry best practices and what’s best for its future, rather than expecting new technology or acquired companies to change to fit how things have traditionally been done.
“One of the core things we decided when we were implementing Workday was we weren't going to try to change Workday to fit our processes,” said Shaneyfelt. “We were going to try to change our processes to work best with Workday. And that has been transformational for our business.”
Sharp said it’s important for financial services companies to address challenges that acquisitions and mergers surface as soon as possible, such as having two sets of processes spread over many systems. “And if you don't resolve that in the process of a merger, you run the risk of having a real impact on your operational efficiency,” she said. “And more importantly and strategically, you're not creating capacity for the business to focus on what's important.”
Continuous Innovation. Continuous Improvement.
For Franklin Templeton, the integration of Workday HCM and Workday Financial Management has fostered deeper partnerships between its finance and HR teams, as they collaborate on needed insights from the applications’ shared data. “I think we are getting more thoughtful, which leads to better data to the business,” said Shaneyfelt.
And, Franklin Templeton continues to think about how to use Workday to find greater efficiencies.
“Even over the last quarter, we've made several enhancements that have allowed us to save a considerable amount of work hours, which we can apply to other more analytical activities and better supporting the business,” said Shaneyfelt.
Workday is investing in cutting edge technology for finance and HR professionals all the time so companies like Franklin Templeton can quickly leverage it, noted Sharp.
“Using Workday helps Franklin Templeton's teams spend their time on the real value add analysis,” she said. “Rather than spending time on rote reporting or operational processes, they're able to drive strategic insights for their business.”
Embracing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
Innovations in AI and ML are reshaping the financial services industry in transformative ways. And Franklin Templeton is excited about the AL and ML technology embedded in Workday’s products.
“Our employees will be able to respond to variances or issues that AI is telling them is happening in the data,” said Shaneyfelt. “And I think that that will make their jobs easier once again, freeing up time to work on more interesting projects and work more efficiently. The business as a whole is excited about AI and how it might help us respond more quickly to all of our clients.”
Shaneyfelt said leaders try to create an environment of continuous improvement within the finance team so they can have an impact on every business decision. AI and ML can help create more bandwidth for team members to contribute even more business value.
As an example: “Machine learning can help us quickly move on to thinking about how we might improve a process going forward. Maybe we can redeploy people on a project that we're working on. I think it'll be exciting for most people.”
Planning for the Future
The chief accounting officer role (CAO) is evolving into one where they serve as a strategic business partner who drives data-driven decisions about how the company should navigate timely challenges and the occasional crises. And, the CAO will also be expected to look long-term and make the right recommendations for its business partners.
No matter how Franklin Templeton continues to grow, Workday will continue to help them innovate, collaborate, and provide value for their customers.
Learn more about how Franklin Templeton streamlined its financial systems through acquisitions. Also discover more about digital transformation in the financial services industry.