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Four disruptive strategies for leading in finance

woman working on laptop.Chief financial officers (CFOs) and other finance leaders have an incredible opportunity to create value for their organizations. As workforces across industries pivot to adopt hybrid environments, finance plays an important role in defining how organizations build resilience in the face of significant challenges and uncertainty.

Four strategies we have seen our customers successfully employ to drive organizational change in recent months include:

  • Establishing key partnerships
  • Improving analytics capabilities
  • Modernizing legacy systems
  • Pushing ideation into execution
Additional insights about how finance leaders can develop resilience and drive impact are captured in our latest Leading Through Change in Finance e-book.

Drive rapid change with alliances

Strengthening and improving key business partnerships, including internal alignment between teams, is integral to creating clarity around opportunities and business objectives. Strong cross-company relationships improve decision-making, provide rich perspectives for identifying paths to increase value, and enable your team to play a more integrated role in driving change.

Vanguard, one of the world’s largest investment management companies and a longtime disruptor in the financial services industry, wanted to stay nimble as it moved into exchange traded funds and investment advisory services. The company was able to retire more than 30 globally deployed communications and collaboration solutions when it transferred its IT infrastructure to Microsoft 365. The change was swift, taking place in under a year, and resulted in an annual savings of $3.5 million.

The transformation could not have taken place so quickly without project management and communications staff already in place within each department who offered users relevant guidance. The company also employed 300 “change champions” across the organization—early adopters who were trained in the new technology and able to support others on their teams. This enabled Vanguard to turn a potentially siloed effort into a big win for the broader company.

Make sense of endless data

How well a finance team can interpret an increasingly wide range of data determines its competitiveness. As a finance leader, you can ensure that your organization has a modern data strategy and platform in place, consolidating disparate data sources into a single source of truth to sharpen grand-scale vision and improve outcomes.

Smiths Group, an industrial technology business operating from 50 different countries, needed a way to streamline its data across five global divisions. With each division using its own reporting systems and data storage, the company relied on a total of 800 applications. Employees were tasked with tedious manual data extraction from multiple platforms.

Using Microsoft Azure Data Lake Storage, Azure Databricks, and Power BI, Smiths Group created a comprehensive solution that has allowed it to gain strategic insights. This renewed ability to derive consistent value from its data has translated into revenue growth, lowered costs, and minimized risk.

Reimagine finance to thrive in a competitive environment

Finance leaders have the power to pursue more than just survival. From well-established companies to more recent entrants, every organization can take advantage of the latest platform, systems, and BI capabilities to give their teams the edge needed to succeed.

Libbey, Inc., a 200-year-old company and one of the world’s top tableware providers, used an ERP upgrade cycle to reimagine the finance function. To remain agile in the face of cloud-native competitors, Libbey, Inc. needed an end-to-end digital transformation.

With the partnership of Microsoft Consulting Services, the company chose a tri-cloud platform including Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Microsoft Azure to elevate its productivity, computing, and security. Embracing change and planning for the future has positioned Libbey, Inc. to thrive in an increasingly complex and competitive market.

Convert thought to action

Successful finance leaders invest time in creating and refining a vision for landing finance impact. Then they devote resources to putting that vision into action. We are passionate about sharing our own experiences and best practices to help finance leaders explore what is possible, create their own blueprint, and establish a plan for action.

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