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Tech Changes Force Finance Professionals to Be More Flexible

Technologies will shape how businesses operate.

To say the business world is changing rapidly would be a vast understatement. Each year, technologies are automating jobs that professionals once held, and companies that fail to keep pace run the risk of falling behind competitors. Resilient enterprises are embracing innovations such as big data, cloud computing, mobility and the several other cutting edge technologies that business leaders are using to get ahead in their industry.

"The rate of change here is almost impossible to understand,'" said Karl Schamotta, senior market strategist at Western Union Banking Solutions, during the recent "The Big Bang: Technology and the Global Economy," webinar hosted by Proformative. "The real game changer is the internet. It's allowing people to share all of these new ideas at at unprecedented rate across the entire planet. Almost anyone can participate, and this is changing the fabric of human society itself."

And the internet will continue to create disruptions in business routines. Schamotta outlined several predictions about technologies that are not yet ready for prime time but that promise to transform how we work on a daily basis, and even how we view the full potential of our mobile devices. Finance organizations will have to be flexible with how they take on these changes, both in terms of their willingness to try new tools and in their business plans, which may have to shift. Fortunately, the webinar speakers revealed, the advancements in technology will make such flexibility easier in some cases.

Businesses Need to Learn to Prosper During Change
Transformative processes such as social media, social business, "bring your own device" policies, cloud computing, big data, digital payments, customer ecosystems, real-time ads and much more are constantly providing insights that would require firms to alter their operations. Managing the massive amount of information is easier when executives have a loose long-term plan, and they are able to make changes when they see fit. 

"The advent of the cloud, the advent of these new services and capabilities that are coming in from the outside allow you to decrease cycle time," said Andrew Gage, vice president of strategic market development for foreign exchange exposure management solutions provider FiREapps, during the webinar. "You can implement those capabilities faster, and you can gain access to information and make faster decisions in this new environment."

Everything Can Talk
How comfortable would you feel in your office if you knew your cellphone was talking to your computer and your tablet was communicating with your company's cloud? While may not be the reality yet, it's important to know that connected devices are here to stay, and they are going to become a bigger part of the business world in the upcoming years. During Schamotta's presentation, he discussed how there will be seven internet connections for every human by the beginning of the next decade, and every device that executives uses is "smart" and continues to churn out information that companies can apply to their operations.

This is why real-time predictive analytics and extreme collaboration are another innovation set to take off among business professionals. Recent research from Gartner projects that 70 percent of the most profitable firms will manage their business processes by these two new technologies by 2016. Intelligence business operations will quickly decipher analytics from connected devices, data streams and other resources to aid in the decision-making process and create efficiencies at companies.

"Everything from pipeline components to your toaster oven is capable of communicating with other devices , allowing them to find ways to lower power consumption, adapt to environment changes and sense when repair efforts are needed," said Schamotta.

Cloud Environments Can Simplify Processes
Executives can think of the cloud as their home, the place where all of their information is stored, and where many of their company's processes are managed. The online storage solution also provides a place where companies can build their very own business apps to customize the solutions to their firms' unique needs, which is especially useful for enterprises that are afraid of deploying a BYOD policy, wrote Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, for Datamation.

"This is a real drive to be able to leverage the existing investment in your enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, but build beyond that and get specialized capabilities that give you some differentiation, increased efficiencies or access to capabilities through the cloud," said Gage. 

How Can Companies Prepare for the Future?
Technologies and innovation are set to dominate the future of the business world, but understanding those principles doesn't mean that top executives will know how to plan for the future. Creating an integrated plan may not be the best strategy because technologies are always changing. Neglecting to forecast where the company will be five to 10 years down the road could also prove to be mistake. Gage offered executives a few takeaways, which include continuing to update accounting systems, using the cloud for specialized data analytics and only buy cloud apps that the IT department is unable to build in the company's virtual infrastructure.