Ensign InfoSecurity, a Singapore-based cybersecurity services firm, was looking for a finance platform. According to Michelle Quek, Vice President of Business Operations & Finance at Ensign, they needed one that was agile enough to let them ingest and analyse information – they were looking for something that provided real-time data. In the end, Ensign decided to use Workday Inc.’s cloud-based financial management software.
Of late, cybersecurity has been one of the fastest-growing industries in Asia-Pacific as companies digitalise their operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, digitalisation also puts companies at risk for cyberthreats, leading to greater demand for cybersecurity.
“The security of external solutions and platforms is one of the top evaluation criteria when assessing vendors, and Workday has shown that they place strong emphasis on the security of their platform. It is customisable, and can build business processes and refine them in real-time as business requirements change. It also offers automation. Automation through a finance platform helps us minimise human errors and ensure a high level of consistency,” explained Quek.
“The one other thing that we look for in technologies is their ability to evolve with the demands of our business, providing us valuable, relevant insights and allowing us to make sound decisions. Basically, we can only rely on technologies that have the potential to grow with us,” she added.
Closing the data gap
Lee Thong Tan, CFO Practice Lead for Asia at Workday, claims that their platform is different among other cloud-based ERP competitors because of its agility, which he says is crucial in today’s business environment.
Workday’s 2021 CFO Indicator Survey reveals that data management and analysis were the biggest areas of concern for chief financial officers (CFOs) throughout the pandemic. This, Tan points out, was exacerbated by the lack of data insights, pushing companies to make fast decisions while staying informed. With many companies in the midst of digitalisation, CFOs reported gaps in their data, ultimately affecting performance over the past year. The lack of data to make critical business decisions impacted product launches, according to 28% of CFOs, with 24% citing missed financial forecasts, and 17% citing misaligned resource investments.
“Companies need to ensure that their digital strategy is in lockstep with business goals and prioritise investments to close the data gap. To do this, the ability to translate large volumes of data into actionable insights is critical for business,” said Tan.
Tan believes that technologies such as machine learning and augmented analytics are vital for businesses who want to thrive, not just survive, in today’s era. “Data, combined with the use of augmented analytics, lets businesses mine actionable insights that help guide the way forward, no matter which industry you are in. With such tools, businesses can monitor and detect discrepancies, and proactively fix these hiccups in real time,” he said.
When it comes to digital transformation, Tan thinks there is no one-size-fits-all solution for companies. “We tailor their journey according to their unique business needs and goals, whether it’s in the areas of financial forecasting, running payroll, engaging the workforce, or simply closing the books.”
Cloud is key
But how will companies so used to traditional on-premises solutions transition to cloud-based platforms? Tan believes these legacy systems are not built for the kind of agility needed in today’s business environment without the addition of customisations and multiple app integrations, which will likely be more expensive.
“As businesses across all sectors continue to transform to become more agile, connected, and secure, business leaders need to recalibrate priorities to keep pace with the new demands today. Most importantly, they need to consider if their traditional on-premises systems are able to support their growth in a post-pandemic era, or if a more fundamental change – moving to the cloud – is required,” said Tan.
Cloud innovations have been steadily gaining traction and the pandemic has accelerated the shift to remote business operations. Looking beyond the pandemic, Tan believes that companies will gravitate towards the cloud.
“Success today is contingent on organisations being able to run faster and operate at a higher metabolic rate. This means that business leaders need to invest in the right technology solutions that can grow with them over time as their goals and priorities shift,” concluded Tan.