FP&A Week Highlights - Aligning Technology and Business Strategy

FP&A Week

How do you maximize the relationship between data, technology and business? We invited a CFO, a CIO and CDO to show us how it’s done.

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Holly Meehan
November 24, 2023
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5
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FP&A Week Highlights - Aligning Technology and Business Strategy

Summary

How do you maximize the relationship between data, technology and business? We invited a CFO, a CIO and CDO to show us how it’s done.

As more organizations look to data and technology to make more informed decisions, the offices of CFO, CIO and CDO are converging. In this session from FP&A week, we brought together three leaders to discuss the ways digital transformation is shaping their roles. We met with:

Kevin Rubin

Chief Financial Officer, Alteryx

Eric Tan

Chief Information Officer and Chief Security Officer, Flock Safety

Joy Durling

Chief Data Officer, Procore

You can listen to the full conversation here, but we’ve highlighted some key points from the discussion below. 

How do you use automation to help generate efficiency in your organization?

Kevin: We automate every repetitive task we can, so employees can focus their time on understanding data, rather than preparing it. So far, we’ve automated over 100 processes in the finance office and we’re automating processes in other departments.

Eric: Scaling through automation is a cornerstone of a growing company. There’s no shortage of demand from across the business, so CIOs and CFOs need to work together to identify tasks with the highest impact for the lowest level of effort. We use ‘hours saved’ as a metric to determine where automation can be most valuable. 

Joy: The unique opportunity of the CIO and CFO is that we have a birds eye view of all the processes in an organization, and the whitespace to connect between the different departments. So you can see where you can get the biggest bang for your buck from automation, and partnership between the CIO and CFO roles can deliver great results, fast. 

How do you ensure the CIO and CFO are working in partnership, and coming together to be proactive rather than reactive?

Eric: When you’re growing fast, you need to be really tight. We set quarterly goals, have frequent conversations with FP&A and make sure we’re sharing information in real time. This is where a platform like Pigment is so useful, we can use it to collaborate across the team and keep everyone on the same page. 

Kevin: We set strategic corporate initiatives for a set period and focus investment accordingly. The teams on the ground work together all the time, and the CIO and CFO meet regularly to make sure the projects we’re working on actually align with the priorities we’ve identified. 

Joy: We create a top level strategy with a three year view, using shared OKRs to keep the team moving together. We set those OKRs annually, but we review with the C-suite quarterly to check on the roadmap and see if anything needs re-forecasting. The planning cycle is a much lighter lift if you’re checking up regularly and refocusing on key results and key outcomes. 

How do changes to your roles and the adoption of new technologies impact the wider team? How do you look at upskilling and reskilling your employees?

Eric: Changes don’t happen overnight, but it’s essential to bring new skills into your team and expose them to new ideas, so that you don’t get left behind. 

Joy: For me, it’s about everyone having a product-centric mindset. How are we delivering to the business to improve the product? We need to consider how to streamline what we’re doing and use data to improve our processes and the product. I always tell my team, AI isn’t going to take anyone’s job, but someone using AI will. So employees really need to focus on how they can use new technology to move their jobs up the value time, and our role as their employer is to help them do that. 

Kevin: I have a different perspective here. If you look back to the year 2000, candidates entering the workforce knew how to use Excel, and that was the skill set they needed. If you look at people finishing school now, they have a completely different skill set and a lot more tech literacy. You have to keep upskilling your workforce and getting your teams certified in new technologies, but you can also see an advantage in having a diverse team. You can use differences in your teams as a superpower for your business. 

Want to hear more insights from the team? You can listen to the full discussion here, along with more industry leaders’ perspectives from FP&A week.

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