3 Technologies Boosting C-Suite Performance – Forbes


By Alyssa Newcomb

When a C-suite leader integrates new and emerging technologies in a strategic way, the payoffs can be enormous, from greater efficiencies to improved security and quality control.

However, emerging technologies also come with a set of inherent risks, which executives must carefully consider — and work to mitigate — as they adopt new technology to boost business performance.

“We are in a unique age of unprecedented technologies centered around the automation and mechanization of the workforce. We’re also at a very tenuous era in history where personal data privacy and the associated regulatory guidance is really at its peak,” says Josh Cole, managing principal of consulting at Crowe.

Here, Cole outlines three technologies that can boost performance in the C-suite and how companies can best evaluate the inherent risks and rewards before moving forward with a plan.

1. Cloud Computing and ERP

Maximizing The Benefits

The chief benefit of a cloud-based architecture is that it negates the need for clunky server rooms and technicians to constantly manage databases, hardware, connectivity and disaster recovery. Thus, cloud solutions reduce a company’s reliance on humans to manage the infrastructure surrounding its enterprise resource planning (ERP) strategy.

Enterprise resource planning integrates all the core parts of a company — from finance and HR to manufacturing and supply chain management — into a single system for operating and overseeing the business. And new, technology-fueled ERP solutions in the cloud can give company leaders global visibility of their business with greater flexibility and ease of access than ever before. “If you look at on-premise ERP architectures, I’d say only a fraction of clients stay current with their upgrades because each can be as painful as a new implementation. And it grows worse the farther you fall behind. For any upgrade, you’d have to retrofit modifications, retrain for new features and test, test, test. It can be very expensive,” Cole says. Traditional, on-premise ERP solutions require careful planning and coordination before a new version can be deployed.

“In the cloud, those things now are happening dynamically,” Cole says.

Much like smartphone app developers do, ERP cloud providers are embracing dynamic and iterative updates. To do so, providers are enforcing new rules related to architectural and data access. These rules, while supporting the flexibility needed to run your business, push the onus of testing and validation back onto the software provider. The user cloud interfaces are designed more intuitively, reducing the need for re-training.

The result of this shift to the cloud is game-changing. Companies will seek out proven, innovative cloud ERP providers for longer terms instead of implementing costly and expensive incremental software upgrades. And new features can be added with minimal impact on end users.

Mitigating The Risks

While cloud computing is making organizations run more seamlessly, C-suite leaders still need to be aware of the risks. The main challenge for organizations using cloud-based solutions to unify processes — whether through ERP, customer relationship management (CRM) software or other platforms — is making sure they choose the right outsourced providers that can cover a broad set of needs.

In taking ERP off-premise, companies must also, crucially, choose third-party service providers they trust to handle cybersecurity with the utmost care.

“Your entire third-party relationships and staffing models in and around the cloud are critical changes,” Cole says. Typically you’re finding yourself in a position of outsourced support. There is a new set of rules to live by, whether securing or enhancing a cloud solution.”

2. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Maximizing The Benefits

These two powerful technologies have already changed the way people and businesses operate, and the future potential is huge.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can handle tasks that were once tedious, such as analyzing transactions to meet compliance requirements while allowing CFOs to spend more time on activities that most affect revenue. They can detect data anomalies, estimate the probability of early repayment and classify or segment customer types. 

“There’s a tremendous cost efficiency,” Cole says. “The precision that we see in fourth revolution-led technologies can be incredibly accurate. AI and machine learning can interpret historical patterns in a way that is nearly impossible for humans to comprehend on a repeatable basis.”

Mitigating The Risks

Choosing to create efficiencies for parts of a business, though, comes with a big risk for those who have unrealistic perception of scope. Implementing AI and ML strategies requires new talent and planning. Leaders who are short-sighted about these investments run the risk of deploying an ineffective strategy, Cole says. Data scientists, business process experts and user experience designers must all work together to achieve a common goal. And that goal must be clearly defined — and realistically attainable. Cole suggests C-suite leaders look at specific ways they can use AI and ML as solutions to existing problems. “The world of artificial intelligence and machine learning is going to be very iterative,” Cole says. “Start small. Build minimum viable products. Get a return on those solutions.”

While it may be tempting to dive all the way in, Cole cautions this technology isn’t about pushing away humans.

“It’s not about necessarily reinventing yourself into a purely automated organization,” he says.

3. Blockchain

Maximizing The Benefits

Blockchain is more than a buzzword. It’s a powerful technology that is changing the way transactions work through a distributed ledger that creates transparency and security. While its disruptive power is still being realized, blockchain has the potential to fundamentally change the way multiple industries operate.

“Though slower to fully commercialize, blockchain use cases are developing very quickly within multiple industries,” Cole says. “You can consolidate several aspects of a transaction through one transaction on the blockchain, in a far more secure manner.”

Blockchain can give customers visibility into a business, since all transactions are recorded on the distributed ledger. It can also help to eliminate redundancies, saving time and money. And its distributed architecture makes entire ecosystems more secure and less prone to attacks. By leveraging blockchain, leaders can significantly reduce overall risk, cost of oversight and opacity.

“That architecture is certainly one for the future,” Cole says. “A distributed ledger really creates a much safer and more secure environment in which to transact.”

Mitigating The Risks

Still, with every emerging technology, the great unknown can be the biggest risk. Blockchain is in its infancy, though global adoption is growing rapidly, particularly in supply chain applications for the food production industry.

“From a business perspective, we’re seeing many of the technology architectures still maturing. Consensus processes, or the processes of validating transactions, are maturing for speed and scale,” Cole says. “In high throughput situations that use public or hybrid blockchains, there is concern about time and speed performance. For other enterprise blockchain applications, these issues have largely been remedied.”  

However, Cole says advances are being made in blockchain by the day, making this an emerging technology with potential to radically change the way an organization works, for the better.

Emerging Technologies Play To Our Uniquely Human Strengths

Every emerging technology has a set of benefits and risks, but they all serve one greater purpose: They allow us to be more human. As new technologies learn and perform mundane tasks with greater efficiency, humans are able to use their uniquely human strengths elsewhere, imagining new ideas and bringing creativity to business.

“Behind all of those technologies, there’s a need for business design and user experience,” Cole says. “That human-centered experience, whether it’s a consumer or commercial application of technology, is where we’re making tremendous investments, I would say equal or more so than the technology side.”

Alyssa Newcomb is a freelance business and technology reporter based in New York City.

“Disclaimer – This story is not been edited by ViralAssam Staff and is auto-generated from syndicated feed”


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