Highlights from the Finance Leaders Day at IBM Business Connect 2015

RecenNaomi Hill 2tly, as part of the IBM Business Connect series, over 40  finance leaders attended the Finance Leaders day for a focused dialogue on the changing landscape of the finance industry,   I had the opportunity to meet  with  fellow finance professionals to share and exchange experiences that many of us are having across a range of topics.  These included finance transformation, new insights driven by analytics and leveraging mobile, cloud and security to grow and protect our organisations.

During the day I participated in a panel session with  finance leaders from organisations across a variety of industries. During the discussion it  became apparent that for all of us, transformation is continuous and we have to view our roles through a new lens, recognising the need to continually challenge ourselves and our organisations to survive and prosper in this digital era.

More so, through the phenomena of ‘uberisation’, a whole new competitive landscape is opening up. New organisations are entering the industry, like uber did, and driving new disruptive innovations that don’t simply displace the incumbents over a gradual period, but reshape entire industries. As found in IBM’s latest C-Suite study, titled ‘Redefining Boundaries’ the competition isn’t just coming from new permutations of old industries, it’s also coming from digital invaders with totally different business models. These companies typically target a key part of the value chain, bypass the incumbents and seize control of the customer relationship, making other suppliers irrelevant.

In this IBM study,  in which 643 CFOs participated, it was found that business leaders believe cloud computing, mobile solutions and the Internet of Things, along with cognitive computing, to be the technologies most likely to revolutionise their business.  When it comes to risks, two years ago IT security ranked low on the list of concerns, but now, 68 percent of respondents rank IT security as the number-one enterprise risk.

Data has always sat at the centre of a Finance Leader’s  job responsibilities, and we recognise how insights from Big Data are helping our companies to become more competitive. We  are asked to anticipate the future and discover new areas of revenue growth. This hasn’t changed, but now requires pace, with the agility to swap in strategies based on where digital disruption might take us.

As a finance community we need to continue to explore how we transform the role of the CFO to respond to the demands of this new world order.  And I for one look forward to further opportunities to meet and discuss this,  I also believe it is important  to continue to engage with the broader business community,  as we did at IBM Business Connect, inviting the RT Hon Sir Vince Cable and leaders in security, talent management and analytics to join the discussion, helping us to continue to innovate our profession and function.

Follow the evolving discussions initiated from the Finance Leaders day at https://ibm.biz/UKIFinance

If you are interested in attending BusinessConnect 2016 send an email to glencj@uk.ibm.com