Over the last decade, many corporations adopted new technologies as part of overall digital transformation strategies that allowed them to remain competitive in rapidly changing markets. Now, some of the software and technology tools purchased during the digital transformation process are being used by CFOs and their finance teams to improve financial operations and decision-making.
Many of these software and technology tools automate various tasks and processes, improving a company’s operations. Although they were designed to solve specific problems within a specific department — such as helping marketing teams automate search engine optimization strategies or aggregating data for improved customer experiences — smart CFOs are expanding the technology’s uses beyond the intended business unit. CFOs and their teams are using the data collected, aggregated, and analyzed by new software and technology tools to improve forecasts, report on metrics, and form long-term financial strategies.
Since the organization is already using and paying for these solutions, finance teams can work with individual business units to better understand the tools they use and how the software’s data can shape financial decisions. Using data that is already a part of a department’s workflow increases the accuracy of the company’s projections. The result can lead to a better run, more disciplined, and coordinated organization.
Here are three areas in which CFOs can see immediate benefits from leveraging the software and technology tools already being used by other business units.
While conversation intelligence tools are primarily used by sales management, they can also be used by finance teams to forecast bookings with greater confidence.
Conversation intelligence tools record sales calls and other communications between sales teams and potential customers. The communications are aggregated and analyzed to create an overall picture of the organization’s sales efforts. These platforms then use artificial intelligence to reveal patterns within the sales communications, making it possible for sales leaders to better understand what makes for better sales outcomes. Sales managers can also use the information to determine if sales teams require additional training and guidance.
For finance leaders, a view into the status of a sales deal can provide insight into the forecast. Knowing whether a sales deal is going to close, the details of the prices being negotiated, or what customers are saying about their competitors is valuable information for financial forecasting.
Engineering management platforms (EMPs) provide visibility into engineering organizations, the work they do, and how they operate. By analyzing engineering signals and contextual business data, EMPs enable engineering leaders to align decisions with strategic business objectives and deliver software efficiently and on time.
While engineering leaders buy EMPs to measure and track engineering performance, the EMP can be used by finance teams as well. Finance leaders can use the information in an engineering management platform to make strategic decisions on where to invest additional R&D resources, forecast the cost of additional product development, and measure the capitalization of internally developed software.
Engineering managers and finance teams usually work together to categorize and calculate the amount of engineering time that can be utilized. Engineers need to be consistent and detailed as they track their time and report on which of their efforts can be leveraged. But this process is tedious and can also be inaccurate. Automated engineering management platforms can provide a precise, detailed record that can save tremendous amounts of time for both engineering leaders and finance teams.
Customer success teams use software and artificial intelligence to track customer interactions with the company and assess the likelihood of sales renewal. This information is critical to the daily operations of the customer success teams, but also could be used by finance teams for forecasting future renewal rates, cash collections, and the overall health of the business.
These software and technology tools allow finance teams to learn from a system that’s already in use and already purchased. This type of collaboration can help finance leaders build partnerships with leaders of other departments. Using the same data and tools and demonstrating how working together benefits the overall business can lead to more disciplined operations throughout the organization.
Joanne Cheng is the chief financial officer of the engineering management solution Jellyfish.