In recent years, the Visma | Onguard Fintech Barometer, an extensive annual survey of financial professionals, has grown into an indicator of the credit management landscape. After four years of conducting the survey, we have a wealth of data to reflect on. From this we can see interesting technology trends emerge. Digital transformation in the credit industry progress further, and steps are being made towards automation finally relieving teams of burdensome repetitive tasks.
These themes were explored in depth in our recent roundtable, where our very own Luc Godfroid was joined by Sue Chapple from CICM and Mark Preston from Dun & Bradstreet to discuss the impact of these trends, and what we could expect to see around the corner.
Digital transformations continue
Certainly the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation across the industry. Many CFOs and credit professionals put into question the old idea of manual spreadsheets and internal processes in light of more distributed workforces. Following the first and largely forced digitalisation of workplaces, professionals are now looking to automate repetitive actions to filter data. This raises efficiently and makes the data usable.
Some organisations have galloped to the finish line over the last 18 months in terms of adopting AI, robotics and automation. However, this is not the case for everyone. Others are only just starting to come through and review their order-to-cash processes. The latest technologies are of great value as they don’t require high-level IT knowledge but have the power to bring siloed data together and make crucial connections. Many organisations are in favour of greater automation moving forward as customer payment behaviour changes and certain disruptions continue. But alongside the desire to future-proof processes and operations, a certain level of fear to adopt new technologies remains.
Economy cleansing ahead
Following the health crisis, we can expect to see cleansing of the economy next year. As governments around the world heavily invested in companies to keep them afloat, the national debts piled up. We can already see a small rise in bankruptcies and insolvencies. The race therefore continues, but who will win? Digitalisation? Or the economic impact?
Turning data into usable information
As digital transformation in the credit industry continues, financial organisations face an ongoing challenge. How can they turn the large volumes of data they collect and store into valuable and usable information? Following the disruptions to the supply of data this and last year, it has become increasingly important to govern the data sources, ensure data availability and usability.
For many, it is tempting to invest in software straight away. However, starting backwards can put them on a road to failure. Organisations need to do a data, systems and process inventory first. Then, set out clear goals to make sure that the software investment is actually going to support all the processes. But there is an issue: large scale data collection makes it impossible for a human brain to see relevant connections. Hence, an increasing interest in an integrated system that ensures good cash flow and helps maintain long-term customer relationships.