Best of 2020: Technology Trends
23-04-2021 7 min read
Digitization became much more than a buzz word in 2020. As finance and treasury teams were forced to work from home due to the coronavirus crisis, many companies had to accelerate their plans to digitize their processes to keep their businesses operating.
To guide our customers along their digitization journey Serrala CTO, Constantin Huebner, and SVP Technology & Product, Vishal Awasthi, outlined the top 5 technology trends that will reshape finance in the years to come at our recent Serrala User Summit. Click the links below to find out more about each:
1. Cloud - The Place for Innovation
At this point, there is no doubt that the cloud is the final destination for business solutions. At the Serrala User Summit, Huebner cited that the vast majority of innovations are already taking place in the cloud and there’s significant value provided by these solutions for finance and treasury organizations.
Moving to the cloud frees companies from getting a new solution up and running in a distributed or remote work environment. It also makes it easy to stand up a global, best practice-based solution that can address specific processing needs.
The data security and privacy issues raised at the introduction of cloud computing are no longer a concern. It is possible to use a hybrid model to integrate cloud solutions with existing on-premise systems so sensitive data remains secure and doesn’t leave the system of record. As a global company, based in Germany, Serrala strives to meet the most stringent data privacy regulations. According to Huebner, „GDPR is one of our key topics during our product development, both from a product lifecycle and from a hosting perspective“.
2. Intelligent Automation – Go Touchless
Companies have been using RPA and other automation technologies to increase the speed and accuracy of structured, rule-based processing tasks for more than a decade. Intelligent automation, however, represents the next generation of this technology and companies are using it to take their initial productivity gains to the next level. Some examples include:
- Intelligent Document Capture – Serrala SmartEye is an intelligently automated capture solution that can read and interpret unstructured information from digitized business documents such as supplier invoices, remittance advices, bank statements and more. It learns as users process these documents, building a library of digital fingerprints so it can automatically improve the quality of the captured information. The intelligent software significantly increases the speed of and lowers the cost of data capture.
- Enhanced rule-based processing – Intelligent automation technology also makes it possible to automate more complex tasks such as the processing of invoices that are not linked to a purchase order. It can intelligently determine the correct general ledger (GL) code/accounting code for an invoice line item based on the description of the goods or service on the invoice. Over time, the solution learns from the users’ behavior how to map the GL code for the line item based on the product, industry, supplier or other criteria on the invoice. This enhanced automation will enable companies to handle increasingly large volumes of invoices with ease.
3. User Experience – Focus Drives Efficiency
User experience (UX) is not simply a product feature, it is an essential component of solving customer problems. According to Awasthi, an effective UX should help users handle exceptions quickly and effectively by highlighting information to drive insights within the context of the application. For example, it can highlight any anomalies in a payment (i.e., wrong date, account number, unusual value, etc.) so a user can either approve it, or investigate it and send it for further processing.
4. Software as a Service – Add Innovative Features As Needed
The scope of IT knowledge required to support global finance and treasury teams today is enormous. Almost every organization must be able to manage complex financial processes that involve multiple banking systems, payment formats, and transaction types. This is why Serrala has begun to offer several of its innovative financial processing capabilities as a service. Companies can use these services to monitor outbound payments for potential fraud, map payment information to specific payment formats, or establish a new bank connection. These services are fast, flexible and cost effective for companies. For example, with software as a service it is possible to set up a new bank connection in only a few hours when it would typically take a week or more for a busy IT team.
5. Analytics – Real-Time Data for Better Decision-Making
After the dramatic business disruptions in 2020, the need for real-time analytics has never been more evident. Finance teams should stop relying on manually maintained spreadsheets and look for reporting and analytics solutions that integrate data directly from your ERP system as well as your other data sources such as banks and market data providers. The advantage for users is timely, accurate data and a single source of truth for financial KPIs. By moving analytics to the cloud, it is possible to take advantage of artificial intelligence to analyze large volumes of data and detect patterns and trends across extended time periods. For example, intelligent analytics solutions can help users determine the probability of a customer paying an invoice on time.
What’s the Next Big Thing?
No one knows for sure what 2021 will bring. By watching these 5 technology trends and keeping our eyes open for emerging technologies, we can plan an effective digitization roadmap that will let us adapt our finance and treasury processes so we are more resilient and ready to face the changes to come.
To find out more about these technologies and other trends in finance, you can explore the vast library of expert forum events on our website.
If you’d like to discuss a specific technology question in more depth, our Serrala experts are available to review your requirements and discuss options at your convenience.
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