CFOs kept the conversation going to share ideas and build community

2021’s Community Conversations provided a platform for CFOs to exchange ideas and plan for the future

During one of this year's Community Conversations on digital transformation, all of the executives agreed that the challenge for CFOs as they take a step back to consider the legacy of application solutions that keep their organisations running, is determining how to properly assess the value of their IT ecosystems before investing large sums in the next generation of technology.

Quantimetrics CEO Bram Meyerson suggested that CFOs evaluate the ROI of enterprise software by simply asking themselves a few questions before investing in these solutions:

  • Are we right-spending on software and app delivery?
  • To what extent are projects adequately prioritised?
  • Which projects are draining our budget? And why?
  • What proportion of our spend is sunk on maintenance and support?
  • Which legacy applications bear the heaviest support overheads?
  • Which support activities contribute most significantly to support overheads?

Bram explained that, when evaluating software costs, purchasers should objectively judge whether they are enjoying value for money for software IT procured and used. As a minimum, they should look at whether they are acquiring or developing the software at a fair price. “The foundation of these types of judgements require us to understand the concept of size or complexity,” he said.

Read more: CFO Community Conversation reveals how CFOs can evaluate the ROI of enterprise software

Embracing disruption
Similarly, executives were of the view that businesses will be left behind if they do not embrace change, particularly when it comes to digital disruption. This was revealed during an intimate Community Conversation about how the “new normal” has affected businesses.

Brian Chivere, CFO South Africa community manager, identified three levels of disruption: the digital divide, community retail, and product as a service. It is worth noting that businesses that choose to close the digital divide will assist retailers in creating a richer customer experience.

“Players should be able to close the digital divide more aggressively. The existing gap is between consumers’ digital behaviours and expectations and the retailer’s ability to deliver the desired experiences,” he explained.

In the same discussion, Hatch Africa CFO Craig Sumption unpacked the concept of radical change in an everchanging world.

“You need to have change and be prepared to change. A lot of people think it’s about radical change, but it’s not always that. Our industry hasn’t required radical change to take place, however we have been working at change over the years in the major sectors of metals, energy and infrastructure. We are all still learning and growing, including clients, to do some things differently by using the digital tools available,” he said.

Read more: CFOs need to embrace disruption and uncertainty or get left behind

A lesson on flexibility
For Nando’s South Africa CFO Simon Adams and Douglasdale Dairy CFO Brad Wentzel, the Covid-19 pandemic was more of a lesson on flexibility in order to respond to the changing environment.

They both had similar stories when it came to how they responded to the hard lockdown last year because they are both in the fresh food business. Fortunately, for Brad, being a diary producer meant that Douglasdale was deemed an essential service because it provides a basic food product. On the other hand, Nando’s, like many other restaurants were not essential services and in order to keep running had to rely on food deliveries services instead, where consumers would order their food online or through Apps. Another compelling argument in favour of digital technology.

Read more: Simon Adams and Brad Wentzel reveal how they learned to be flexible during lockdown