Finance Indaba 2016: The leader in enterprise information management

"CFOs have to have a deep understanding of these models and be creative around the understanding of the financial implications of the benefits and the risks to their businesses going forward," says Lenore Kerrigan, Country Sales Director for Sub-Saharan Africa at OpenText, a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

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With the event around the corner, we will be chatting to all the Indaba partners, asking them why they are joining the event and what their most important message for finance professionals is.

Do you want to hear how OpenText can help you make the best use of your data? Do you want to be informed about the latest and greatest in finance? Then don't miss the Finance Indaba Africa 2016.

Why will you be present at the Finance Indaba?
"Financial heads of any organisation are very much involved in the direction of the business from a strategic point of view and this is driven largely by information. CFOs are taking a much more strategic role in their organisations, rather being just people reporting on the numbers and we find that the business models of the future are changing dramatically with digitisation. To keep up with these changes, CFOs have to have a deep understanding of these models and be creative around the understanding of the financial implications of the benefits and the risks to their businesses going forward. What we do is everything regarding collecting and accessing information in a real-time, governed way and a cognitive and predictive manner so one can make decisions.

"What we are seeing with so many businesses becoming innovative digitally is that foundations are changing. If you look at the auditing side, the days of running through reports and paperwork are long gone. Today it is all about cyber-forensics and really being able to draw on information to establish auditability and track what has happened to a particular transaction from a digital exterior. The full digital experience is lot more auditable and reduces costs, allowing auditors to spend more time on the innovative side of the business.

"Organisations typically have very good information at the transactional level, but the reality is that business is far broader. You may have an order for R500 000 that has been paid in full, but do you have one version of the contract that can be viewed throughout the process and beyond it? What about confidentiality and destruction? It is ideal to have all documents embedded in transactional activity, bringing information and transactions together within a structured environment. This information can include documents, voice recordings, images, diagrams and many other things to give a true reflection and make it easer for the CFO to make decisions.

"New, agile businesses like Uber and Airbnb are built on tech and finance. There are growth opportunities for future-focused organisations that are prepared to harness the power of digital. We want to engage with finance professionals against this backdrop."

What will you be talking about?
"At our stand, we will be demonstrating the use of a central store of documents like contracts. An SAP user can seamlessly pull up a view of a transaction while working within a program and a Microsoft Sharepoint user can also view the same version of the auditable contract. I'll also be talking about our services and increasing digitisation."

What are the challenges you can help finance professionals/firms with in 2016?
"There is a focus on compliance, whether it is regulatory or governmental. It is a real challenge for large organisations to deal with something like BEE codes, which cover HR, finance, treasury and other disparate environments. Organisations need to control information from the moment of ingestion and the authorisations that come with it to how they use it and archive. People often forget about the destruction of information, because storage has become cheaper. Keeping hold of everything, as most lawyers will tell you, is unwise. People are nervous because their information hasn't been properly managed and it becomes difficult to sift through it. The forthcoming King IV code on corporate governance will open up the debate around what organisations can do to make compliance a big advantage."

What is Enterprise Information Management?
"From an OpenText perspective, we look at five areas. Content management, which involves any form of content within the organisation, and business process management, which involves managing how the content moves through the organisation. Then there is customer experience management, which entails getting information from them and back to them in an appealing, marketable and compliant way. The next element is the discovery of information and the analytics embedded in everything we do. Then there is business network interchange, which relates to the exchange of information, from big files to retail transactions, with external organisations."

How important is innovation to OpenText?
"I
t is critical. Our CEO wakes up each morning thinking innovation. It has been driving our growth. Everyone is talking about the digital disruption happening out there. There are a lot of clever people with brilliant ideas, but the trick is to make this happen within organisations. Medium to large organisations can become 'aircraft carriers' - impossible to turn because their backends are so complicated and rigid. It is important that the digitisation occurs at the core of organisations and that they take advantage of their own innovation, not necessarily replacing systems, but taking what they already have and driving value out of current systems in a flexible, simple way."