Core Changes Indian Companies Should Consider in the Wake of COVID-19

The tremendous impact of COVID-19 has been experienced by economies across the globe. With remote working being widely implemented almost overnight across the country, organisations have been forced to rethink about technology adoption, including digital solutions, to keep the business going. The expectations around digital tools and automated services continue to pick up momentum and are now considered an integral part of the ‘new normal’. And, the working norms followed in most Indian corporates today are expected to accelerate it further. According to Gartner, even in these challenging times, 70% of organisations report that they intend to leverage technology more effectively than ever.[1]

Many companies are already on the path of digital transformation to ensure their employees have access to the resources that are necessary to keep up with the business operations. Here are some of the top systemic changes that businesses should embrace as part of digital transformation to streamline processes, improve efficiency and productivity and ensure requisite visibility and compliance during these unprecedented times:

  1. Services need to be redefined

The year 2020 and the evolution of a remote workforce have tested businesses’ durability and flexibility. Taking vendor management as an example: Managing unprecedented volumes of vendor invoices efficiently when staff is decentralized has been a challenge for the finance departments.

For most businesses, the digital solution for handling these challenges focuses on centralizing and automating finance processes. Digital transformation should leverage technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) that can take care of repetitive jobs like data entry and cost tracking enabling you to not only make processes easier but also create savings that lead to new revenue.

For instance, did you know that on average, a single invoice is supported by 15 people on its journey. In addition, 63% of finance leaders say they have received duplicate invoices, and 33% say they’ve even paid one. On average, 5% of revenue is lost due to duplicate invoice submissions. By automating the invoice process, you reduce the risk of paying in error and increase the chance of spotting fraudulent invoices too. Purchase Order (PO) matching protects your business from being overcharged. Automatic two- and three-way matching means nothing gets overlooked, and Accounts Payable (AP) can easily identify and resolve discrepancies.

  1. Optimize existing processes

Digital transformation is not always about bringing in something new. The main purpose of increasing efficiency can also be achieved by optimizing the existing processes and simplifying the workflows to ensure consistency and efficiency.

Businesses should review their current service portfolios to check what services have resonated well with the customers and employees and what can be done internally to achieve higher efficiency levels. For example, businesses can become agile by adoption of cloud technologies and utilizing intelligent solutions for spend management can help companies gain visibility to their current spends and optimize those spend decisions to support their liquidity requirements.

An audit can help businesses prioritize services that would benefit most from digitization and understand how to better optimize solutions to meet customer expectations and business operations. According to a recent survey that was commissioned by SAP Concur, 79 percent of Indian employees said that they strongly link their overall finance and administrative experience and their overall satisfaction of working for their organisations. This suggests that if businesses want to retain their talent, they need to improve their finance and administrative processes.

  1. Strengthen your partnership with customers

It is more important than ever to understand the wants and needs of customers to stay relevant. While technology rapidly evolves, businesses should establish an open and trusted dialogue with customers, which can present opportunities and identify challenges. While positive customer feedback is important, it is even more valuable to understand what is not working well.

These discussions are not always easy, but they are essential to maintain a competitive advantage and become an industry leader. Businesses should identify touchpoints with customers to maintain a pulse on any problem areas and to implement solutions that better serve customer needs.

  4. Invest in your employees

According to Forrester and SAP Concur study, 68% firms believe employee experience to be an important factor impacting the business objectives. Understanding the role of technology, 64% of firms consider the impact on employee experience when making technology purchasing decisions.[2]

Automation can assist in taking care of the monotonous tasks so that employees can focus on more productive work. With the dynamic scenario, necessary changes should be brought into the policies, like filing business expenses via mobile or submitting digital invoices. Adopting digital tools providing superior user experience would also help in tapping into the digital-savvy millennial talent.

Another important part for digital transformation is reskilling of employees. Businesses must invest in empowering their employees with digital skills that will enable them to better meet business requirements and stay relevant in these changing times.

Digital transformation has picked up pace across industries and rightly so, as it can provide the necessary edge to organizations in today’s unpredictable market. We live in unpredictable times, its important for leaders to take this as an opportunity to step back and review the policies their organization has and adjust them to a position for what could be a very changed future. Today, you set the groundwork for the new world to come.

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