Building a rock-solid business case with baseline and projected metrics that gauge the expected return on investment (ROI) is a critical step financial executives must take to get a new tech project executed, according to a panel of treasury executives, consultants and technology experts.
That process varies from company to company, and exactly what metrics are used to make the case for the project will also depend on the corporate team that will be using the technology, the experts said. For example, a treasury department might focus on hours saved or reducing risk on portals because they’re focused on how the technology speeds collections or better manages payables, while other departments might be more focused on the impact on revenue.
"When we look at world-class organizations that are doing it well, they have project management offices in place and they focus from a strategic perspective on the projects that have the greatest impact on revenue or efficiencies. Those are the ones that will win the day," said Bryan DeGraw, associate principal, finance advisory services at Hackett, during a webinar panel discussion hosted by corporate treasury fintech FinLync Wednesday.
Once metrics are in hand, those proposing the project move on to getting budget approval, which was voted the biggest hurdle for financial executives looking to pull the trigger on new technologies, according to a poll taken during the webinar.
The process is formalized and internally competitive at Amazon, according to Michael Rodrigues, with Amazon's FinTech-Treasury Systems. It entails filling out a document called a press release and frequently asked questions (PRFAQ) which lays out the business case and includes concrete information about how it would benefit customers, save time, or benefit the company in some way, he said.
"Management and executive sponsors get dozens and rank them in terms of where you are going to get the most bang for your buck," Rodrigues said. The key is to get the metrics, project how the new system would change the metrics and then ultimately track how they do change, he said.
Executives considering a new tech solution also need to consider a potential unintentional negative impact that the new system might have on other parts of the company, said Trevor Bateman, senior manager in global treasury at Walmart. That requires a familiarity with the whole business and people in other departments that need to be onboard.
"It was a little bit of a novel concept to me to understand networking within your own company," Bateman said. But all departments "have all got to feel at least some amount of cozy with the change to technology."