Interview: Matt Goss, SAP Concur
In our annual Leaders in Technology series, we ask the experts what the year ahead holds. Today we talk automated financial solutions with SAP Concur ANZ’s Matt Goss.
How have Australian workplaces coped with COVID? Will things go back to normal?
Australian and New Zealand organisations have generally coped well with the move to remote work, and the rapid adoption of digital technologies that have let them replace manual processes with automation. Even as workers slowly return to offices, the workplace won’t be the same as it was before COVID-19. Organisations have now wholeheartedly adopted digital transformation and are realising the cost, process and compliance efficiencies of automated, cloud-based solutions. Employees will also demand a more flexible workplace with the ability to work from home more often. Considering this was achieved so well during lockdowns, it will be very difficult for organisations to argue that employees can’t have greater workplace flexibility.
Which new technologies will reach critical mass in 2021?
At SAP Concur, we have seen a sharp rise in the demand for artificially intelligent (AI) expense and invoicing solutions. This has been a key change during lockdowns because organisations realised that manual and paper-based processes didn’t work when employees were geographically dispersed. Considering all Australian Government agencies must have e-invoicing in place by July 2022, and private sector organisations will want to drive greater cost and process efficiencies by eliminating manual processes, we can clearly see that cloud-based expense and invoice applications driven by AI will reach critical mass and become dominant by mid-2021.
How will IT improve operational efficiency in 2021, and who should lead the charge?
New automated, cloud-based applications are driving greater cost, time, process and compliance efficiencies across organisations of all sizes, especially for financial processes. From SAP Concur’s experience, we can see that organisations are much more streamlined and responsive to market changes when they adopt automated financial solutions, compared to those that continue to rely on manual processes. Automation is part of a transformational journey, so it needs to be led from the top down. CEOs must realise the cost, efficiency and compliance gains that the organisation can achieve, not to mention the ability to drive higher levels of employee productivity, engagement and innovation through automation. This sentiment needs to permeate across the organisation, led by the CEO with support from the CFO.
What’s on your wish list from government, industry and innovators?
I’d like to see manual processes across the board replaced by cloud-based automated solutions that focus on the lower value work, and free up humans to do what they do best: create and innovate. Too often, especially in long-established organisations such as public sector agencies, change is feared or avoided. However, as 2020 showed, if we don’t drive change it will be forced upon us or legislated, such as the case for e-invoicing with public sector agencies. It’s better to be at the front and plan for change, rather than react to it. In 2021, governments, innovators and the broader IT industry have new opportunities to develop and use new cloud-based technologies to enhance the employee experience and drive levels of innovation that we haven’t seen in the past.
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