During the Credit Summer Event, tech and innovation to solve structural challenges of financial professionals were the focus. After all, innovating and digitizing are two crucial factors for continuing to do business with customers, and thus have a major impact on the success of an organization.
Innovation and digitalization: two words that can no longer be absent from any organization. Are they missing anyway? Then the organization is already 1-0 behind and it's time to join in at high speed. During the Credit Summer Event (organized by Altares - Dun & Bradstreet, Bierens Incasso Advocaten and Onguard), the financial professionals in attendance experienced why it is important to innovate right now.
"Standing on a stage in the middle of the room, I find that really special," opened stand-up philosopher and keynote speaker Martijn Aslander his story. He took center stage, a place where customers of companies should also be. After all, even when companies use new technologies, customer loyalty must always be taken into account. In every part of the event, it was emphasized that the customer must always be at the center of the order-to-cash process.
"We are on the eve of a huge explosion of technology and innovation. An even bigger one than we can imagine now. This has everything to do with people's network consciousness. Networking is creating ever more rapid change.
The first man who ever bought a fax machine couldn't do anything with it until someone else also bought a fax machine. At that point, it was of no use to him. The thousandth fax sold really added value to the first one; this is the power of the network. With faxes, it took a very long time, but today there is something special going on, which is the cumulative stacking effect. This has to do with the rapid changes around us. Just think of the time it took to switch from radio to black and white television. This took twenty years. Nowadays, it is much faster. In the summer of 2016, 1 billion people embraced the new technology Augmented Reality in the form of Pokémon Go within a day. The fact that so many people played this in a short time is a harbinger for the future," says
For business, network effects are going to play a big role. We live in a time where we have access to about fifty technologies, of which Blockchain, Robotics and Augmented Reality are just three. As a result, anyone in the world can get started with these technologies and create their own value. Technology causes a lot of misery, but it also solves a lot of it; think of the teacher strikes, for example. We're used to unions supporting this, but one optimistic teacher set up a Facebook group to call on teachers to go on strike. As many as 45,000 teachers signed up and the strike went on - without union intervention.
Technology and the existence of new networks are making functions and organizations obsolete and the customer is choosing, at the touch of a button, what they need. Real time action and insight is what it is all about. The financial services industry can respond to this. Think, for example, of accountants; they are continually working on financial reporting in the
past. New technology already allows for real time reporting, making bookkeepers disappear and customers always have insight into the latest figures.
Risky to be safe
With the meteoric rise of various technologies, old economic principles no longer apply. Where once innovation led to financial and economic growth, something else is happening now.
Because everyone has access to a wealth of technologies, we no longer talk about scarcity, but about abundance. The landscape is changing so we need to go back to the drawing board. This is also important within the financial services industry.
During the event, Edwin Hazelaar, Blockchain expert at ING,
and Edwin Neef, Risk Manager at BMW, also told us that their organizations are working hard on finance innovation.
Hazelaar: "At ING we are aware of the changes caused by emerging
technologies. The customer has access to everything and as a bank we need to keep up with this. We want to serve this customer optimally and we are working on a financial ecosystem where supply and demand come together and where supervisors have real-time insight into what is happening. Going along with the technologies is important, because playing it safe is much riskier, then we lose." ING is applying blockchain technology to provide insight to regulators. BMW mainly uses data in the area of risk management. Neef: "All risks within BMW are flagged up by our department. The data quality is very important in this. Thanks to all the new technologies, we have high quality data and can properly advise the management which risks we are going to take or not."
Within credit management, one of the components within the entire order-to-cash process, the new technologies are also very much alive, but with a caveat. Laurette Fettig, employed by Innogy NL and Credit Manager of the Year, went along with successful Credit Managers Romeo Pracht (Bavaria) and Tatjana Milic (self-employed) to discuss trends in credit management. "It's old fashion not to think about new technologies and data," Milic says. "This also applies to the credit management department; a wealth of data is collected there. To make the best use of this, it is necessary for companies to start making decisions with the data from credit management," continues Fettig. "For example, credit management can see which industries are doing less well. Sales can respond to this by drawing extra attention to credit management in those sectors." Pracht fully agrees: "Make sure that the data is complete and then serve the customer optimally through data-driven credit management. This is the only way to distinguish yourself as an organization from the rest and to be able to participate in this new era where technology forms the basis."