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Why a unified tech stack keeps corporate finance teams ahead of the curve

by Hugh Cumming
Chief Technology Officer, Vena

We’ve all been there. Researching the best technology for our needs and unique specifications, only to realize the components don’t integrate well with our existing solution set…at least not without another huge investment of time and money.

“Systems have had the ability to integrate with other applications for years, but very few actually achieved a high degree of application integration, because it became cost prohibitive,” said Scott Jorgens, director of marketing for Endeavour Solutions, a Microsoft AI Cloud Solutions Partner with the Advanced Small and Midsize Business Management certification for ERP and CRM. “Every additional CRM and ERP integration point became an extra development effort to map, build and maintain.”

And for finance teams today that depend on data from a variety of systems to support their analysis, this can be especially frustrating.

Integrating technology for the finance team of the future

Executives look to today’s finance teams as strategic leaders who are expected to partner with the rest of the organization to offer insights that fuel business growth. With that in mind, they often need to work across technology solutions, drawing relevant data from throughout the business, providing real-time analysis and collaborating with stakeholders from every department.

When finance teams’ reporting and analytics tools can’t integrate large datasets together, they will struggle to keep up with current demands, let alone meet the anticipated demands of tomorrow.

But by building a unified tech stack, around businesses’ existing investment in Microsoft such as Dynamics 365 for instance, finance teams can ensure their tech solutions are primed to work together, avoiding the need to build and maintain complex integrations.

“Being all in Microsoft, the integrations are now one hour, or a half day — so out-of-the-box integrations,” Jorgens said. “It really changes the ability to share and collaborate, moving information closer to the point in time and space where people are making the decisions.”

How a unified tech stack benefits finance

Increasingly, finance teams are looking to corporate performance management (CPM) solutions to act as their central data source as opposed to drawing on data and pre-built reports from their ERP. CPM allows for analyzing and manipulating data, rather than simply recording it. Working from a properly integrated CPM benefits the organization in several key ways.

It provides a trusted single source of truth

With integrations you can rely on, and systems that were designed to work together, you can be more confident that the connections between technology solutions aren’t going to break down. Establishing connections from your ERP, GL, CRM and HRIS systems into a single source of truth means finance teams can access and compare data across dimensions (general accounting, sales and revenue, customer base and employee base) without an excess of manual work. As a result, they can meet their deadlines and offer real-time insights without technical failures slowing them down, keeping businesses on track towards their organizational goals.

It empowers collaboration

Modern finance is a collaborative role. You need to be able to quickly find answers to the various questions coming in from stakeholders across the business.

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About Hugh Cumming

As Chief Technology Officer, Hugh is responsible for powering scale and industry-leading growth at Vena. For more than 20 years, Hugh has enjoyed career success as a proven product and technology leader, building and scaling some of the world’s most successful fintech platforms. He has led agile product engineering, UX and Cloud teams globally at companies such as Finastra, SecureKey Technologies and ADP Canada. Most recently, he served as Chief Information Officer and Head of Technology at Manulife Canada where he led the company's digital transformation efforts and created two of the highest-rated applications for banking and digital insurance claims in the Canadian market. Prior to Manulife, Hugh led the platform teams at Finastra launching an industry-first, cloud-based API developer platform for bank and fintech collaboration.

Vena is purpose-built to help finance teams maximize the value of their existing Microsoft investment. Vena uses Excel as its core interface, embeds the capabilities of Power BI and integrates with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and soon PowerPoint and Teams to help finance professionals surface data and insights to the rest of the organization faster.

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