Keeping A Forward-Looking View In FinTech Adoption

For many businesses, the sudden shift to a work-from-home model created chaos. Organizations large and small were forced to migrate to online and cloud-based solutions to keep operations moving, often with significant friction.

As firms start to settle into the new normal, however, business leaders have the opportunity to take a more deliberate and tactful approach to their digital transformation strategies.

Quantexa Chief Financial Officer Arvi Chana said his company had a significantly different experience than those that struggled to adapt. As a digital-first company that offers a range of B2B solutions for data-intensive organizations, Quantexa was in a “privileged” position to have not experienced much friction when the pandemic hit.

“We are digital-first, and we’re quite a flexible company with a lot of tech-savvy people,” Chana told PYMNTS in a recent interview.

That’s not to say the company didn’t experience any changes from market disruption. As CFO, Chana explained his strategy for guiding the enterprise toward a more resilient future through FinTech adoption and a forward-looking viewpoint.

Digital Roots

Because Quantexa operates as a company designed to help other organizations like banks and government entities strategically use their data to drive intelligent decision-making, the company is, by its nature, rooted in digitization.

That proved invaluable for the firm when the pandemic struck, as the firm already had several cloud-based solutions in place that facilitated remote operations, including tools like Office 365, Sharepoint and Netsuite.

And while there were some issues related to customer payments — a common point of friction as many organizations could no longer work in the office to accept paper checks and other physical documents — Chana said those were the exception, rather than the rule.

“Some of that comes down to on-boarding our customers in the right ways to automate electronic payments,” he said.

While the company was already positioned to weather the friction of a remote working environment, there is always progress to be made in any company’s modernization efforts. One tool that Chana said his team has found particularly valuable is in employee engagement technology, which he said provided key insights and analytics to ensure staff remained productive and healthy.

The Right Technology Fit

It’s one thing for an organization to adopt FinTech solutions and platforms that can enable workflows to continue while professionals work from home. But it’s another to fully optimize the back office, ensuring that those disparate systems are able to work in harmony.

According to Chana, the biggest challenge when it comes to FinTech adoption is in facilitating integration. Data connectivity is often at the heart of the discussion of build-versus-buy and must be a key factor when choosing which solutions to adopt.

“It really is about picking best-of-breed, and then having an integration plan,” he said.

The more solutions that launch in the back-office, the more difficult integration can be. For example, an enterprise resource plan (ERP) solution may have a project accounting feature, but a separate third-party solution dedicated to project accounting might be better suited for that particular business. Ensuring that the ERP, project accounting and any other platforms like employee expense management can all communicate with each other is vital to a successful deployment of new tools.

Otherwise, organizations may run the risk of adopting a solution that actually hampers operations rather than brings efficiency to the enterprise.

“It’s about determining that balance between a process that’s really robust and does everything, versus something that slows down the business,” he said.

Eyes Forward

Also key to strategic FinTech adoption is a forward-looking view, as Chana explained.

While it’s imperative that CFOs are able to choose technologies that can best address their organization’s needs today, it’s just as important to consider the flexibility and scalability of those solutions.

“Is that process going to work when I’m double the size? Four-times the size?” he said, highlighting the importance of strategic timing of technology adoption. CFOs must have a clear strategy in mind to drive the business forward, he added, and should embrace this forward-looking mindset when developing a modernization strategy.

Historically, the CFO has been the leader in using historical data to analyze the past performance of a business. Increasingly, however, business agility depends on the CFO’s ability to look ahead is what brings true value to the enterprise and its other business leaders.

“The role of the CFO in this age is much more forward-thinking,” said Chana. “How do we measure our performance, not just historically, but along the way? Are we on the right path? And are we providing the decision-makers of the business with the right data so they can make informed decisions that will ultimately get us along the path to our goal? That is the role of the CFO.”