DigiconAsia: Companies are adopting new practices to achieve business continuity and smooth transitions to remote working. Can you give us some examples on how companies can stay efficient with new Work-From-Home mandates?

AJ: Many organizations and their HR teams have never operated with remote employees and are looking to find the best solutions to make their employees’ WFH experience an easy and a productive one.

Cloud-based human capital management applications can help by removing functional limitations and providing high-security platforms that can support business continuity anytime, anywhere and on any device.

As companies seek new ways of operating in today’s business environment, their employees need to take many steps to ensure the transition has the least disruption possible. For example, finance teams have for the first time had to shift their way of working from their offices to working from home and deal with the crucial task of closing their books remotely.

Finance teams in companies that rely heavily on cloud-computing technology to automate accruals, adjustments and internal transactions could be in for a smoother close than those who use on-premise technology on virtual private networks or enter data into spreadsheets manually. This is because companies that have not adopted cloud technology are finding that virtual private networks are not optimized and built for speed, thus causing spreadsheets to incur challenges more often than not.

When finance systems are delivered via a SaaS model, their teams can access the system remotely via their mobile devices. They have one set of shared data, integrated workflows, and always-up-to-date technology. They also do not need to worry about security.

Hindalco Industries Ltd., a flagship aluminum and copper manufacturing company in India, used to face multiple challenges when it came to seamless collection of data from various locations and then filing financial reports on a real-time basis. The ability to close books quickly—with quality, accuracy and in full compliance with regulatory standards—is a critical challenge that can impact a company negatively, if standards are not met. To simplify their processes, Hindalco has since streamlined their financial management and regulatory reports in a cost-effective manner by utilizing the power of cloud, data analytics, and smart automation.

DigiconAsia: Last year saw many breakthroughs and progress in AI development and implementation. Are there any meaningful business achievements and best practice cases coming from this trend?

AJ: Embedding AI, machine learning, and smart chatbots into core applications mean customers’ day-to-day business processes run more smoothly, compliance and security risks decrease, decision-making improves, and their teams have more time and mindshare for strategic thinking.

For example, NEC, a Japanese multinational information technology and electronics company, is using the cloud to automate previously manual processes and streamline financial data across its rapidly growing global operations. With AI and data-driven features embedded in the cloud, NEC can now analyze all data received from overseas subsidiaries on a single platform and improve their decision-making processes.

In India, Unilever, a multinational consumer goods company, has also moved to the cloud to leverage AI and IoT to make data-driven decisions. As a result, the company has succeeded in better management of vehicles required for transportation and optimization of their routes, which resulted in reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The company is also using AI to combine internal and external data and build models that help it predict the weather or traffic patterns.

DigiconAsia thanks Adrian for sharing his organization’s insights with our readers.