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[AI Business School] [How did you and your leadership team begin Microsoft's Finance's digital transformation journey and what have you learned about the role of culture throughout this process?] >>Amy Hood: When we thought about beginning our digital transformation journey my leadership team and I got together and started talking about what needed to change. And as usual, we started with a list of the actual goals we had for the organization. Make forecasting more accurate could we use technology differently? But, we quickly learned that the actual list of things we needed to make were about what cultural attributes we needed to build in our team. How are we going to make it important for each of our team members to get comfortable with new technology. How are we going to incent them to learn and not be afraid of moving forward with this process? And, how we are going to motivate, have people be excited about learning excited about the adoption of new and different ways of approaching problems. And, so for me when we look back, I realize that it was almost more important to realize the culture change you needed in the organization than it was to realize the business problems you were trying to solve. Because really what we needed was a motivated workforce, not just our leadership team on my direct reports, but every layer of team needed to feel like they were going to be incented and be valued by their adoption of the technology by the outputs that allowed them to have then we could let each of the teams be empowered to pick their goals whether that goals are around forecasting or credits or collections or using a treasury teams or tax. It needed to be about really having your team say I want to do this I am excited to do this and I feel like by doing this I will be more valued by the organization. [How is AI changing the role that finance plays withing the broader organizations?] [Can you give an example of how finance uses AI to drive greater impact with the business?] When I think about the way that AI has changed the role that finance plays in an organization or our organization, it really goes back to thinking about changing your mindset from reporting or how do I report results to how do I influence outcome? How can I help each group make a better decision? How do they know the next best action to take? And, so it is less about oh wait, we are doing this through AI, it is more about, "wait a second" I just realized I can have more impact with the adoption of AI tools to be able to drive the business faster. And whether that comes through a conversation you have that is about, hey, wait a second, we are meeting the budget but, oh, you know what if we did these next three things that really influence revenue, we can grow faster, we can deliver a better customer outcome. We can actually may be improve customer satisfaction we can reduce churn, these types of conversations have actually build a different relationship. The way finance operates and builds a business partnership is less about reporting the past and far more about influencing the future. Being able to have these types of conversations that they could not have before. Not that our finance members are more capable of doing that, they have always been capable. But this gave them a vehicle, a vehicle to have that explanation to feel proud of their work and to be able to see a direct connection to customer outcome. For us, I can opt in using tools for forecasting for example, that is an activity that I think everybody does in finance and most people don't love because really all you can be as inaccurate. And everybody thinks like oh gosh, I would love to do, be wrong, so if you think about AI, it is not about guessing or using a history and excel to get to the right answer. It is about knowing the different variables that impact that outcome and being able to talk about those variables with clarity and with confidence. With our team, as we adopt this type of technology we both got more accurate and had fewer cycles, spend less time, forecasted fewer items. We reduced the number of line items that we forecasted by 90% and then got more accurate. Imagine how that made the team feel. They went from doing a lot rigorous work on a weekly or monthly basis, not seeing the impact to a situation where they are able to influence and see the impact and do the right work at the right time to get a better answer. For us, that has just changed a ton about how people feel about their job and frankly about the happiness they have in it. [What advice would you give to finance or business leaders going through their own digital transformation journey?] When I think about giving advice to fellow CFOs or business leaders going for their own journey, I think I would say start with what you are trying to accomplish as a team. Are you trying to accomplish a long set of items or pick a few things to make meaningful progress on. For us, we chose the latter we picked a few things and by the way, they were always our hardest problems. In many ways, we needed easy wins. We need to build our confidence in the technology. We needed to make it not quite as scary for our team to learn and to approach. Because really the people who are going to adopt AI are going to help build the algorithms, we are going help build the tools our own finance people. We did not need new talent. We did not need different types of people, what we needed was our bravery and our willingness to learn and understand that they already knew what we needed from them. We needed to understand the business outcome. We needed their expertise to understand the variables that impacted and we needed them to work with experts to help take their knowledge and build tools that would make their job easier. And make the outcomes better. In some ways, when I think back I was like, Gosh, I started the first time, but I said, aww, the most important thing to get right is this. I look back and realize the most important thing that we needed to do was build confidence. To build confidence in leadership, to build confidence in our people that the adoption of these tools was going to actually make them better at their job. It was not about replacing who they are, it is about making the tools that make them better and bring out their own knowledge and ability to change the business. And, so we actually I would say pick a few things, get a couple easy wins, build confidence, build excitement build rewards into the system and have people say, I want to do this, I want to raise my hand to volunteer my business process to be reinvented. I want to be the one who thinks about how I could do this job differently better using tools. And, what I think you will discover as you go through that journey, you will be surprised by different peoples' approaches. You will have some that dive right in, some that are bit more stand back a little bit, but gosh once they understand the impact that can have, they may be the ones that drive the big project, the big outcome. The other thing I would say is, it is not about building new teams to deliver this. We did not have a special project management office or a portfolio that said, oh now, we are going to build a team. We let the teams do their own work, do their own learning, own their own outcome. When you do that, you are able as a leader to see your leaders grow, see which ones are brave enough to raise their hand and say I don't really understand this I want to be trained I want to learn and you see who empowers their teams. I have to say it has been one of the biggest benefits of our multi-year journey has been to watch leadership development. Watch managers, watch and see who the good ones are. Who let their people grow and run with these ideas and I look and say, gosh, I mean if I would have known that earlier, what a win. that would have been. So, I wish you all the very best of luck on your own journeys. But I would remember matching cultural transformation with the adoption of technology will actually have a multiple effect.

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Duration: 8 minutes and 52 seconds
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Views: 5
Posted by: csintl on Jun 18, 2019


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