It seems we’ve made something of a habit of the extended metaphor, having compared the benefits of an entity management software system to: a) the invention of fire; b) the use of a crystal ball; and c) a vault-on-demand. Why? Are we frustrated poets who somehow got stuck writing about technology? Maybe, but there’s more to it than that.
What we’ve found to be true, as we hear more and more from users of entity management technology, is that they never knew or understood its full capability. Now, describing technology is never easy. It’s a bit like translating words into a second language. You never quite know how much the listener understands, and how much vocabulary is shared vocabulary. We can tell you that an entity management system can help you meet compliance obligations through customizable alerts and automated notifications, but if you are not in that world, that might not mean anything. The world has enough word salad, thanks.
Which is why we sometimes go for metaphor. Through comparison, metaphors can make the intangible tangible, and make the abstract concrete. But for those who do work and live in this world, what good are these comparisons? We would defend them this way: They might be able to help you explain what you do — and how you do it — to someone who has no clue. While this might seem like good fodder for small talk, we aren’t really thinking about your success at your next cocktail party. Instead, we want to help you and your finance team explain the work you do to C-suite executives and other important decision-makers. Folks who might hold the reins on budgets and hiring, who might be the ones making the final call when it comes to expanding the organization or updating the technology you use.
How Entity Management Technology Helps Finance Teams
So, to that end, let’s get back to our main metaphor, the crystal ball.
Think back to how we described it before: a Thing, a gadget that allows you to see over the vast distances of time and space (through real-time reporting and analytics). And it allows you to drill down into granular detail with these same analytics.
Past, present, future, big picture, small detail: You can see it all.
But let us imagine that it can do something else. It can connect people from anywhere in the world, at any time of day or night.
Now, what does that have to do with a crystal ball?
We admit, we’ve never heard of a crystal ball used in exactly this way, so the metaphor fails us, but the technology does not. Entity management technology can connect your far-flung organizations, no matter where they happen to be. Cloud-based services make collaboration between your company headquarters and its many subsidiaries as easy as logging onto your mobile device.
If you have a sales manager in Poughkeepsie who needs to collaborate with six production designers — half of whom are in Shanghai, the other half in Buenos Aires — guess what? The crystal ball can help.
Having a team member on the ground in a distant country can be incredibly helpful, providing your team with firsthand insights, local perceptions and subtle cultural understandings that may otherwise get lost in the shuffle. If language barriers are an issue, entity management software can be equipped with translation applications to make communication as smooth as possible.
But equally important is the flexibility that this sort of connectivity affords you in terms of hiring and recruiting. If top-tier candidates have demands that keep them out of the office two days a week, you can make accommodations, and they can still remain productive. And while there will probably never be a real substitute for person-to-person interactions, the economy of remote workers can reduce your organization’s costly overhead investments, allowing you the benefits of a lean core team, combined with the assets of specialized, remote-working backup members.
Making an Action Plan
Once you have this team assembled, whether they are all-in house or partially remote employees, you will inevitably be asked to prove their value. It may not come in so many words, but as we all know, every department, at one time or another, falls under scrutiny, with issues of cost-savings, productivity and efficiency often driving those conversations.
Your team’s mission is to advise and inform decision-makers on the health and management of the organization’s financial resources. To assist you in this endeavor, entity management technology is enabled with data visualization and charting applications, allowing you to quickly and easily create graphs, charts and other visuals. If we return to our now woefully inadequate metaphor, it is as if the crystal ball, which allows you a kind of omniscient sense of the organization’s financial activities, can also be a film projector, converting that information into visuals that can be displayed for a viewing audience.
So here is where your ability to communicate your value becomes truly important. Like metaphors, data visualizations make the abstract concrete; they illustrate the patterns that might lie unrecognized in a sea of numbers. What’s more, they do it quickly and precisely. We’ve all had the experience of watching our audience’s eyes glaze over as we try to explain something important and complex. We know in that moment that we’ve lost them, and if there was any further, more nuanced, understanding we were hoping to impart, the opportunity to do that is shot.
Data visualization helps make your presentations immediate and targeted, conveying your most pressing information clearly and succinctly, so that you can go on to give context to the trends the visuals illustrate.
In moments like this, your team has the ability to move beyond the role of number crunchers, of bean counters, of all those tags that fail to describe what you do. Empowered with all of the advantages of entity management technology — the ability to gather and analyze data, collaborate with any member of the organization and then convert the results of those findings into compelling visuals — your financial team can truly help guide the conversation on business strategy and the future of your organization’s success.
If you’d like to know more about how an entity management software system can help your financial team succeed, contact Blueprint today.