The Cloud Economy: Transforming finance and enabling growth for businesses at any scale

Supanee Anuwongworavet
Deputy Managing Director – Finance
Microsoft (Thailand) Limited

Just look around you. No matter in the news or your workplace, most of us can say that technology has truly transformed how we live and work. However, some may still feel such changes are not quite transformative – including those working in finance because even though the tools have definitely changed, the finance department still retains the same mission: building a precise fiscal system that facilitates the company’s accomplishment of its goals.

Even if the mission remains unchanged, the factors that the finance department must consider are no longer the same. Technologies like the cloud have added new dimensions to fiscal management, opening up opportunities to generate much greater returns on investment.

From CAPEX to OPEX: Reduce capital investment but gain greater agility and growth

Many organizations can now shift their investment priorities from sizable capital expenditures on infrastructural assets to support growth and focus on operating expenses that generate immediate returns. This is a perspective we can describe as part of the new “Cloud Economy.”

From a solely fiscal viewpoint, organizations that adopt the cloud can significantly reduce their investment in technological infrastructure and only spend on resources that are actually consumed. In addition to cutting down huge investment, the cloud approach also takes depreciation out of financial statement and allows expenses to be controlled with flexibility on demand.

Woman in dark jacket speaking in front of backdrop with "Data Economy" written behind

Add value to your data and turn routine reports into deep insights

The cloud does not only offer more flexible ways to control costs, but also new opportunities to make better use of financial data. For instance, a retail business analyzed sales of its fresh food products and concluded that Thai barbecue restaurants represented a large portion of its customers. As a result, inventory and storefront display strategies were developed to better match the consumers’ needs, leading to higher sales.

Through this approach, financial data can be much more than just an accurate record of what happened within your organization. Changes in the business can be analyzed to determine their causes and predict what may happen in the future for organizational modification.

Take your workforce to the next level – from day-to-day tasks to driving the business forward

By empowering employees to expand their horizons beyond day-to-day work and into more analytical and strategic spaces can reveal new paths toward growth. One of the biggest impacts from the Cloud Economy is its ability to use technology to free up and enhance capabilities of the company’s workforce.

All these benefits are of course best realized and understood through real experiences and real success stories. Recently, Microsoft Thailand and UOB Thailand organized the “Digital CFO in the Age of Digital Transformation” event to bring together management and financial executives from customers of both organizations to discover and exchange their experiences in enhancing the financial aspects of their business through digital technologies. One of the most fascinating stories shared in the event was that of Perfect Paper – a fast-growing company that is participating in UOB Thailand and The FinLab’s “Smart Business Transformation” program to optimize its business and achieve more sustainable growth through digital solutions.

Smiling woman in dark jacketSarintorn Phaosopa, General Manager of Perfect Paper, told us that the company primarily processes paper pulp into raw materials for the paper industry – ranging from tissue paper to packaging or even insulation and wood substitutes. The company’s goal in adopting new technologies is to give employees opportunities to analyze available data by themselves instead of gathering that data for someone else to analyze. With cloud-based tools such as Power BI and the well-rounded ERP capabilities of Dynamics 365, Khun Sarintorn and Perfect Paper can more clearly see where the company stands – from finances and logistics to marketing. Armed with these insights, she expects to be able to cut costs by no less than 15%, while sales may double thanks to newfound opportunities.

Khun Sarintorn and Perfect Paper’s story is a reminder that any business – no matter the size or industry – is facing the same pressure from technological changes. Embracing these changes is no longer just a luxury but an undertaking that every organization must undertake to ensure survival, competitiveness, and progress towards greater successes.