Sunday, December 18, 2016

Perspectives 2017: Financial Agility for Digital Transformation

by Andrew Blacklock, Senior Director, Strategy and Products, Cisco Capital

Ten years ago, companies like Uber and Airbnb were ideas waiting for technology to catch up. Now, these two brands represent a shift in the global economy in what’s known as digital transformation. This evolution towards digital-everything is constantly accelerating, leaving non-digital companies scrambling for a means to kickstart their digitization projects.

According to Gartner, there are 125,000 enterprises in the U.S. alone that are currently launching digital transformation projects. These companies are of all sizes, from nimble startups to global conglomerates. Despite the strong drive to a digital future, 40% of businesses will be unsuccessful in their digital transformation, according to Cisco’s Digital Vortex study.

Many attribute the difficulties associated with the digital transition to the significant costs of restructuring an organization’s technological backbone. Because of these challenges, many companies opt for an agile approach to financial restructuring.

Financial agility allows companies to evolve and meet the rapidly changing demands of digital business through liquid, scalable options that won’t break the bank. While it is not always possible to predict changes in the business environment, agile financing allows companies to acquire the proper technology and tools necessary to plan, work and expand their businesses.

Financial agility isn’t just another buzzword – it’s a characteristic that organizations of all sizes in all industries need to champion in order to drive efficiencies and competitive advantages. It’s a way that companies can acquire the technologies needed to shift their business without having to “go all in.” This allows companies to avoid large up-front capital investment, help with cash flow by spreading costs over time and preserve existing sources of capital to allocate to other areas of the transformation.

Organizations now need to decide how they can best adjust to the transformation and transition for the next stage of digital business. With financial options that enable organizations to acquire technology and scale quickly, companies can pivot with agility to meet the constantly-evolving demands of our digital age.

Looking at the bigger picture, financial agility is a crucial piece of an organization’s overall digital transformation puzzle. While the digital landscape might be constantly changing, flexible financing helps set an organization up for a successful transformation to the future of digital business.

About the Author

Andrew Blacklock is Senior Director, Strategy and Financial Product Development at Cisco Capital. As director of strategy & business operations, Andrew is responsible for strategy, program management and business operations. He has been with Cisco Capital for 17 years with more than 20 years of experience in captive financing. He is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

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