SIS Limited using Oracle Cloud Applications to create integrated, standardised, and automated financial processes
CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Mr.Devesh Desai, CFO, SIS Group
- What are emerging trends defining the future of the security/ manpower intelligence organisations in India?
Looking at the market dynamics, the trend is toward incorporation of technology inputs and tech components in a client or customer solution. In today’s world, only manpower will not be enough to differentiate yourself and provide the best solution to your clients. We must embed smart technologies into our solution. And that technology component must come from both customer-facing and back-office standpoints, where you deliver compliance, quality assurance, and visibility into what’s happening on the ground. Customer technology solutions imply that we include electronic and intelligent solutions for the customer.
In addition to this, the incorporation of sophisticated technologies like AI, ML and Data Analytics will also become popular in the security/manpower intelligence space. For instance, there is a need for implementation of AI-driven tools, intelligent video analytics, for specific customer categories, otherwise we won’t be able cover every corner of a customer’s site. Therefore, organizations must have the technology component, or else their customer base will be limited.
2.What are the major advances that is making SIS Group transform their back-office department? How does it promote innovation and derive benefits? What is the strategy in place and the roadmap?
We are operational across geographies, with presence in India, in various segments, in Australia, Singapore, and New Zealand, with all homegrown and acquired companies. As a result, there was a need to harmonise the workings, processes, reporting, and the way people and different companies analyse information and data and take action. So, the only way to accomplish this was to establish a unified platform across the board. This is what motivated us to digitise our operations. With this, we have certainly achieved part of the objective, and remaining part has been achieved by automating certain processes. By removing the manual intervention will allow people to focus on complex and value-added tasks. We have automated accounting processes using robotic processes and in-house developed tools and if there is a complex accounting process, it is automated for the software, without human intervention.
As a result of automation, reporting is now automated, and a standard reports listing is developed. Additionally, the delivery of those reports is being automated on a predefined frequency and target audience. All of these are then delivered to our employees’ mailboxes. Every morning, for example, a customer collection report is delivered to the employee mailbox. The data aging report is then delivered weekly in the mailbox, branch level, region level, zone level, or site level, profit and loss account are delivered in the mailbox, the moment the books are closed for the month. We expect people to read those reports and start acting on them. That is how we are constructing the organisation. With this, all non-value-added jobs are being moved to our Support Services Center, and business entities will only have people who add value.
3.Can you cite some challenges that pushed SIS Group to move to the cloud to streamline your financial reporting, management and procurement processes?
We have a few companies that have been acquired over time, as well as some homegrown brands and companies across various geographies. We discovered that everyone followed a different procedure. Some were analysing things differently using different accounting classifications. The majority of businesses were not analysing and recording transactions at the site level. Every site and every contract must be evaluated and tracked. You must assess and track the profitability of each contract, not just on a country or entity basis.
We use this as a method to ensure that all our entities perform site level recording, transaction accounting, and analysis. And that is when you will understand efficiency, where we can gain more out of the business and where we can remove inefficiencies. So, in order to streamline our processes and increase operational efficiency, we implemented a common platform across the board and used that platform to automate processes. The platform ensures that we weren’t spending time and resources doing these processes manually. For example, using the capabilities of Oracle and our software, we are even going so far as to automate tax accounting and month-end accruals, both of which are a pain point. We’re doing everything we can to ensure that people spend their time analysing the system’s output rather than creating inputs for the system. And, of course, in light of the global shortage of people and talent, automation is the way to go.
4. How Oracle has been supportive to you through this transition and helped you innovate? How was Filix Consulting involved in the deployment process?
Oracle’s capabilities have aided in the implementation of automation, where we have robotic processes and a software tool which handles complex accounting tasks. Oracle interfaces are very smooth and streamlined. We have a separate system where we run invoicing, payroll, and contract management, and the Oracle interface is assisting us in integrating those systems. Furthermore, Oracle systems such as the supplier portal, which is pushing out some of the work to the suppliers.
We determined that where we have suppliers who have been issued purchase orders and are submitting invoices, processing their invoices through the supplier portal is much easier.
Filix Consulting has been extremely supportive, and they completed the majority of the implementation during the COVID period. It was a remote implementation for roughly 80 to 90% of our business, and people are surprised that we onboarded 15 or 16 entities during the COVID period. The training, configuration, implementation, and rollout all took place during the COVID period, and we delivered the required output.
5. Overall, where is your business headed in 2023?
We are currently working towards our vision 2025. We create a vision plan every five years. At this point, we are focusing on exceeding 20,000 crores of revenue as a group by 2025. That is where we are aiming; we continue to strongly grow every quarter and month.
6. How should CFOs infuse digitization successfully in 2023?
We believe that automation is the key, and that the CFO’s game is now value addition. Prior to digitization, CFOs must transform the function and outlook of the teams to focus on valuation rather than the traditional role of bookkeeping. The CFO is now expected to drive innovation within organisations, which is a new development. Automation is one method of bringing efficiency to the back office. These are some new aspects for traditional CFOs that they are not accustomed to. Traditionally, CFOs were not used to making technology-based decisions. However, CFOs and finance teams must now transform themselves and begin to understand how to take risks, because they must ultimately support and add value to the business. And they can only do so if they spend more time on value-based tasks and less time doing the traditional bookkeeping and recording. Today, CFOs must focus on automation and data digitization in order to spend less time recording and more time analysing and adding value to business and decision making, which is one of the reasons we have been building the Support Services Centre.