IFS has shared the latest findings of its recent global researchpolling 2,000 senior decision-makers – VP and above – in France, Germany, Japan, Nordics, UK, USA and the UAE – across Manufacturing, Services, Telecoms, Energy & Resources, Construction & Engineering, and A&D industries.In its last overview, the company highlighted the overarching dependence on AI to create and accelerate business value from servitization.
The survey points to specific executives as drivers or enablers to successfully make the shift and align the organization behind it. The survey highlights the CFO (21%) behind the CEO (35%) asthe guardian of business resilience, financial health and as the purse string holder for technology investments.CFOs recognize that the move to servitization is essential in providing predictability in revenues, expenditure and third-party costs, and are aligning themselves to becoming stewards of identifying cross-businessstrategies that willbuild competitive advantage.
At the heart of the business case for servitization, the CFO is focused on three elements: Faster and more cost-efficient time to market, visibility and predictability into revenues and CAPEX, accelerating organization alignment across people, processes and technology, to support not only the processes but also to provide the insights required to assess and optimize as they gowithin their business and intra-company.
CFOs exhibitthe greatest urgency in implementing a servitized model out of all C-level respondents (CIOs, CHROs and CTOs), with (32%) prioritizing adoption within the next 18 months. This implies change is not only necessary but will deliverbusiness benefits, with progress and success measured by a fully servitized P&L.CFOs are also most likely (26%) to say their role is the one driving the shift within the organization, as they understand how technology capabilities will reach deep into their organization and enable it to become more technology-drivenwith regards to the design and delivery of products and services: Product R&D (34%) and service R&D (32%) are two areas CFOs prioritized when looking at servitized business processes.
The priority outcome CFOs want to achieve from servitization is enhancing insight-driven decision-making capabilities (32%) – pointing to why AI is their #1 essential technology choice (49%) as it will fuel faster, more accurate and more data-led inputs into the strategic choices that impact the bottom line.
Technology as a revenue growth enhancer makes wisefiscal sense. For example, EAM is a must-have for servitization success(34%)– assets that are predictively maintained will last longer, have less downtime and result in less expenditure. FSM (40%)maximizes profitable revenue streams and enables significant cost savings across the service lifecycle through optimized workforce scheduling and planning.Similarly, the wealth of connected asset data that can be harnessed through the application of automation, ML, IoT, end-to-end connectivity – all CFO “must-implements”– explain why CFOs have emerged as such strong proponents of technology and servitization.
The CFO’s confidence about the organizational readiness is high at (42%)indicating they have the processes mapped out and are progressing well in their move toservitization, but still have either organizational impacts on people and processes (23%) or technology needs to overcome, making the CHRO the second most significant executive to drive and enable the transformation.
CHROs aremore cautious about servitization readiness within the organization, being acutely aware that shifting from a product-focused to a service-focused mindset within their organizations is a barrier to implementing servitization (42%). However, CHROsare in alignment with the CFO on customer expectations for servitization, which are highnow, and are set to increase. They also agree that technology is essential to success, with AI their top pick (50%).
Alex Rumble, SVP of Corporate Communications, Product Marketing, AR,&CI at IFS, commented: The CFO’s remit has evolved hugely in the last decade away from financial reporting to understanding and influencing business-wide strategies and aiding transformation.” Rumble added,“Our researchillustrates this very well and that CFOs not only understandthe positive impact of aligning a business behind the customer’s expectations, but also the much broader business value of doing so.” She concluded:“Today CFOs are visionary advocates of change and digital transformation and will help build predictability in revenue and costs, ultimately the holy grail for CFOs but still technology dependent.”
Together, CFOs and CHROs can partner to be a powerful force to not only accelerate servitization, but also ensure that the whole organization is primed for success.CHROs must act as a secondary catalyst to mobilize cultural change, acting as a bridge between the business and ensuring the communication and implementation of the overall strategy is not siloed to the C-level.