There’s no denying Automated Intelligence within the context of Credit Management is an emotive subject, which provokes highly charged reactions depending on where within the Credit Management hierarchy you operate.
Coming ready or not; AI is headed to a workspace near you.
For CFOs and Senior Credit Management professionals, understanding how to assess, introduce and implement this relatively new technology, while offsetting the risks AI poses to customer relationships and existing collection teams morale and job security, is a real dilemma. Furthermore, executives are hampered by the lack of solid independent AI performance and payback metrics.
Enterprise AI and the Mid-Market
For the Enterprise, AI has firmly landed within the Credit Management Department with a soft thud. Real-time intelligence, predictive analytics, customer behaviour analysis and self-learning, are just a few of the benefits of the new ultra-efficient; always-on AI colleague. For CFOs and Finance Directors, AI presents a compelling proposition with a massive opportunity to hyper-streamline, add value to the supply chain and deliver real revenue to the balance sheet.
The question of how fast Credit Management AI is adopted within the mid-sized organisation is still to be established. One certainty is that all organisations are under constant pressure to collect cash faster. Set against a backdrop of today’s challenging business climate, the uncertainty around Brexit and the constant cry from the top to maximise profitability, mid-sized organisations are continually seeking more cost-effective ways to collect cash faster and increase cash flow. On a real cost’s basis, AI presents as the perfect business opportunity to collect cash faster for mid-sized organisations.
Traditionally, Credit Management’s propensity to adopt new technology has been highly risk-adverse. While the front office; sales, marketing and customer services have been racing towards digital convergence at breakneck speed; the back office has meandered towards technology, deliberately and systematically, taking the time to understand and analyse the impact, risk and reward. Their theoretical approach to technology is never dazzled by the shine of new technology. Take ERP for example, adopted in the early 80’s, this technology finally opened the back-office windows and let its light flow through to the rest of the business. The reality was that ERP took an age to arrive and establish; however the gain on back-office productivity was monumental.
Today, Finances’ attitude to adopting and embracing new technology has gained pace, this is reflected through the advancement of e-Billing, EDI and customer portals which are now a staple of Credit Management’s arsenal of go-to systems which contribute to the speedier cash collection demanded by the business.
Collecting Cash Faster and The Human Cost
While Intelligence Automation might be the next logical step for Financial Executives; the common denominator is human. Executives recognise that chat-bots, predictive analytics and self-learning, can only go part of the way towards collecting cash. AI advantage drops- off where human, emotional intelligence begins; the reality of the man versus machine paradox come to bear. Relationships, emotional intelligence, the subtly of verbal communication, human perception, adaptation of approach and style to surface the best outcome is firmly a human activity. Knowing when to push and when to dial-it-down, the understanding of the business impact and the precarious nature of the business relationship are just a few of the reasons why Credit Management AI is not such an easy technology decision. To this end, the slow adoption and realisation that a sensible approach to utilising AI within Credit Management in conjunction with human resources prevails.
In a world where Credit Management AI is set to become the next technology frontier, it is the responsibility of Fintech vendors to create AI which enhances human endeavour, improves the human nurturing of the customer relationships, whilst also removing the low-level routine, repetitive processes and freeing up human intelligence, to collect cash faster.
Carolyn is a Technology Marketer at Data Interconnect Ltd www.datainterconnect.com a leading Automated Invoice to Cash Provider. She is an avid observer and commentator on emerging front and back-office technology and brings her 25+ years’ marketing experience to bear on a myriad of technology related topics. Click here for more of Carolyn’s articles.