A New Role for Finance
Architect of the Enterprise in the Information Age
by Mark J. Morgan
Continuous advancement in technology has led to quantum gains in the accessibility and communication of information, defining the beginning of a new age—the Information Age. Information technology and system advancements have enabled businesses to achieve globalization goals, forge new alliances, and accelerate new-product development, resulting in the most robust economic climate in history. The Information Age calls for finance to play a new role—architect of the enterprise. The architect role will require the finance function to be the champion for change, the conscience of the enterprise, and the counterbalance to cynicism within the management ranks. For finance to be able to function as the architect, three broad activities within an organization—development, manufacturing, and selling—need to be built as separate business units rather than being bundled into one, as has been the case in the past 30 years. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, the foundation of the Information Age, are the tools that make it all possible. Here’s how you can help your company compete in this new climate. Merger Mania Isn’t Enough The previous age, the Industrial Age, effectively came to an end when increasing market share via merger or gaining economies of scale through vertical integration was no longer an effective strategy to improve a company’s economic value. Merger mania continues at an unprecedented rate because companies must sustain growth potential in order to attract or maintain the support of the investment community. The expiration of pooling-ofinterests accounting has created an immediate need for companies to formulate acquisition strategies.
Three Ages of Modern Man
Agrarian Industrial Information
Stronger acquires weaker Larger swallows smaller Fast defeats slower, regardless of size
19th Century 20th Century 21st Century