Modern Finance at Microsoft
Today's. Finance organizations. Face significant, challenges to confidently, make the best decision for their company their teams and their customers, we're. Addressing those challenges ourselves. With technologies, that enable people to be more productive and effective and make better decisions at, Microsoft. We're on a journey to not only help our customers, digitally transform, but, also duce for ourselves within, our own business, operations. Whether. The challenge is rooted in growing revenue or allocating, resources technology. Is often the shortest path to better or, confident, action to. Speak more about what this means for organizations, I'm really excited to be joined by Jane Hezbollah. CFO. Of our global sales and marketing and operations who is here to talk about digital transformation and, what, it means not only for us as Microsoft, but more importantly sharing some insights with you our customers, Jane, welcome thank, you to, get us started maybe could, you share a little bit about your role here within Microsoft, yes, first, of all it's great to be here with you and then, great to be in in Canada in our Toronto, office and yes. I am the. CFO of global sales marketing, operations. As you mentioned and I actually have the pleasure of being able to lead a global team global, finance professionals, across. Our. 117. Sales locations, that we operate in in Microsoft, and we. Are responsible, for not just the financials. But also the compliance. Statutory. Tax, um across, all of those entities, and. Subsidiaries, and I. Think I would say the bulk of my time that I spend right now is around, business planning around. Sort. Of operational. Execution. A, lot, around the business strategy and. Forecasting. And many. Other things resource, allocation, be another one but that's, that's just a little snippet of what I do so Jayne internally, we talked about this idea of modern, finance I'd, love to hear in your own words what does that really mean for us and certainly for your organization, yes I think, you know yes, we do talk about modern finance internally, and I'm sure other organizations. Across the world are thinking about that as well the, the pace, of Microsoft over the last four years and, the change in our environment has, been very fast and. You know for us it's about not only just you know how do we sort of follow that change and but, actually get in front of it understand, you, know what as a function, is the. Most, value that, we can bring to organization, and then, how do we best equipped, our teams, to be able to do, their best work in. This sort, of fast-paced changing environment, so, I think about, defining. The the, roles but also the technologies, that will enable them to be more productive you.
Know You think about Microsoft's, mission, about empowering every person to achieve more, I want. Our flying this organization, to be able to achieve more as well and enable. You know the company and our customers to be successful, I know we've been on this journey of modern finance for a number, of years now I loved, how you talked about it as this balance of people plus sort of process and technology, because I think that's really what brings it all to life if. You reflect back where we are today versus, where we were when we started are there are two or three things that come to mind where you really think we've seen the greatest impact and how we run finance inside Microsoft the, focus, that we've had is around the strategy, and planning of our business. Forecasting. The, compliance, and ensuring, that we're looking at high-risk deals. And and areas, of concern. There's. So there's multiple things we. Used, to spend, hours, and hours and hours gathering information to, try to produce a accurate, meaningful, forecast for, the company because we actually utilize, the field forecast for our shareholder. Expectations. Setting, and guidance setting. And I. Would say we've now leveraged, a lot more about technology, to. Use. Machine learning to extrapolate, historical. To. Be able to have what, called commercial predict, on where, the. Trends are etc and then, enable our teams to be able to step back and go you, know pattern match versus. Trying to collect and gather data right. So not only is a speed, there but the accuracy and the quality, and the information, much better leveraging, our tools I would. Say that in, terms of we, you know we talked about a, little, bit on the what, I do and the compliance component, of it being, able to not just react. When there's issues that, pop. From, a compliance or risks but, again. You know using our technology and our tools to enable us to sort of identify and narrow down where, there's potential, high risk deals. That. We need to then more. Deeply. Assess, has. Helped, us a lot to to pinpoint. To save time and just. In general from, a just, how, our team works together and collaborates, the, fact that we use our technology you, know work I I, have a global, role I work, a lot from, outside. The office, I am constantly on teams. I. Collaborate. With all of our fix in that way you know whether it's through video conferencing, using teams, or the. One notes as well as been super helpful to help enhance the, the productivity, that we do and so. There's there's multiple, aspects I love that because it's sort of this AI sort, of an amplifying Humana Genuity, and it's really about hey how do we help use, technology kids decisions, faster, and then use human, capabilities, bring it together just, that point on the AI it's it's interesting because as we, continue to sort of evolve and the teams have been working. On. Various, chatbots, and so, whereas. Our, folks. Are are distributed, across the multiple, agios you. Know they get a lot of questions from different parts of the business about and, it, could be anything but let me just maybe talk, about the compliance again you, know where's this policy, what's our expense thing etc and.
We've Built multiple, multiple various, chatbox but, the, one around the compliance, was, you know go to so, that they don't have to find that compliance, lead to ask the question that they have the you know the chat but they can interface, with and then if they need to go deeper maybe, they can you know work with the compliance lead but but it's it allows us to scale without just, adding, a lot more people yes, I love that story so. Recognizing. Obviously, modern. Finance you've sort of framed it as being this broad initiative across the company we've. Got a incredible. Opportunity I've certainly I'm not a finance person the but I spent a lot of time with the content and understanding, it as we spend time with customers. If. We try to unpack it and pull it apart a little bit I think there's maybe two questions that I'll come back around to the first, you sort of talked about this briefly which is around compliance, you. Share a little bit more on how we've enabled an order, technology, to really be compliant, given that that's just such a hot topic and an important conversation for frankly every customer today yes I would. Say you know as as we sort of said that the change in the environment, the, reality, is our compliance, landscape, has actually, not gotten, simpler, right it's actually gotten more complex, there's different. Political. Issues. There's there's a lot of things happening around the world and especially for a company that operates you know across across. The world and there, are issues that we need to address on a regular, basis, what's. Important. For us is to not, as much, as possible just react, to things that are happening but. Think, about how it can be proactive and identifying, the risk so that we can actually one, prevent. Hopefully, from happening, we can you know better train our folks, but. What, we do you, know I mentioned we have this M as, an example a high risk, deal desk and. They're there to look through deals, to, make sure that we've got them structured, right to make sure that they adhere, to, you know the policies and practices that to Microsoft, has. And, we. Obviously can't, staff, enough people to cover you know every deal that that is happening around the world and so, again, we've been able to sort of leverage our. Technology, to, sort of look, at pattern matching and assessing, which, deals what, type, of scenarios, would. Have potentially highest risk and then pull those out and then have them go, through the dil desk right, are we gonna catch a hundred percent of. All the issues maybe. Not, but. We're gonna get you know much better place, then, if we had not to use the technology, fabulous. And. So we've talked a little bit about I'll say data and process, which are super, important parts of the component, but. The other dimension that I spend a lot of time talking to our customers opposed to the people side of us yeah just hey us humans. Can. You share a little bit about how modern finance has now become more about the people and how you've enabled certainly, your organization, I'll say that it's directly within your remit they have a seat there's a global finance organization. Yes how is it sort of impacted, the people in tether finance operations, it's. Interesting we it just before this recording we had, breakfast, with one of our key, customers, and we were talking about that because, it. Doesn't really start with technology, it actually really in my mind you know if you're thinking about any kind of modernization. Or transformation, it. Starts with the people I mean and when I say the people I mean the leaders have to be engaged they have to care they have to believe that there is you, know goodness, that's going to come from the effort they, have to have a vision of what we're trying to you know take that the organization, take the company that's, super important and. Then of course engagement. The people you know just I was speaking with this, gentleman about. The. Benefits, is it benefit for the company or is it benefit for your employees, right and needs to be both because. If you don't have employees sort of engaged in that vision their, understanding. Why, it's a benefit for them. You. Are. Gonna have a much harder time from a change manager perspective, right so, for us that modern finance was that. We. Wanted to allow, and enable our finance. Folks to, be able to do their best work and free. Up some time for them to be able to do that right if they're, sort of stuck in the transactional. Processing, the whole time how, are they going to have the ability to step back and go what is the state of telling me right, not, just producing, not.
Just Creating, but interpreting and then and then being able to bring that to decision. Makers to make you, know good. Insightful. Actions, incisions, from the insights that they bring them right, and so for. Me it is that, people have to be engaged top you know and, across, organization. Then, you kind of have to say. - we have the right processes. To, get us to where we want to go because the technology, needs to enable those processes, right, it's not like you say let's bring in you, know everything. That Microsoft can offer and then let's then figure out what we do with it right it, needs to be other way what problems are we trying to solve what. Where. Do we want to go and how does that technology. Enable, us to get there you know faster, and then, the other thing around people I know I mentioned, it briefly but. Our ability to collaborate with, the tools that we have across. Our sort of modern workplace, solutions. Is incredible. Right the, the, fact that, I. You. Know not enough a lot I have a distributed, team globally. I feel, just as engaged with them through, every, time we're having you know a conversation and, through. Through. Teams every. Time you know we're instantly, able to sort, of have the collaboration the chat and, that. Just brings us together, as well in the time zones matter less yeah right, and so, that's great so I think it's just such an interesting piece which is it's a bit business impact but there's also a huge human, element to it yeah about diversity, obviously, a global organization. You've got time zones different cultures but, it's also a big piece about culture, yes and so I think it's a really great story yes no it is a huge piece about culture and you, know especially on the culture point I mean for our company, to come. Out, and say look you know are one, of our um a. Key. Piece, of our culture is this growth mindset, right our, willingness, to sort, of have people try, things out and if it doesn't work the first time that's. Okay but. Let's make sure we take our learnings let's make sure that we don't repeat those mistakes the second time but. You know people feel I think much more empowered, to be able to go and try and do new things and, we. Also you, know just speaking, of culture too I mean we have as well, a value system that is built on accountability, so it's not like we just say you.
Know Everybody goes and does everything nobody makes sort of accountability, for that and that, we want everybody to sort of go how, can we do things better how can we do things different how did can we make you know more. Impactful difference, and not, be afraid that if they step a little bit out of the boundaries that. Somehow they're penalized right, and, I think that's that's great and that's actually helped us advance our, ability to move, faster at modern finance so. Love, the story love sort of these some of the examples that you shared, may. Be personalizing. It for a moment CFO. Global, organization, you have employees around the globe obviously, a much broader constituency in, the field finance, organization. Can. You share a little bit more about how tools. And technology, have empowered you you've talked a little bit about teams you've made reference to OneNote yes so more holistically, what. Today in the life of Jane look like and how are you using the technology, to do maybe yourself to get your job done but more importantly enabling, organization, to do what they need to do, very. Good question but I'm gonna actually start with something slightly different and then I will answer your question which, is you, know the way that I'm able to do my job and hopefully do my job very well is, about. The, the people I have in the organization so again I wanted to bring it back to you know it starts with the people it starts with a talent, which, means that we have to care and nurture for, our. Talent as well and and make sure that we're bringing not. Only new talent into the organization, but developing, the talent that we have today. And then, that then, translates. To me being able to go to you, know my work really well because now I've got a set, of leaders and and people, who are able, to do their jobs well and then you, know I feel, good about to mean it was a delegate, on. The technology, side, there's. A few things I mean one we. Need to stay connected right I don't have any. Of my direct reports not, only sort of in the same office but even in the same country right. And so having, that connection, because, if I think people, we've got to build trust we got to build rapport we have to stay connected etc.
That's, Where we're using the technology, I mentioned, that I mentioned, teams which is probably the number one they are much more than you know phone because we do the video, chats. All the time so. Same connected, with the organization, and and. Not having to sort, of be bombarded with them, lots of emails and so you, know I mentioned the OneNote which is, great. For me because information, can't post it there but synthesized, and structured, and organized and which. Is super helpful because at the end of the day whether it's it's myself or, I think any of the other, execs. Or leaders, it's, about how do we get time, there's. Only 24, hours in a day but. For us to sort of maximize, what we're able to achieve right. If we're getting things that's clear if we're getting things that's simple, then, easy to access and quick for us to digest that helps. Right and so the, way that information is, is sort of. Presented. So, I give you another example because, I've you know talked about him one no and I talked about teams but our. Dashboard, there's a few ways that I'm, getting the information there's a push through, the daily flash so, you know our performance, is come to me I don't have to sort of you know try to look for it it's structured. In a standardized, reporting it, comes you know every X days, that we have have. Asked. For to. To. Come, through and in cases. A week or daily and so. That's great because I, get, the the push instead of having to pull and but, let's say if I'm having to sort of pull some information we have this um system. MSX. Which I could go in look, at performance any geography any, lines of business you, know any timeframe, and, trend, and then be able to pull the information in, a, way that is digestible, whether. It's you know graphical, easy, to sort of story use of story tell yeah but for, people who like data, and, and. Like to consume data you, know the drill down functionality, in the power bi to actually. Get in, the next layers. Of information right. To support, what, you see in the graph that's super powerful as well because. Again I don't have to go and call up you know other folks to say what's going on I can, quickly, you know just schedule some and, it's instant, right and so for a lot of us it's sort of like we have this question we want to look it up we, don't want to you know write an email to somebody get something back that's really we want to be able to go what, does that mean double-click, get it and so, now you get a lot more self-serve. Versus. You, know having to structure, a meeting, get everybody together, spend. Another 30 minutes you, know and then people feeling like they have to prepare a lot right, so for and myself. That's super. Beneficial, to just easy access, to sort of information yeah well, I love it and obviously, as an employee I have, access to a lot of it too and yeah and I think this idea of you big hoop ubiquitous, access that it really enables the self-serve and, creates the flexibility, by more hole which is you can look at it at a global level obviously, my focus is Canada and so I can scope that yeah it's. A great story to tell of it and so Jane maybe just as a quick wrap-up obviously.
Customers, Of, various, shapes and forms irrespective, of industry, are really serene working through this digital transformation yes. Given the experiences, we've been through that you've been through personally, are, there a couple things that you might share with our customers to say hey if I'm trying to figure out where to start from my organization, known for myself as a CFO, where. Might you guide them based on the experiences, if we've had first of all I mean get started, you, know that's one of the the, sort of hardest things is sort of take that first step and, doesn't have to be a big grandiose step, it's not like you've got to get you know all of your data stayed and data warehouse cleaned. Up in the next you know three weeks and because we know that takes time but. You know get started, but even, before then, kind, of have a vision of where you want to sort of go right not not way, out in the future but like. You, know how do you sort of visualize, your organization. To be working. To be more. Productive and, and. And really you, know be, ready, for the future so get. Started with some kind of vision, in mind of. Course bringing the people along I talked about sort of tone at the at, the, you know top or you know tone with the leaders but also an engagement with all the folks and then, there's so much technology out, there to write to help. So. It's not just about like any organization having, sort of to do it on their own but, I think you, can you know bring Microsoft, you can bring obviously. You know other, providers. But to, help you in that journey, but. It sort of starts with what problem are you trying to solve and you, know where do you want to take the, organization. And then let. You know let um Microsoft, help you get there yeah like there's a slide that's just popping back into my mind that I saw once upon a time I'll say try to define, digital transformation, which is sort of this people plus process, yes and then technically.
Sometimes. Get caught up thinking about technology is this all yes and I think there's an important piece which is skills yeah which, is do you have a skills in your organization, to enable that transformation, that's I should a very good one because I was gonna say the the, reality is like you know we try to hire in skills but but, the you. Can never just continually. Hire because you, know there's a limited, pool. Of people that sort, of understand, the you know an AI or understand the new technology, so there's, a big component about skilling, from a training and development perspective and so, back again to you know how do you nurture your, existing, employees and then, enable them to grow with you is super, as well I love it thanks, so much for joining us it was great to have a chance to sit down and chat it's a pleasure a pleasure to be in Canada for sure thank you.