Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Finance Pros on the Fence About Blockchain and IoT

The IT industry is positively bullish on blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT), but not everyone in the corporate finance world is sold.

In fact, only 11 percent of the 279 finance and treasury professionals that were recently polled by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) said their organizations were “fully” or “very” prepared for blockchain, IoT and robotic process automation. More than a third (36 percent) of respondents said their organizations were “minimally prepared” or not at all ready, revealed the group’s AFP MindShift study.

The study’s findings also suggest that as a group, finance professionals are on the fence about the effect these technologies will have on their jobs.

Half of all respondents expect blockchain and IoT to have a moderate or significant impact on their profession, stated the report. More than half (51 percent) said they don’t have plans to implement blockchain technology and 48 percent said the same for IoT.

Artificial intelligence and robotic process automation solutions appear to be having an even tougher time gaining traction among finance professionals. Fifty-four percent of respondents said they have no AI implementation plans while 55 percent give robotic process automation the cold shoulder.

And as it stands now, adoption rates are meager.

Only one percent of respondents said their organizations are using blockchain. AI is slightly more popular with two percent of organizations while six percent said they robotic process automation is in use at their workplaces.

Although these technologies seem to be dominating discussions about their impact on the IT industry and their influence on the digital transformation journeys that many businesses have embarked on, a majority of finance types need some convincing. Fifty-eight percent said the biggest barriers to adopting blockchain, IoT and other emerging technologies are awareness and engagement, said the study.

The sooner finance and treasury professionals get acquainted, the better, according to Jim Kaitz, president and CEO of the Association for Financial Professionals.

“The benefits of new technology for finance and treasury are clear: increased productivity, reduced costs and better decision-making,” Kaitz said in a statement. “However, the challenges are just as clear: lack of control over technology, cybersecurity, company-wide consistency, maintaining employee skills, and the potential loss of jobs. Treasury and finance needs to get their heads out of the sand and begin to grapple with these challenges.”

Other top barriers to adoption include cost, executive buy-in, and the one challenge that enterprise IT professionals are all-too familiar with, technology integration.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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