BlackLine Blog

October 29, 2019

Optimization: The Key Ingredient to World Class Implementations

Modern Accounting
3 Minute Read

Michael Anderson

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Football season is upon us, so forgive me in advance for the sports metaphor, but here is the scenario: your favorite teams have spent all spring and summer preparing for the big opening game. Plays have been rehearsed, game plans have been drawn up. Everything seems to be right on track for a successful launch to the season.

But, lo and behold, at the end of the first half, your team discovers that things are not going exactly as planned. When the sports commentator earnestly asks the coach what’s going on, the coach typically responds with, “we need to make adjustments to ______ (fill in the blank) at halftime.”

So, adjustments are made and your team dominates in the second half. The coach knows that in order to maximize success, they have to optimize their plans for the conditions that face them out on the field.

As a project leader implementing software, it’s important to remember that a successful implementation does not end at “go live”. Even the most flawless implementation plans require tweaking.

Optimization can mean the difference between merely a good implementation and a world-class implementation. Just like the coach who makes adjustments based on data he receives from the field, project leaders must continue to optimize their software to take advantage of real-world situations in their business.

If it’s your metaphorical “half-time,” and you need to explore optimizing your current technologies to better take advantage of your game-time situation, then read on to discover innovative strategies for optimizing BlackLine.

What Is Technology Optimization?

Simply put, technology optimization is the alignment of your goals with your technology’s capabilities. Yet, optimization can come in many different shapes and sizes. Depending on business objectives and needs, how organizations optimize a process can look completely different.

In addition, with an ever-changing environment, goals shift and capabilities evolve. Just as a good coach responds to situations as they occur on the field, so should your technology optimization efforts.

There Is No Silver Bullet to Finding the Best Solution for Your Business Needs

Optimization of technology is not a “one and done” initiative. In order to utilize technology as a strategic asset, continuous evaluation and improvement to your current systems must occur regularly. As a result, your organization can minimize redundancy and process lead time through automation, as well as discover new revenue-generating and cost-saving opportunities.

Additionally, optimization should not take place only in your ERP system or BlackLine. Optimization should be applied to all types of technology that your organization is using (or could potentially use), allowing your organization to leverage industry-leading technologies and close the gaps between your different business functions.

Advantages Gained From Optimizing Your Technology Capabilities
  • Improved efficiency: Repetitive manual tasks can be automated, allowing employees more time to do more analytical activities to drive business growth.

  • Improved reliability: Along with efficiency, data provided by automation processes can be more reliable by eliminating human errors and issues. Moreover, many technologies have built-in systems to ensure higher-level information is only granted to the appropriate roles.

  • Improved visibilityMonitoring and reporting solutions will enable your organization to discover patterns and trends, errors and fraud, and bottlenecks within your current processes. Such insights will help pinpoint strengths and weaknesses that will ultimately lead to opportunities for improvement.

  • Focus on innovation: Streamlining processes and utilizing solutions that best fit your business needs through technology will help your organization to achieve higher quality results. The by-product of optimization is the ability to shift your focus to innovation, and this is where your organization can lead amongst your competitors.

How Do You Know If You Are Ready to Optimize Your Technology?

It’s time to re-evaluate how you are using your technology if its outcomes, and the efforts to achieve these outcomes, do not align with your business objectives. You may simply not be leveraging all the functionality of your current technology, and/or not employing a broader solution that incorporates multiple technologies.

In terms of BlackLine, here are just a few of many questions you can ask yourself to determine if you need to optimize its use:

  • Have there been substantial changes to your chart of accounts?

  • Have you realigned your organizational structure?

  • Have you added any high-volume transaction accounts?

  • Are you making large elimination entries for intercompany accounting?

  • Have you added foreign currencies?

  • Have you implemented new accounting policies?

  • Have you made changes to other systems/technologies that impact your data and processes in BlackLine?

  • When is the last time you did a full system review of your account settings, and checked those settings with respect to leading practices?

When your organization is open to asking these questions and open to change that could lead to more success, you are ready to optimize your technology! By working with a BlackLine Partner, you can get the guidance needed to navigate these questions, and helpful insights into other areas that may not have even occurred to you.

Next Steps: Ensure Optimization Success

At RSM, we collaborate with our clients to thoroughly understand their goals and objectives. By combining proven methodology for the transition of business processes, our unique solution designs, industry expertise, and technology experience, RSM ensures that the optimization of any technology—including BlackLine—is a success.

Learn more about RSM here.

About the Author


Michael Anderson