Building capabilities in data and analytics to drive advantage in finance
Most CFOs know they need to take a leadership role in insights and analysis, as companies turn to finance for answers to critical questions. However, despite having a high appetite for data and analytics (D&A), most finance organizations are struggling to get the value they want from their D&A capabilities, and many CEOs are concerned about the integrity of the data that drives enterprise decisions.
One of the most common stumbling blocks for finance organizations is the business case. Many cannot see a clear return on investment beyond cost reduction as their top driver, so they simply have not equipped themselves with the right capabilities to drive their strategy in insights and analysis.
But building maturity is not as simple as embracing new technology and reducing headcount. Instead, to realize the greatest benefit from insights and analysis—which is the accurate, real-time intelligence that drives profitable growth—finance must look beyond cost savings alone and accept that the entire ROI may not be visible at the beginning of the journey. The organizations that succeed will build trust in D&A and bravely move forward.
Amid the unprecedented speed of change and the growing pressure for accurate insights, this leap of trust is becoming the new imperative for finance. It means ensuring data quality, integrating processes, adopting emerging technology to fuel advanced analytics, developing new skills and talent, and creating an analytics-based culture that supports business partnering.
To remain relevant, the finance organization must transcend its role as a recordkeeper and become an enterprise-focused data steward that delivers financial, operational, and strategic insights. And as the speed of disruption increases, finance also must move quickly.
In the future, the data for predictive and prescriptive analytics—along with the descriptive and diagnostic measurements used for financial statements and operational reporting—will become fully automated, improving speed to insight. New technologies will extract data in real time from multiple systems and publish it straight to user-friendly dashboards that are available to the business for collaboration, analysis, and better decision-making.
Across industries, leading finance organizations have already started down the path. For example, by collecting and analyzing wear-and-tear data in real time, some industrial manufacturers can determine component failure rates and develop schedules for servicing and maintenance. This kind of solution for predictive and corrective maintenance is helping them reduce costs, structure better service agreements, enhance capital planning, and improve asset life and efficiency.
Read this whitepaper to explore the CFO’s role in the enterprise data strategy and considerations for building a performance-centric finance function amid big data and other disruptors.