How innovation in data platforms will elevate financial performance

Data management remains the “Achilles heel” of the finance function. According to a recent FSN survey of more than 1,000 financial professionals worldwide, 78% of respondents claim to be more data-drive than they were three years ago, yet 58% concede that valuable data is scattered across the organisation. Only 40% have managed to formally identify how new sources of data could give them a competitive edge and only 11% say they are using more non-financial data than they were three years ago.

Marshalling data across an entire business is manifestly difficult. However, identifying, codifying and putting financial “wrappers” around new sources of structured and non-structured financial and non-financial data holds the key to driving competitiveness and preparing for a new era of insight driven by emerging technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

So how should CFOs respond when the “golden nuggets” of competitively useful information do not reside in the general ledger? Or when such information scattered across the enterprise and not easily accessible? Or when the organization simply cannot take advantage of the rapidly growing volume of financially useful data?

innovation in data platforms

The trouble is that operational and other more useful sources of data can be “lumpy” (unpredictable as to timing and volumes), deeply granular, and typically non-comforming to accounting best practice. Therefore, such data must transformed and codified before it becomes trustworthy and capable of being merged with other more traditional sources of financial data.

It’s a familiar story for innovative software vendors such as CCH Tagetik which are developing the next generation of corporate performance management (CPM) systems. While CPM has served the finance community very well over the last few years, the pressing demands of the modern finance function for more “insight” needs to be matched by more broadly-based data platforms.

CCH Tagetik’s Modern Finance Transformation Platform™ is a game-changer since it paves the way for finance and business users to harness and incorporate massive amounts of granular data from any source and uncover the hidden value within it. The profound importance of bigger and more granular data models was supported by FSN’s 2017 research, The Future of Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting. CFOs who reported that they had built more granular models in the last three years were two and a half times more likely to be able to react more quickly to market change and 40% of them were able to forecast revenue more accurately ( i.e., within plus or minus 5%).

Smart CFOs know that taking decisive action now is also key to future success. Machine learning needs large amounts of trustworthy data from which to learn. As these technologies mature, it is organisations with a sound data platform that will lead the pack!

innovation in data platforms

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