How CFOs can use big data

The demand for Big Data and Analytics (BDA) strategies, tools and skills continues to skyrocket. By the end of 2017, two-thirds of the CEOs of the G2000 will have digital transformation at the center of their corporate strategy and by 2018, investing in visual discovery tools will become a requirement for all enterprises, according to IDC. At the same time, there will be a shortage of skilled BDA staff will persist -- in the U.S. alone there will be 181,000 deep analytics roles, and five times that many positions requiring related skills in data management and interpretation.


CFOs have a powerful opportunity to shape how organizations prioritize and interpret BDA if they consider the following.


Know thy data

Get to know exactly what types of data your organization is collecting and why, and who owns that data. These knowledge points are increasingly important as you collect more and more data. Knowing where your data comes from is critical to assuring you are receiving “good” raw data, free from preselected bias or agenda.

Understanding your data is critical to preventing the legal and ethical complications associated with data governance regulations and compliance.


On a lighter but equally important note, consider how the data is improving current finance operations and how it will transform finance operations in the future. As CFO, you can look at how specific data could advance your efforts for cost-savings.


Collaborate with a data scientist

Big data has its name for a reason. The amount of information generated by users, employees and supply chains is massive. Identifying appropriate tools for sorting through and analyzing raw data, and collaborating with data scientists are strongly recommended.


Data scientists are trained to analyze large loads of data and identify patterns and trends. A fresh set of data-trained eyes may help to unearth new and valuable information. When it comes to travel expenses, CFOs and data analysts can work together to explore what types of arrangements yield the best results for everyone involved. Big data is instrumental in Concur’s mission to build the Perfect Trip.


Protect the data you have

With great power comes great responsibility. Transparency laws and data security breaches have made it more important than ever to treat data with extreme care. New technologies and growing sources of data up the security ante. Organizations that want to win  and maintain public trust must keep data safe.


Confirm your data storage solutions are secure and up-to-date. Check controls often to ensure that unauthorized people don’t have access to sensitive information. Make your data security approach known to clients and customers.


The road ahead

Big data is an exciting resource for many organizations. Patterns found in data can help mitigate risk, open the door to better customer service, and widen profit margins. Taking the lead in understanding and managing data will lead to new and improved ways of enhancing finance operations for a more healthy and robust company.

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