How should the CFO build a data-driven company

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Many companies are already operating in a data-driven manner. While plenty of them are useful in their efforts, we would contend that there is still a lot that can be done.

We say this because according to the 2019 Big Data and AI Executive Survey:

● 92% of executives state that they plan to increase the pace of investment they have in big data

● Only 28% admit that they have a data culture at all

So, when looking at these numbers, what we see is that many CFOs recognize the importance of having adequate data and analytics practice. They know that this will get them to remain competitive, but they still haven’t reached a point where they’ve integrated the use of big data into their business operations and essential decision-making processes.

The fast and continuously changing business landscape that exists today essentially requires you to make all of your decisions with thoughtful analytics as support.

In such a landscape, the CFO has a huge opportunity to lead this transformation and guide their company through all critical organizational challenges. They can do this as long as they are equipped to drive the change throughout the company. The CFO is fit for this as long as they:

● Are experts in analytics

● Have the ability to build organizational processes

● Have a significant role in decision making across various departments in the company

Now, to achieve this big data transformation for their company, CFOs need to focus on three things:

1. Hire people who will fix the weaknesses in departments

2. Foster collaboration and be versatile

3. Improve the analytics process

We’ll go through each of the three elements in detail, so you’ll know what you need to do.

Hire people who will fix the weaknesses in departments

The new financial leaders of today need to help their companies remain competitive, and they can do that by having a more prominent role in everything that drives the business forward.

You have to be open to hiring people who can fix the weaknesses that might exist in many of the departments of your organization. You can no longer focus on bringing in only the great CPAs and CFAs. Broaden the notion of what a new financial team looks like by hiring data scientists for your organization and learn how the technology your team uses works.

Fostering collaboration and being versatile

Before you can invest in technologies like AI and machine learning, you need to rethink the processes you use. The methods you were using before that don’t have a basis in collaboration are a thing of the past. Collaboration is now the future of decision-making.

● You can no longer simply focus on controlling expenditures and budgets.

● You must be more involved in all the nuances of decision making.

● You need to embrace the strategic way of thinking.

The CFO of today collaborates with heads of marketing, operations, sales, and more. You need to do this and be versatile at how you approach this cross-functional collaboration.

Improve the analytics process

When everything else is dealt with, you need to identify the challenges where analytics can provide the biggest help.

Once you figure that out, start figuring which tools and technologies are used and start building the whole process. Invest and experiment with new technologies like simulation that’s powered by machine learning to make this more efficient.

All of that will enable you to go beyond spreadsheets and become the new CFO you need to be.


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