For CFOs, Big Data Gets Bigger

Image via Flickr by Marius B

Previously, we reported that CFOs are ignoring Big Data at their own peril and the peril of their company, but in less than six months, the tide is beginning to turn. According to an IBM study in November 2013, only eight percent of CFOs intended to use Big Data to drive company policy and strategy. Now, however, IBM reports that 82 percent of CFOs across the nation are acknowledging the benefits of integrating enterprise-wide data. The report notes that this is a 205 percent increase since the question was first posed in 2005.While CFOs are eyeing Big Data, only 24 percent say that their teams and current operations have the skills and capabilities to fully harness Big Data. According to Hewlett Packard’s Thomas Dobis, financial directors should continue to use Big Data as a tool to improve the company’s bottom line. Many are referring to Big Data as a smarter investment for even smarter performance.

Gartner predicts that enterprises will increase the data they store by a groundbreaking 650 percent within the next five years alone. The most effective ways that CFOs can utilize Big Data include:

  • Mitigating risk
  • Improving margins, market share, and revenues
  • Cutting costs
  • Improving operational efficiencies
  • And much more

CFOs Turned Value Integrators

IBM research reveals that CFOs utilizing Big Data are known as “Value Integrators,” or business leaders that are effective in boosting financial efficiency and analytical insight to accelerate performance. The study even notes that CFOs using Big Data are 70 percent more successful than their peers.

However, simply using data isn’t enough. While the average financial director relies on spreadsheets for major processes, the majority of Value Integrators and Performance Accelerators utilize external and internal data alike, producing even more valuable insights. Big Data is so important to these financial directors that over half of them have created and implemented service delivery frameworks to guide the operation of vital financial processes.

Successful CFOs analyze Big Data differently from other C-suite executives. For instance, a CMO utilizes Big Data to understand and analyze customer behavior, which provides insight into perceptions of the company. CFOs, on the other hand, study Big Data to discern the market’s environment.