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How CFOs Can Unlock the Hidden Value in Their Data

Michael Singer
Director, Product Marketing, Oracle Analytics

Chief financial officers are emerging as the changemakers of modern business strategy in several industries, but they need the right tools to drive value, improve efficiency, and enable strategy beyond the borders of the finance function, according to a technology research survey by Accenture.

The consulting and professional services firm surveyed more than 700 global CFOs and senior finance executives, including 97 in insurance and 146 in banking. It also conducted qualitative interviews with dozens of CFOs, senior finance executives, CEOs, and chief data officers. CFOs are key to these digital transformations, the report says because they are "striving to become more proactive and forward-looking in their reporting, using new technologies along with data from inside and outside their organization to prepare for future changes more easily and accurately."

The Accenture survey found banking finance executives more likely than those in other industries to provide proactive analysis of future business scenarios. Insurance CFOs are significantly more likely than those in other sectors to say that finance should take a leading role in identifying and managing control of the most critical data.

The takeaway: CFOs should adopt disruptive new technologies such as predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to better interpret data from endless sources.

"CFOs we surveyed said they wanted to look at their legacy business data with their ever-evolving cloud data," says Brad Genson, managing director, analytics at Accenture. "If data was always presented in the right context and they didn't have to worry about spreadsheets, they could use machine learning to achieve new insights and wouldn't have to worry about who has the right data or the right definition."

Genson was one of two presenters during a webcast entitled, Unlock the Hidden Value in Your ERP or HCM Application Data with Accenture and Oracle. The webcast included a demonstration of Accenture's Digital Boardroom for C-Suite executives and managers, which the company says is a perfect fit for finance, procurement, and human resources.

While data drives decisions, executives are often reluctant to invest in new technology and maybe using low-quality data sources. According to Accenture's surveys:

  • 82 percent of executives reported that their organizations are using data to drive decisions
  • 79 percent are basing their most critical systems and strategies on data, yet many have not invested in the capabilities to verify the truth within the data
  • 97 percent of business decisions are made using the data that the company's own managers consider unacceptable in quality

Lack of recruiting and retraining talent to execute on the analytics enabled by additional data and advanced tools was also cited as an obstacle to adoption. Thankfully, Genson says CFOs can gain insights across their lines of business faster with pre-built integration to applications on Oracle Cloud and existing on-premises for enterprise resource planning (ERP) and human capital management (HCM) tools.

"We did a comprehensive dashboard in pilot mode for a finance company in four weeks," Genson says. "There was a little bit of prep work to make sure the environments were provisioned and the right networking was in place, but once we figured that out, we were able to do a functional view in just a few weeks. Because Oracle Analytics Cloud is very configurable, you can configure the thresholds and the visualizations you want quickly."

To see the technology in action and hear further insights, register for the Unlock the Hidden Value in Your ERP or HCM Application Data webcast. To see if Oracle Analytics Cloud is right for your business, take this 2-minute assessment.

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