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Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

Survey Says: How Better Analytics Help You Be More Agile

Guest Author

By Edward Roske, CEO and Oracle ACE Director, InterRel

Now in its fourth year, InterRel's State of Business Analytics survey helps bring numerical order to the un-ending chaos of planning, consolidation, and reporting.

What if your organization had the ability to thrive, not just survive, in the next decade? It can’t do so by just resting on its laurels, relying on existing market share and barriers to entry to keep competitors at bay. We simply can’t survive—let alone thrive—in a status quo culture of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Organizations must constantly evolve and re-evolve. Think about all the companies that monopolized their power and weren’t flexible enough to change with the times, while forward thinking organizations like Netflix completely changed… and continue to change… the landscape of their industry.

Disrupt or be disrupted

Netflix quickly and completely disrupted the entertainment industry:

  • When VHS first came out, we had mom & pop video stores
  • Hollywood video killed the mom & pop video stores
  • Blockbuster killed Hollywood video
  • Netflix DVDs killed Blockbuster
  • Netflix streaming killed Netflix DVD
  • Netflix original content is disrupting Disney
  • Disney circles in the distance with its own soon-to-be-launched streaming service

Stay agile to thrive

As the world’s migration to the cloud continues unabated, we are beginning to see how it affects every day operations. One theme dominates the discussion of modern EPM and business intelligence practices, and that is “agility.” Organizations are going out of business at a startling pace due to their lack of nimbleness and insight. FP&A professionals are constantly asking how they can best use their data and analytics to drive competitive differentiation and profitable revenue—how not to end like Blockbuster, but to thrive like Netflix.

InterRel’s inaugural State of Business Analytics (SoBA) survey in 2017 uncovered some rapidly emerging business analytics trends as the migration from on-premise to the cloud took off:

  • Continuous Close – period-end will be replaced by “always closing”
  • Data Melding – data will not be reported in silos
  • Analysis Inversion – reports will be analyzed by the provider, not the receiver
  • Exception Governance – governance will be so automatic, we only consider it when it doesn’t work
  • Multiple Plans – budget time will be slashed to allow for multiple scenarios
  • The cloud disappears – it just becomes the next version, continually updating itself

From our 2018 SoBA survey, 5 new operational changes were recommended, based on insights from key FP&A executives:

  • Implement data governance solutions
  • Create a road map for a modern BI/EPM strategy
  • Implement a self-service / data visualization tool
  • Make all analytics “device anywhere”
  • Be really nice to your future computer overlords

The 3rd annual State of Business Analytics survey, released earlier this year, was compiled from insights from more than 250 global organizations. The 2019 edition uncovers trends that support the need for business agility:

  • Companies need to close and consolidate at a faster rate
  • Timely reporting and interactive data analysis across functions is more important than ever
  • Multiple plans, allowing for different scenarios, will drive decision making
  • The flexibility to pivot as external factors change is critical for organizational success
  • The adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning will create competitive differentiation

The pace of change and innovation in EPM and business intelligence continues to increase, and the challenge for companies to dominate—let alone keep up—is becoming ever-greater. The impacts of these changes will drive ever-increasing needs for agility and flexibility.

Download our 2019 State of Business Analytics white paper to learn more about what 600+ FP&A professionals are doing to thrive in today’s landscape.

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