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The trend towards increased investment in analytics

October 21, 2016

We no longer manage financial applications on servers the size of an office building, or have to look at green computer screens all day while trying to balance our books – but that doesn’t mean we have the best of breed financial management solution available today. The one constant in technology over time is change.

There’s no doubt that technology advancements have impacted the way we work and live today. We are an impatient workforce, needing and wanting information now – and not just any information, we want accurate information and in real time. We want to be able to make mission critical decisions quickly and with confidence, and move onto the next task at hand. This is no different for today’s CFO.

In days gone by, the role of the CFO involved primarily corporate accounting - managing cash flow, reviewing budgets, reducing spend, accounts payable, and year-end reporting etc. This is no longer the case. Today, the CFO has a much deserved seat at the boardroom table where they are increasingly being asked to help shape the overall direction of the company. Today’s CFO helps the CEO make better informed decisions about the overall corporate strategy, including those about the investment criteria of critical technology initiatives.

In a recent Deloitte CFO Signals™ Survey, it was noted that customer and finance/accounting analytics top the list of technology investments. Analytics are the cornerstone of any successful business. While it is clear that companies are making substantial investments in advanced technologies, when asked in which types of analytics has the company invested in, or will invest in substantially, customer analytics and finance/accounting analytics rose to the top.

According to Deloitte, nearly half of CFOs say they have already made substantial investments in customer analytics and nearly 60 percent say they will make further investments over the next three years. About 45 percent of CFOs say they have already made investments in finance and accounting analytics, and 52 percent say they will invest more in the future.

CFOs were also asked about their current use of select digital technologies. Deloitte reports that nearly 80 percent of CFOs say their companies have implemented cloud solutions, with nearly 50 percent saying they use cloud in a few areas, and just over 30 percent saying they use it broadly. Cloud platforms are the only technology implemented by more than half of the companies according to the CFOs surveyed.

Deloitte shares that when asked what the top purposes are for their company's analytics investments, exploring customer data is at the top of the list, cited by nearly 55 percent of CFOs. Just under half cite visualizing, aggregating and reporting on business data, and just under 40 percent say aiding complex decisions is a top purpose.

Furthermore, in a recently published article by Ventana Research, ERP and Financial Performance Management Systems Begin to Converge, it is clear that forward-looking businesses are looking for more from their financial management systems – they want cloud-based ERP, with embedded and in-context analytics, mobile capabilities, and cleaner, consumer-grade user-interfaces. And it seems that leading ERP vendors are listening!

So let’s look at some facts:

  • Purely financial performance metrics are essential but insufficient to manage a business successfully.
  • Having analytics built into your ERP automates and speeds up the transformation of data into useful, digestible information.
  • In-context and embedded analytics puts the power of data at your fingertips – information at point of decision vs. navigating through a separate reporting system.
  • Providing analytical capabilities within an ERP offering also can facilitate the fusion of financial and operational data captured by the ERP system without a data warehouse.
  • ERP vendors that are able to harness technology to provide easy-to-use analytical features and capabilities and include mobile, social and cloud-based functionality, all on a consumer-grade interface, will be a mainstay in the market.

Infor’s next generation financial management solution, Infor CloudSuite Financials provides fully integrated, end-to-end capabilities delivered in the cloud and infused with deep industry-specific functionality. Role-based, data driven, consumer-inspired, and mobile enabled, it’s the financial management solution you would build for yourself. Learn more.
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