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Data Rich and Information Poor

on December 02, 2014

I recently read a great article from CFO.com about how Chief Financial Officers can generate more value in their offices. The article gives great tactical advice in tips #1 and #2 for bucking trends and smashing stereotypes of what most consider the typical CFO: someone with both an accounting background, and an un-engaging (read: boring) personality.

Tips #3 and #4, restructuring metrics and managing risks, respectively, are how Oversight can help the typical CFO produce atypical results for the company. Many CFO’s simply aren’t leveraging the full suite of technology based solutions available. These solutions help to both analyze data and focus the company’s actions based on what that analysis tells them. Being “data rich and information poor” is a real challenge for the C-suite, especially today in the age of analytics.

Why do so many overlook all of the opportunities to leverage analysis? Chances are, they’ve thought about most of the opportunities, but there will be more requests than capacity, even when you focus simply on analysis providers that can give hard info to drive decisions.  (We covered this before in our blog post on how to win the IT tug of war within your organization.) If there aren’t any requests for analysis, people might be so frustrated that they’ve quit asking, or there may exist an underserved contingent in your organization that can benefit from analysis: they just haven’t realized it yet.

Our tips for how CFO’s can add value? The obvious answer is focusing your own analytic resources on strategic issues. The less obvious answer – outsource analysis for the less strategic areas. Need to shore up your compliance program and find a better way to detect fraud? Need to benchmark employee travel spend across departments? Consider “analysis as a service” providers.

The best advice we can give for CFO’s evaluating analysis providers it to seek out cloud based alternatives. Because cloud providers develop analytics used by many- or “off the shelf” analytics as we call it- they can deliver analysis and insights specific to the underserved “less strategic” areas at cost effective prices. These providers make analysis both easy to use and cheaper than other technology solutions, and these SaaS tools are becoming the easiest way for the underserved to become more “self-service” in terms of how to find insights into data. Data isn’t just for data scientists or analysts anymore. It’s becoming cheaper and easier to use with every passing year.

Evaluate analytic outsourcing alternatives for other areas both directly and indirectly related to finance. Finding ways to cut costs, better leverage financial data, and increase compliance seems like a triple play to continue adding value as the chief financial officer of your organization. See how cloud based analysis of your transaction data can impact your business.

Patrick Taylor

Patrick Taylor is an authority in the convergence of business analytics, information security, and the implementation of technology to boost organizational performance. An innovator in his field, Patrick founded Oversight Systems in 2003 and served as President and CEO for 15 years. In this role, he helped hundreds of Fortune 1000 companies improve financial, accounting, and auditing processes. Previously, Patrick held leadership positions with Oracle, Symantec, and Internet Security Systems (ISS). Patrick has a bachelor’s degree Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

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