How analytic tools benefits Finance

As analytics becomes ever more ‘pervasive’ right from customer facing roles through to the back office support functions and all way from production operatives to the ‘C’ level, research group IDC predict that business analytics will be among the top five IT investment initiatives in 2012. Their research shows that 72% of large and midsize organizations plan to invest in business analytics in 2012 with other top investment areas including social media and mobility.

Working together IDC and SAP have developed a site, IDC Driving Business Innovation, that examines how Finance and three other core job functions are evolving and how analytics, mobile, social, and in-memory computing are delivering improvements in each area. It includes research, articles, blog conversations, and news from around the world.

This blog has the tag line of ‘Maintaining the balance between sound stewardship and value creation’, and successful CFO’s have certainly shifted that fulcrum towards value creation in recent years. That has typically involved Finance moving beyond the realm of their structured finance reports and working with the business to develop a deeper understanding of the leading operational indicators that both drive performance – and can be tactically managed to improve performance. In doing this, Finance has had to supplement their somewhat narrowly defined financial systems that are limited to financial budgeting, management reporting and consolidation with a broader array of analytics tools that deliver insight into non-financial data from a variety of sources – some of it outside the business.

It’s going to be difficult to quantify what this transition from ‘steward’ to ‘value creator’ brings to a business and it’s no surprise that the bankable cost savings and efficiency measures figure more in IDC’s research than the less tangible deliverables such as having a better strategy – see below. But if their peers across the business value their input, you can be sure they’ll be no going back.

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