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Finance Pros, It’s Time to Embrace Big Data. Here’s Why.

  • By Nilly Essaides
  • Published: 4/12/2016
fpaguideIs finance ready for big data? While the majority of financial planning and analysis (FP&A) departments have yet to adopt big-data projects, many are considering what strategy to put in place to prepare for the digitalization of the economy. The use of big data in finance is not a question of whether—but of when.

AFP’s latest FP&A Guide, How FP&A Can Embrace Big Data to Drive Smarter Decisions, outlines how FP&A teams in companies like Providence Health & Services and Payless ShoesSource are adopting big data strategies to help support smarter business decisions. FP&A executives are beginning to realize that by utilizing external, internal, structured and unstructured data, they can greatly improve the quality of forecasting and planning. Better, faster information suits FP&A’s growing role as a true strategic partner. The objective is to give management the information it needs when it needs it, so it can make smarter decisions to boost enterprise performance.

Certainly, there are many challenges ahead. A lot of FP&A teams are still struggling to get their heads around larger sets of small data and continue to rely on spreadsheets. But getting started need not be as difficult as some executives imagine. There are concrete steps finance can take to get ready for big data projects.

Indeed, finance is poised to assume a leadership role as the analytics “hub” for the organization. While business units or other functions may source and own data, experts foresee the emergence of a centralized function that combines financial and data-science expertise that will act as an intelligence source for management. Finance is best positioned to assume that role, given its bird’s-eye view across functions and business units and its direct reporting link into the C-suite.

Download How FP&A Can Embrace Big Data to Drive Smarter Decisions  here. The guide is available for a limited time to registered users of the AFP site.

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