The big data era is upon us. Financial enterprises are swimming in zettabytes—a billion terabytes—of data. The sheer volume can be overwhelming… unless you know how to use it.
For financial services firms, big data can offer a path to profitability. Accenture’s paper on big data, Exploring Next Generation Financial Services: The Big Data Revolution, finds 71 percent of financial firms in the process of exploring big data, and 70 percent of them citing big data as critically important. More than half of them have hired a chief data officer.
Big data has the potential to cause some big headaches, but it can also drive big gains for those “data whisperers” who know how to use it.
In many financial organizations, Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are in the right place to leverage big data. With advanced technologies and the right skill sets, CFOs can strengthen their roles within a financial enterprise.
Our research finds four opportunities for CFOs to tap in to big data, to help their enterprises and to increase their own influence:
- Making data-driven decisions: When deciding which business opportunities to pursue, making the choice based on evidence—culled from big data—is much more likely to succeed than using only intuition or judgment. Armed with real-time insights drawn from data, CFOs can drive reliable decision making.
- Discovering new business opportunities: Likewise, big data can help highlight new business opportunities. These might even include monetizing data. This capability positions the CFO to proactively advise the business about future investment opportunities, shifting the role from “business operator” to “C-level advisor.”
- Boosting productivity and efficiency: With big data, the question has shifted from “how can we process this data” to “how can we use this data to guide the business?” This question fits perfectly within the CFO’s domain. With the right skills and technology, CFOs can use data to guide the business toward increased productivity and efficiency.
- Better manage risk and regulatory concerns: Big data can translate into usable content for regulatory reporting, helping to fulfill new reporting demands. It can also help with testing new models or conducting simulations. In both scenarios, CFOs can leverage their access to big data to foster closer collaboration with the CRO, all to protect the business.
Big data, tapped effectively and used well, can help CFOs deliver better decisions and guidance, and increase their influence within the enterprise.
In my next post, we’ll examine three key steps that CFOs should take to corral big data.