Financial firms looking to deploy big data to drive better business are, in my opinion, making the right move. Accenture’s paper on the topic, Exploring Next Generation Financial Services: The Big Data Revolution, outlines some of the gains of working with big data—gains for financial firms, and for Chief Financial Officers (CFOs).

As you might guess, there are right ways and wrong ways to work with big data, and to prepare your enterprise to capture the big data benefits.

At Accenture we see three important strategic imperatives that can guide a firm toward positive outcomes, while also limiting the risk involved in transforming into a big data-driven enterprise. These are the steps to take:

  • Establish a new data operating model, one based on making data central to decision making: This means defining roles and responsibilities, including establishing resources such as a data governance coordinator, data quality steward, data owner and data manager.
  • Adopt a leading edge architecture, backed by advanced technologies that can capture value from all that data: The need here is for new solutions and flexible structures that can store and analyze billions of pieces of data, drawing out all those useful insights.
View the image.
View the image.
  • Change the business culture to support an innovative mindset and foster data-based roles and advanced skills across the organization: It’s particularly helpful if senior management can keep an open mind, as they’ll need to be comfortable with making decisions based on facts and data (versus intuition); sharing information across the organization; and adopting business level accountability for data management.

If the right approach is employed, big data can offer a real solution to the challenges facing CFOs today. Poor data quality, outdated technologies and misalignment in data processing fade into the past when a CFO adopts a data-driven approach to the finance function.

We estimate data-driven enterprises can reduce costs by about a third. On top of that, strategic gains such as improved decision making and better insight into new business opportunities bring further value.

CFOs, it’s time to stop sitting on the vast wealth of data generated by your financial enterprise. Take the unique positioning afforded by your role and harness big data to reap significant gains for your business.

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