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To get positive, sustainable business results, it pays to work on the organization itself. While this notion may seem obvious, it is a very hard lesson to learn when running a business. Sometimes it’s easier to focus on money rather than people, take action on what is known, and divert resources from successful product lines to save a less successful one. But easy decisions and actions are very rarely the right ones.

 

Executives who can quickly identify – and understand – challenges and opportunities will be the ones who are ultimately successful. When you consider the real-time, high-stakes, digital nature of our world, insight like this is needed on a daily basis. Executives – especially CFOs – need to interact with data and analyze issues in the moment and not leave it hiding in mountains of PowerPoint presentations and 25-page reports. By digging deep into the data and visualizing details, they can predict immediately what will happen next.

 

Spreading digital transformation from the sales floor to the C-suite

 

Through digital technology, many executives think they are fundamentally changing how business is done – and in some aspects, they are. The cloud has shifted how information is consumed. Mobile technology has changed customer behavior. Big Data has revolutionized how decisions are made.

 

Although there is a real appetite for digital transformation, most businesses have a very narrow view of how it can be applied. Accenture recently revealed that digital transformers expect to excel in areas such as sales (58%), new sales channels (55%), new products and services (58%), and customer experiences (70%). While all of these areas can significantly boost revenues and market share, there’s nothing more powerful than what can happen to a digitally transformed boardroom.

 

Most boardrooms worldwide are mired with complex relationships, slow-to-adapt mindsets, and pools of data yielding very little insight. In any business, this is a lost opportunity – especially for the CFO.

 

The big idea: Real-time, predictive, actionable information

 

In some cases, the CFO charged with ensuring financial compliance and accurate reporting may also have the answers the rest of the C-suite needs to make the best decisions. To tap into this, something needs to change: the CFO and the rest of executive team need access to the right information at the right time – or better yet, in real time.

During a recent executive meeting at SAP, Steve Barrett, former CFO of consumer products giants Procter & Gamble and Whirlpool, discussed the power of analytics when making financial decisions. “When Tide’s brand marketing team came to me with their desire to renew their sponsorship of NASCAR’s Ricky Rudd in the ‘90s, one thing crossed my mind – $8 million,” he recalled. “I thought to myself what value could this bring?”

 

After analyzing point-of-sale data against Rudd’s racing performance, Barrett found that Tide’s sales spiked and more product moved from the warehouse to store shelves at a staggering rate every time Rudd raced, whether or not he won. “Without this insight, I could have made a decision that would have created a lost billion-dollar opportunity,” he said in retrospect, “But if I was able to see this trend happening in real time, we may have been able to make better use of this investment.”

 

In the race to win in the marketplace, there will always be problems. There will always be opportunities. And executives will always expect better results. By bringing real-time data, detailed visualizations, and predictive analytics to the fingertips of every executive, the CFO can ensure that financial decisions made by every line of business are strategic and yield expected results. 

This is the boardroom of the future – and the future is now. Is your boardroom ready for a digital transformation? Connect with me to learn more.

 

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