Data, the new performance lever for companies

Data is now indispensable for the Chief Financial Officer. He can no longer simply gloss over what is core to steering the company’s financial performance,” says Reda Gomery, lead partner for Data Analytics at Deloitte.

In little more than three years, due to the knock-on effect of the digital transformation that is shaking up organisations, information has become a true lever for creating value.

In the area of business travel, suppliers of software solutions are currently offering platforms that centralise the entire booking process, whether it comes to transport, hotels or related services. Travel agencies also furnish an increasing amount of data with a view to giving an even greater personalisation of services offered and a concentration of information relating to business people on the move, supplemented with offers from partner suppliers. Beyond the resulting ease of use, the advantage primarily lies with the automatic uploading of information to the company’s management tools, automatic integration of billing components and the generation of detailed dashboards enabling a full, detailed overview of processes. Invaluable data, forming an excellent preliminary for much more relevant discussions with suppliers.

New tools at the heart of strategies

However, such innovations extend considerably beyond business travel. Financial and Purchasing directors have multiple monitoring tools and information systems, such as the ERP, for consolidating information. However, “today, to become more relevant, they must seek consistency across all financial information systems,” says Reda Gomery. The traditional players in IT systems such as SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Power BI, or even QlikSense, provide a function for analysing information and providing solutions for visualising data. Certain platforms are designed to accelerate the analysis of Big Data in order to offer companies new levels of visibility in real time, and are fully consistent with this new purchasing management chapter.

With this type of solution, we are seeing huge growth in detailed analysis, with a very detailed understanding of all activities. It is also possible to correlate information from very different formats, which can come from Twitter just as much as Word, for example. Commercial clients using this kind of solution are seeing a substantial drop in their expenses.

Predictive analysis as the horizon

41% of CFO wish to put in place new methods incorporating external information and new practices for improving budget plans. The appetite for change is therefore quite strong. Predictive models lie at the heart of innovative projects. According to a PwC study(1), 20% of financial directors are interested in using predictive models. This figure has been growing constantly for the last 3 years. In the airline sector for example, the start-up Flyr which provides firms with a service for predictive analysis of prices and availability based on Machine Learning technology, forms a veritable symbol of this promising trend. At a time when reducing risk and management costs is a fundamental requirement, this is key to modernising efficiently.

(1)  ” 2016 Study – EY The role of the CFO: decided or decisive? The mutating DNA of the CFO “

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