CIOs Need To Sell Big Data to Reluctant CFOs

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It may be true that some CIOs need to understand business better, but the C-suite in general should better understand technology's potential. This is especially true of many CFOs. While the CIO needs to understand the business to add value, equally true is that many CFOs and the board of directors do not comprehend how to incorporate technology in their strategy, and some don't even see the need to do so. The best CFOs and CEOs have had a great understanding of how to use technology to gain competitive advantage and improve operations. 

They also work with the CIO to help them to understand the business. This collaboration helps identify the technologies that could improve the company's competitive advantage versus technologies that are needed to support the business. After all,  the CFO and CIO should be focused on implementing technologies that improve the company's competitive advantage.

But what is the reality in terms of Big Data investments?

Many CFOs are holding off on big-data investments for now, believing their existing tools work just fine. Some experts believe they may be missing out. Many CFOs say big-data technologies will make their jobs more complicated and might not be worth the extra cost. 

They say their existing tools, mainly sophisticated financial dashboards that can crunch an organization’s numbers in real time, are adequate for their financial-planning needs.  Leveraging Big Data technology which can use high-performance computing to organize and analyze very large volumes of information should be seen as a critical success factor for today's global organization.

The CFOs who have not embraced big data are missing out on opportunities to speed up and improve some of their more difficult and time-consuming tasks. With the power of massive data sets and advanced analytics CFOs could better anticipate customer and supplier demand, predict sales and profits under many of different scenarios, detect fraud and drastically cut the time it takes to close the books at the end of each quarter. Can you imagine how Big Data can help improve overall risk management and security across the organization?

Many CFOs and CIOs have dedicated substantial time, money and resources to compiling their own internal data over the years, and now each has a heterogeneous set of technologies and systems that combine to produce the data dashboards that many CFOs are comfortable with to use in their decision making process. CFOs consider many of these home grown systems essential to the risk management process. But are these dinosaur systems sufficient today? The CIO needs to make the case for the CFO to invest in state of the art Big Data systems that are tightly coupled and intregrated within many of the front and back office systems used in their organizations. Otherwise these companies risk getting passed by the competition. Good CIOs know this, wise CFOs will listen to them.

 

 

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Bill has been a member of the technology and publishing industries for more than 25 years and brings extensive expertise to the roles of CEO, CIO, and Executive Editor. Most recently, Bill was COO and Co-Founder of CIOZone.com and the parent company PSN Inc. Previously, Bill held the position of CTO of both Wiseads New Media and About.com.

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