Mining Data from the Cloud
Vice President, F&A Practice Lead
January 04, 2012
For global companies, having real-time access to all the financial and customer information—and ensuring that the right information is available—is a critical success factor. Despite ongoing investments in technology, many companies still struggle with ERP systems that cannot track all the required information, or with multiple legacy systems that make finding and accessing it difficult. The result is masses of data that yields little actionable business intelligence.
Creating a single worldwide system for accessing data end-to-end of the AR cycle should be a primary focus of the CFO intent on making the finance organization a value driver. Utilizing cloud technologies can resolve the difficulties in the ERP environment regardless of its structure and allow universal real-time access to a single source of information pulled from all of a company’s systems. With such a consolidated information source, analytics can then be applied to significant metrics such as DSO, Past Due %, Reserve Balances and other key indicators. This provides the CFO with a powerful and cost-effective means of assessing performance, evaluating the effectiveness of spend, understanding customer behavior, and creating more targeted and less costly collections strategies. Analyzing customer payment patterns, for example, may uncover an unproductive focus on a few customers with high balances rather than on the myriad smaller customers who are actually the bulk of the problem.
The rapid evolution of technology has created a golden age of information and a plethora of tools for gathering, storing, accessing, and analyzing it. Forward-looking CFOs would do well to consider the cost and speed advantages in cloud-based systems that provide consolidated access to customer data in real time, and then understand the key metrics that will drive achievement of organizational goals. Predictive modeling and in-depth analysis of fresh and archival financial data provide unprecedented tools for assessing risk, lowering the cost of collections, and optimizing working capital—all crucial elements of an effective Finance organization.
Analytics, Cloud, data mining