Data analytics - Report by Talentia

Data analytics a vital enabler of strategic insight for finance practitioners, suggests new report
Finance professionals are increasingly recognising the need to utilise data analytics and harness the power of big data to provide business intelligence at a strategic level, according to a new Talentia Software report. Against an evolving corporate backdrop, the whitepaper identifies that while analytics technology is becoming critical to firms, more targeted training and CPD is needed in order to future-proof the skillsets of finance practitioners.

Talentia’s latest report states that the rise of data analytics is part of a gradual shift that has seen the finance function move away from its traditional reporting role. It suggests that new generation technology tools are now business critical and that the overarching driver for this change is the competitive corporate landscape in which businesses of all sizes increasingly operate, with finance becoming more of a strategic business partner as part of this shift.
“The potential for finance to help drive growth by utilising tools to gather and analyse complex data and turn it into sound business intelligence to inform strategic decisions is vast,” states Julie Windsor, Managing Director of Talentia Software UK. “No longer is it viable to just reflect back on historical performance. Forward-thinking firms must now analyse customer trends and internal successes and failures, link activity back to profitability and accountability, and review this information at Board level – where the dialogue has now changed – in order to inform decisions.”
Talentia Software’s latest whitepaper, The future of finance: harnessing data analytics for competitive advantage, points towards a recent report from the Economist Intelligence Unit to illustrate what can be achieved when companies leverage the latest data analytics, cloud and mobile tools to their fullest extent. It also addresses a report from innovation charity Nesta that recommends that UK businesses in general – not just finance departments – should take urgent action to up-skill workforces through targeted training and CPD in order to meet the expectations of what has been dubbed the “data economy.”
Drawing on Nesta’s insight, the report highlights the need for greater cross-departmental collaboration to achieve corporate goals. “Finance and HR need to work together more closely, on both the people metrics and to develop a shared understanding of the skills the organisation needs to invest in to support its future growth,” adds Julie Windsor. “Finance also has much to gain from working closely with colleagues in IT, who can assist with critical technology-related decisions. This is particularly crucial in terms of securing data in an environment where employees are now accessing sensitive corporate information via tablets or smartphones and where a bring your own device culture is becoming increasingly prevalent.”
Talentia’s report highlights a setback to the adoption of data analytics systems as the proliferation of terminology that currently exists in regards to the technology itself. Linked to this is a historical reliance on Excel spreadsheets for the manipulation and storage of financial information. Talentia’s report suggest that large firms, in particular, are now growing increasingly uncomfortable with the storage capacity required to house large spreadsheets, but also the risk attached to business-critical information being controlled at a local level.
A Corporate Performance Management  system provides organisations with a benchmark solution for consolidation, reporting, budgeting and dashboard analysis. Talentia CPM enables firms to benefit from pertinent and reliable performance indicators to guide strategic decisions and obtain a single view of business information and the ability to automate and reduce reporting lead times.
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