Big Data and the CFO – Reaping the Financial Rewards


Last year we developed a report with the Cranfield School of Management in which we encouraged CEOs to take the lead on implementing a big data strategy in their organisation, as a tool for driving growth.

Although this still rings true, it’s also key to highlight that the CEO cannot drive this change in understanding and implementing new technological trends to gain insights into their business alone– instead, it is a focus that must be undertaken and bought into across the C-Suite.

In the preface to the paper, the authors, James Petter UK & Ireland VP and MD of big data leader EMC and Professor Joe Peppard, Cranfield School of Management, write: “A sea-change is occurring in the way forward-thinking corporations harness the potential of data to drive their decision-making. The amount of information corporations have to handle is growing exponentially as new forms of data, such as video and social media, join existing corporate data. Now the opportunity has emerged to use that data to think creatively and drive growth by creating new businesses and revenue streams.”

Commenting on the report, Steve O’Neill, CFO EMEA North, EMC Europe considers the opportunity for CFOs: “Early-bird CFOs who catch this worm and successfully unlock the full value of their corporate information will help to put their organisations in a prime position for reaping significant rewards. The competitive advantage that their organisations stand to gain is undeniable; in the same way that companies 30 years ago persuaded their CFOs to commit investment to the recruitment of computer scientists, today the CFO should be looking to bring in a new breed of ‘data scientist’ to support them in a more sophisticated analysis of their business data. This, in turn, will drive better business strategy and decision-making, and will ultimately create new revenue streams.”

The paper outlines five key questions that all business leaders across the C-Suite must consider:

  1. Who is responsible for exploring and exploiting data/information in your organisation?
  2. Do you know what customers are saying about your company and its products and services?
  3. Is there information that could inform the design of the next generation of products and services that your organisation currently doesn’t have?
  4. Does your organisation have an information strategy?
  5. To what extent is decision-making in your organisation data driven? Would more data-driven decisions lead to better decisions?

The full report is available here.


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