In brief

In brief

  • Accenture research found a correlation between high performance and a “data-driven enterprise”—companies that treat data as a differentiated asset.
  • CFOs should be the custodian of digital information as the business becomes ever more dependent on deriving monetizable insights from data.
  • Finance executives can guide their organizations to consume cloud-enabled data as the primary method for generating profits in the digital era.
  • Using cloud, AI and analytics to capture and improve the use of data insights is an important source of a CFO’s innovation and business value.

The CFO and the data-driven enterprise

Across industries, the demands for rich, accurate, and timely data are growing dramatically as organizations increase their use of data to innovate, compete, and improve profitability. Recent Accenture research found a direct correlation between high performance and becoming what we call a “data-driven enterprise”—cloud-enabled companies that can maximize the value of data and treat it as an asset differentiated by its completeness, lineage, and quality. The CFO has an important role in monetizing data, and supporting advanced innovation and business agility with cloud, AI and analytics.

Who should manage the data-driven agenda?

Accenture research has found that CEOs and boards of high-performing businesses are increasingly relying on CFOs to steer the data-driven journey, working with IT leaders. CFOs are well placed to measure the financial impact of data-driven decisions and report the true monetized value of data to shareholders. CFOs are also in a position to help identify and validate the monetizable revenue streams of a business and apply data-driven techniques to those processes.

Advancing the business value of digital information

Finance executives understand the discipline of assigning economic value to data. With the advent of digital and cloud, data has now become one of the most critical sources of new business value. Cloud-enabled data requires a new foundational framework for business to manage, measure, and monetize information as an actual asset. Setting up the appropriate IT systems to enable the extraction of value (for cash or trade) is just step one, and a CFO can help in assessing various commercial models, thinking through the financial risks, how to recognize and account for new value created, and apply the necessary controls and governance.

Digitizing finance

CFOs continue to automate routine accounting, control, and compliance tasks. They are increasing their focus on value creation as cloud-based, digital technology empowers them to shape strategy through data. According to our CFO research, more finance functions are already using a variety of emerging tools for better interpretation of the base data—from predictive analytics to artificial intelligence.

Monetizing data

CFOs can strategize and implement methods for monetizing digital innovation and driving a new source of revenue. Methods can include directly monetizing data—for example, the opportunity to sell data to drive a new revenue stream—and also indirectly monetizing data’s economic value. Executives can:

  1. Increase revenue from personalized campaigns. This is achieved through advanced analytics and machine learning.
  2. Monitor browsing behavior from external websites, allowing the creation of microsegments to improve personalization.
  3. Better utilize marketing spend using analytics-based insights for specific customer segments.

How the CFO can help shape the data-driven agenda

  1. Indirectly monetize your data. Finance teams should look to identify simple operational processes from existing revenue streams.
  2. Enable data as a strategic asset. An important step in monetizing an organization’s data is modeling the true value of data to the enterprise so that data can be treated appropriately as a strategic asset.
  3. Expand on the notion of indirectly monetizing data. Once the proper accounting principles are in place, finance executives can then prioritize the backlog of data opportunities in their business. Cloud-based, predictive analytics can uncover untapped revenue and new business opportunities.
Finance executives are optimally positioned to facilitate the means for their organization to consume cloud-enabled data as the primary methods for generating profits in the digital era.

Campbell Abbey

Global Lead – AWS Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Solutions

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