The increasingly competitive business landscape required organizations to turn to new and more sophisticated technologies to streamline tasks such as planning, budgeting, forecasting, and reporting. Today, in the pandemic situation, its social and economic consequences, it has raised the pressure, turning technology upgrades from useful to essential. Even the very survival of companies may depend on it.
The profound and precipitous changes in the environment, triggered by the disruptions, have increased the need for planning and analysis teams – as well as traditional financial planning and analysis teams – to be faster, flexible and agile to respond in a timely manner to the changing conditions of the environment. And it is at this point that the implementation of advanced and sophisticated technologies makes it possible to anticipate changes in business drivers, modify strategic objectives and provide better information to Senior Management.
Offer analysis and actionable insights
Emerging technology and Data Analytics solutions enable teams to analyze huge data sets more efficiently and quickly than ever before. As a result, analysts can improve and accelerate the speed of execution of their organization’s day-to-day operations, create more accurate forecasts despite the uncertainties surrounding today’s market, and provide a more effective means of conveying that information to the rest of the organization.
Today’s technology landscape increasingly features predictive analytics capabilities, supported by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. At the same time, it incorporates innovative visualization tools that create interactive, easy-to-use, and easy-to-understand charts to help finance teams and non-finance professionals understand data. The ultimate goal, more than ever, is to make real-time decisions based on continuously updated data.
It is no longer enough for teams to simply collect data. Senior Management requires them to provide information that can be used to make decisions based on changes in the environment. These advanced capabilities enable you to influence the entire enterprise by leveraging data differently, integrating internal and historical data with external signals, and presenting innovative insights that can be turned into potential opportunities.
How to make your business more efficient with technology
There is a broad set of technologies and platforms that your teams can use to improve dynamic planning and analytics across their organization. Next, we compile the pillars, objectives, and utilities that allow the tools that are driving the improvement of business planning in these complex times:
Data storage and ingestion
These platforms form the foundation of any enterprise data strategy. In fact, the use of multiple data storage and ingestion technologies has displaced traditional data warehouses.
The main change is that these technologies and their expanded capabilities allow you to retrieve, extract, transform, and work with structured and unstructured data. The team of analysts is then able to consolidate this data and present it in an innovative, coherent, and understandable way. This is a critical consideration, the ability to access the most up-to-date data has never been more important.
The cloud is another critical digital enabler for an organization. A cloud platform can grow and evolve with the business and provide access to next-generation capabilities. In addition, cloud technology makes it easier for users to access data, an increasingly important capability as more people work remotely as a consequence.
According to PWR Technologies, the cloud enables a business to have uniform and consistent data through the integration of business processes and applications and the integration and availability of data, while reducing IT spending.
This type of technology analyzes large volumes of data, both internal and external, which were previously unmanageable, to identify trends and business drivers that are related to the objectives of the organization. It provides innovative insight through advanced statistical modeling techniques, enables a much higher level of transparency around business drivers, and delivers results quickly and cost-effectively.
Predictive analytics are based on high-quality data and use AI and machine learning to produce accurate forecasts. This is a critical technology in light of rapidly changing markets.
Traditionally, companies had seasonal cycles, but that is not the case today. Predictive analytics can help your organization stay on track for what is likely to be a roller coaster ride in the next year or even the next three to five years.
RPA (Process Automation)
Process automation (RPA) is the most basic form of digital work. The robots – which will eventually be software programs – perform scheduled and repetitive tasks, such as packaging reports and sending them to users.
Advanced teams can augment RPA’s machine learning capabilities by adding new data and combining it with a forecasting platform based on predictive analytics. This can eliminate bias in the data collection and entry process, and also facilitates lightning-fast capabilities to access and process information.
In recent years there have been incredible advances in this area. Data visualization technology enables Management Control teams to move away from static spreadsheets and towards applications that present the same data in a dynamic and user-friendly way.
This can help to more easily spot patterns, trend analysis, outliers, etc. Additionally, visuals greatly enhance the ability to justify analyses, ideas, and recommendations to senior management and other business units.
Finally, this technology allows people to access information in a more visual way, with reports that are easy to understand and use, from their laptops, desktops, mobile applications, or other devices, and, in addition, it is compatible with the self-service capabilities.
Next Steps: Launch a Pilot-Based Technology Plan
Although there is no single solution, the prize for getting it right can be significant. To do this, the first step is to develop a technological roadmap aligned with the strategy, vision, and objectives of the organization.
Attention should not be focused solely on improving data collection, but also on improving analysis, calculating forecasts of what is to come, and most importantly: what to do about it.
Finally, we must bear in mind that a technological transformation cannot be done in one go; it must be done little by little. In fact, what is desirable is to update the technology through pilot programs that give credibility and momentum to address a more powerful transformation process.
In this regard, we recommend starting your technology upgrade by focusing your effort on a goal that seems achievable and can be achieved in a matter of weeks or a few months, not years. For example, through an investment in a data visualization or predictive analytics pilot program in a discrete business unit.