Driving digital transformation in finance requires getting the data right

April 12, 2023

Applying data skills and governance for leaders and employees is critical for CFOs to make progress with digital transformation plans. With the rising speculation around AI and other technologies, digital transformation remains a priority for CFOs. To make real progress on their digital plans they must position data governance and skills at the top.

Industry professionals believe that getting the data right is vital for their clients. Bad data will directly impact the ability to use new features with AI. If businesses lack data governance or their systems are clustered with duplicate customers and other information, for example, the insights gained from predictive analytics cannot provide much-added value. Understanding data structure basics is critical in this process as it recognises the overall strategy and how it connects with digital transformation.

Digital transformation is dependent on understanding the data

CFOs take on a vital role in driving their digital transformation goals forward. While CTOs or other executives can provide essential insights, accountability goes back to the CFO because such measures are a significant investment into their organisation.

Having a complete understanding of a data governance strategy is crucial for finance leaders. Industry leaders believe that having a CFO, a decision maker at the senior level capable of making those major decisions, will accelerate the digital transformation journey. 

Gaining a broader understanding of data structure and building those necessary skills can enable leaders to be more prepared when exploring new technologies. For example, exploring the potential of AI is becoming a necessity for businesses, especially in the current economic climate.

Uncertainties for our economy mean applying a ‘wait and see’ approach toward digital transformation is no longer viable. Businesses that fail to adopt new systems may not be capable of taking advantage of emerging technologies to navigate further disruption. AI can be integrated with other platforms to aggregate vital information, explore data and find key insights to drive businesses forward.

CFOs and senior leaders are trying to determine what areas to focus on, finding the reports or key performance indicators that will enable them to make the best decisions, move forward, empower their colleagues and retain skilled employees.

Data skills can support talent retention

Applying a data-focused approach can support finance leaders with talent retention, as upskilling in this area can save businesses money and enable them to progress with their digital transformation plans. Businesses are beginning to focus on empowering their workforce to learn new skills. 

While recent studies show job growth is slowing, cost optimisation remains a high priority for CFOs, with headcount and compensation regarded as two areas where financial leaders may look to reduce expenses. According to a study by Grant Thornton, 42% of financial leaders highlighted these areas as a means to reduce costs, with the number of CFOs who stated they are unsure they can meet their labour needs declining to an all-time low.

Upskilling talent not only means businesses avoid hiring new people, but it also helps with employee retention. More millennials and next-gen people want to learn and grow at an organisation, and if they aren’t offered this, they will quickly leave. Investing in their training will strengthen their employees and create a workforce prepared to continue investing in the business.

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