Data-driven business operations are a multi-year plan for two-thirds of finance professionals

Data-driven business operations are a multi-year plan for two-thirds of finance professionals (66%). Only 7% think their own organisation is already data-driven, while 14% think they will achieve this within a year, with 43% expecting to become data-driven within two to three years. However, almost a quarter of organisations (24%) see this as taking more than four years, according to the latest findings from Onguard’s annual FinTech Barometer.

Combining and integrating data

Companies that want to become data-driven face limitations. The FinTech Barometer has identified the biggest challenge as being combining data from a variety of internal and external sources (40%). This combining of data is key, as it can be used to make predictions, in terms of credit scoring, payment behaviour and cash flow, for example, and to guide companies as to how best to respond to them. Although organisations have sufficient data, by not being able to combine it, they are not currently gaining optimum value from it. In addition, 31% lack the right technology to make data optimally available within their organisations. Therefore, integrating systems, such as a CRM system, as well as external data sources and the credit management system, likely proves to be a difficult task in practice.

Developing skills and expertise

A further challenge to organisations becoming data-driven is the lack of expertise in data processes and analysis (36%). The role of the finance professional is evolving in response to the growing demand within the financial world for different skills. According to the finance professionals, organisations most need analytical ability (59%), communication skills (37%) and programming skills (36%) in order to become data-driven. In addition, the knowledge and skills traditionally associated with finance professionals also remain crucial to interpret figures. Therefore, training current staff and recruiting new talent to specialise in the field of data analysis will help organisations gain the wealth of skills and experience needed to become data-driven.

Marieke Saeij, CEO, Onguard said: “Data-driven finance departments are the future. Data-driven organisations make better decisions, get ahead of competitors and have more satisfied customers. Based on insights gained from data, customer interactions can be personalised and there is room for innovation. Furthermore, becoming data-driven will increase efficiency and provide the insight needed to lower the Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) and improve the cash flow.”