Organisations across the world are increasingly harnessing big data, giving the finance and accounting professionals an opportunity to build their proficiencies around data governance and analysis, showed an IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) report titled The Impact of Big Data on Finance - Now and in the Future.
“Big data is being implemented by companies at a much higher rate than other technological initiatives, and the number of companies that use it will double in the near future,” Raef Lawson, professor-in-residence and vice president of research and policy at IMA, said.
The report, released by the New Jersey, US-based management institute, however, said that big data’s implementation remains a work in progress for most enterprises, although smaller companies are ahead in deployment.
Following are some highlights from the study:
Prioritising big data
The study found that companies that have implemented big data are already reaping the benefits -- they report a significant improvement, especially in the areas of performance measurement and strategy formulation.
To exploit big data will become standard business practice
The number of enterprises exploiting big data are expected to double in the near future, according to the report. “As is the case with other technologies, the mining of big data is a work in progress for most organisations. Very few have completed implementation, but most have started and are on the road to gleaning additional important business insights from their data,” it said.
The report found that big data helps in implementation of various technologies and makes self-service reporting and mobile delivery easier. It said: “Big data also helps in easier implementation of technology such as voice recognition, automation and predictive modelling.”
Big data to be key for performance measurement
Big data will soon be used for performance measurement, said the report. Many organisations face significant challenges in evaluating the performance of employees, processes and machinery. Deploying big data capabilities to collect and evaluate the mountain of data needed to make these evaluations will make the process much easier.
The study “highlights that the main functions of deployment of big data are performance management, strategy formulation, research and development, order fulfilment and product/service rationalisation”.
The journey of big data starts small
With the idea of starting small and simple, an enterprise, while implementing big data projects, often start its journey with existing in-house data sources. As it goes on to execute or develop its strategy further, it uses both existing and new data sources.
With big data comes big responsibility
Before implementing big data, it’s important to note that it is not enough to just buy leading-edge technology for big data and analytics -- it is necessary to have perfect strategies for the effective use of leading-edge analytic techniques and technologies.
The report highlights the importance of ensuring that everyone is trained on the technology. It is imperative to understand whether they are using it appropriately, whether they understand it and report results based on it, and whether executives and employees are committed to act on insights uncovered based on the data.
The report added: “Without having these strategies in place, purchasing the technology is a waste of money. Regardless of the data source, ensuring its integrity and quality is key.” The report said it is essential to build a strong data governance and quality infrastructure. Yet, for many companies, ensuring data integrity and quality is still a work in progress.
IMA is one of the largest associations focused exclusively on advancing the management accounting profession. It has a global network of more than 1,25,000 members in 150 countries and 300 professional and student chapters, and provides localised services in four global regions: The Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and Middle East/India.