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10 takeaways from IBM’s CFO study

March 07, 2014 Written by NetSphere Category: Analytics

b2ap3_thumbnail_trans_20140310-135437_1.pngAs it turns out, Jaron Lanier, a leading computer scientist, author and scholar, has the ability to see into the future. Well, not really. But as the man who coined the term virtual reality, he’s pretty good at making educated guesses.

In his new book, “Who Owns the Future?,” Lanier predicts a future that is led by those who own the biggest and most effective computers that are able to gather and analyze data better than anyone else, thereby calculating small advantages, which over time, will amass great amounts of wealth. Taking Watson, perhaps the world’s most famous supercomputer, into consideration, IBM is well-positioned to excel in Lanier’s idea of the future.

IBM, of course, isn’t alone in this pursuit. Companies are diligently ramping up their ability to gather and analyze data. However, the pool of those relying on their data isn’t as deep as one might think. In a recent study conducted by IBM, titled “Pushing the Frontiers,” 576 CFOs from around the world were surveyed to get their take on Big Data. Surprisingly, the results of the study may have revealed an intimidation factor that’s keeping some companies from forging their own destiny.

Here are 10 takeaways from the IBM study:

  • 82 percent of surveyed CFOs see the value of integrating enterprise-wide data.
  • However, only 24 percent think their team is up to the task.
  • 44 percent of the highest performing CFOs combine internal and external data to produce insights.
  • However, the average CFO relies on spreadsheets and intuition for 66 percent of their work.
  • While macro-economic and market factors still lead the list of external forces that CFOs expect to have the most impact on their enterprises in the near future, technology is now third on the list – up from fifth place in 2010.
  • Only 47 percent of CFOs think their own finance organization is effective at measuring and managing performance – the task they ranked as most important.
  • Only 51 percent of those surveyed think the finance organization is effective at planning and executing strategy.
  • Only 64 percent of respondents think their finance organization is effective at controls and managing risk.
  • Value Integrators – identified by IBM as those who are ahead of the curve – have proved 38 percent more successful than other finance organizations, measured in terms of the revenues and profits earned by the enterprises they represent.
  • CFOs rank second behind CEOs in terms of collaborative influence.

In the video above, Bill Fuessle from IBM Global Business Services, provides highlights from the CFO study. In it, he discusses the revelation that while CFOs are becoming more important in their organizations, many of them aren’t using integrated analytics tools to extract insight from their data. “It’s a missed opportunity,” IBM editors said. “And it’s holding them back.”

So who holds the key to your business’s future? Will it be you?

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Abbe Miller is the marketing manager at NetSphere Strategies, located just outside Chicago. NetSphere Strategies is a boutique eCommerce company positioned to help businesses transform their online presence by providing a full complement of services that starts with our strategic consulting and creative design teams, then continues with building innovative solutions and providing ongoing post-project support.