William Hewlett, a founding father of Silicon Valley, once said “you cannot manage what you cannot measure.”
The opposite is just as true- when you’re able to measure something, it’s much more manageable. For the c-suite, only with sufficient, timely, and accurate information from all parts of the organization do they have the necessary raw materials for making decisions.
The need to create and maintain comprehensive information flows has become a basic tenet of good management.
Information can be of great value, but only if it is accessible.
While valuable data may exist, it’s often inaccessible given that it is stored in different parts of the company, held in different non-comparable formats, or not properly shared. To optimize decision-making, effective collaboration and distribution of valuable data are necessary.
Raw data such as customer retention rates, sales figures, and supply costs are of limited value on their own. It is only once they have been integrated with other data and transformed into information that they can guide decision-making.
Given a greater context, they suddenly have meaning.
Centralizing data sources across your entity can ensure that each division of your organization has access to a common source of trusted data allowing for increased productivity, optimized collaboration, and more confident decision-making.
How can information flow to key decision makers?
New technologies ease the collection and communication of the vast amounts of data generated. With the right information management system allowing for optimal information flows, organizations can transform finance into a strategic tool for business planning, for preparing for the future.
Information management tools make this possible as they allow executives to use the flow of information generated to control the business.
According to Chron, “an information management system collects and manages data that is stored in a variety of formats and makes it accessible to the people who need it.”
“Information management is to make sure that the right information is shared with the right persons at the right time in the right place.”
― Pearl Zhu
Having a more comprehensive view of what’s going on is the necessary foundation for shifting the aim of finance from holding an organization accountable for the past to leveraging information as the basis for strategic planning towards the future.
Better flow of information results in better decisions
While we’ve discussed the flow of information, the ultimate aim is better decision-making. Finance provides leaders of firms with a steady stream of important information about the inner workings of the business. With more information to work with, we’ll see data replacing gut feelings- a shift that will empower superior judgment.
“Well-designed and relatively simplified information/knowledge solutions bound to unlock the enterprise knowledge, to turn a downward spiral into an upward spiral.”
― Pearl Zhu
Through comprehensive reporting, a firm’s leaders gain sufficient informational control to navigate a firm on a path to sustainable profit. Information that flows fluidly both from top to bottom as well as from bottom to top results in improved information processing and full access among decision makers, only allowing the organization to benefit.
While data can help solve problems, see performance, and improve processes, according to the Harvard Business Review cross-industry studies show that on average, less than half of an organization’s structured data is actively used in making decisions—and less than 1% of its unstructured data is analyzed or used at all.
Manage information with the tool built for Finance
DataRails’ innovative AI technology connects all spreadsheet data with data from any ERP, GL, CRM, or other transactional system of choice. Innovative machine-learning algorithmic technology examines and interprets your data as a human eye would, in a fraction of the time.
DataRails is able to take both structured and unstructured spreadsheet data (including cell values, formats, formulas and relations, macros, etc.) to create a logical, centralized database. With DataRails, even your most complex spreadsheets can be processed, consolidated, and stored on a cloud-based centralized database.
By accessing and leveraging financial and operational data independently regardless of technical competency, the finance team can easily support planning, analysis and reporting needs on-the-go to drive faster and more effective decisions. For the c-suite, this translates to easy access of all organizational data, improved reporting, and real-time figures.
DataRails is developing a business augmented intelligence platform for the corporate finance function. Our FP&A solution allows for the connection and centralization of all organizational financial data from various systems (ERP, GL, CRM) alongside Excel spreadsheets and operational data. It also allows for the creation of automated financial reports (P&L, cash-flow, budgets, etc.), as well as thorough analysis of consolidated data for the creation of business and financial insights.