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CFOs Can't be Timid Regarding Big Data

The use of information is becoming increasingly important across the business world as decision-makers learn to leverage various types of data to drive new strategies. Financial executives in particular are beginning to understand that using new forms of information can promote new cost-saving or revenue-generating opportunities. The only catch is that companies need to manage the complexity that comes along with pursuing these Big Data endeavors.

According to a new American Express and CFO Research study, approximately 96 percent of finance leaders believe they will need to acquire more insight from data in 2014 if they want to succeed. Exactly half of these individuals think that using advanced analytics to take a data-driven approach will allow them to grow and thrive. Interestingly, only 40 percent of respondents said they plan on increasing IT spending by more than 10 percent.

The survey found that mobile and cloud computing investments are slowly increasing, although many companies still face challenges when addressing Big Data. Despite the fact that cloud and Big Data initiatives can improve flexibility, reduce costs, and boost productivity throughout the workplace, only 23 percent of respondents said they have put implementing new business intelligence strategies at the top of their 2014 list of priorities.

Pushing the benefits of Big Data
American Express revealed that 51 percent of finance executives understand that using Big Data analytics can give them a competitive advantage. By understanding internal and external operations, decision-makers can gain greater insight into what processes need improvement and which procedures may not need as much financial backing. As a result, companies can create more accurate portrayals of their budget. However, 40 percent of respondents reported they had no intention of spending money on Big Data technologies in 2014.

A Forbes report highlighted how many top-level executives believe Big Data will win over time because they recognize its potential to predict and augment human performance. However, many decision-makers think the movement is still in an early phase, which is encouraging companies to evaluate initiatives before launching full-scale projects. This could be one reason why many finance leaders are still holding off implementing such projects.

Nevertheless, it is important to understand that if a company isn't ready to become an innovator, it may remain a follower and will likely have a hard time gaining a competitive advantage. If businesses want to be top dogs in their industries, decision-makers need to be bold and experiment with up-and-coming trends, especially Big Data.

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