Guest post from Pat Calitri, Business Unit Executive, Financial Close Management, IBM Business Analytics
Part 1 - The Need for a Single Source of Truth
Disclosure Management is now firmly established as an essential step in the financial close process but few organizations have learned to tap into its true potential on an enterprise scale. In this blog series, we interviewed Sherri Liao who leads The Hackett Group’s Enterprise Performance Management Advisory program.
We discuss the internal and external reporting challenges faced by finance organizations and the types of technologies and solutions organizations can employ to overcome these hurdles. We also explore what “top performers” are doing differently to leverage their information assets to drive better decision making.
Pat Calitri: What is happening in the market today that companies need to consider when deciding on the technology needed to support critical finance activities and drive value for the organization?
Sherri Liao: The landscape of Finance has changed – from how we execute and carry out transactional processes, to how we consume information and make critical business decisions. Advancements in how Finance uses technology has not only driven how we process and consume information, but has also markedly changed expectations in decision making timeliness. With the advent of recent economic and global events, the need to deliver data and reports more efficiently and effectively is needed now more than ever before.
Pat Calitri: Why are most organizations unable to collect and aggregate enterprise data and deliver reports with analysis (the story behind the numbers) efficiently and effectively?
Sherri Liao: Enterprise data is the most valuable asset for any Finance organization. However, the challenge is to unlock the value of this “big data” into meaningful insights to drive business decisions. In order to do this, we see organizations bringing a renewed focus on transforming reporting and data governance processes. However, in most cases their system landscapes are made up of disparate data sources at different levels of detail and structures. Most organizations over-rely on general purpose tools such as MS Office (spreadsheets & powerpoint) and email to manipulate data, create narrative analysis, and to share with internal stakeholders and management. These personal productivity tools offer no integration, little collaboration, and provide minimal transparency into the process. Without a “decoder ring,” data with no common financial language becomes a crippling manual exercise.
Pat Calitri: How can companies systematically streamline global finance operations, improve productivity and strengthen enterprise reporting?
Sherri Liao: Management teams are taking a step back to ask, “What do I need to do to make good business decisions?” Using that they can then define the types of information that need to be available to make insightful decisions on the overall health of their business. Additionally, they look at the volume of information being generated and assess whether all the reporting is needed, or if there are opportunities to rationalize and reduce unnecessary report generation. What is required are solutions that can integrate disparate data from across the enterprises into a single view for reporting while automating many of the time consuming manual tasks that cause delays and bottlenecks in current reporting processes.
Read part 2 of this interview that reviews the innovative next generation disclosure management solutions that can eliminate these inefficiencies.
For more information:
**Learn about IBM’s newest version of Cognos Disclosure Management at IBM’s upcoming Business Analytics Virtual Launch (Tuesday, June 11)
**Read the whitepaper, “The Time is Ripe for Enterprise Disclosure Management” and learn how to support disclosure management for departments and functions well beyond finance.
**Register to receive IBM’s newsletter: “Finance and Beyond”