Getting inside the numbers – a cognitive approach to finance

A few years ago, business leaders could see the competition coming. The biggest risk was a new rival entering the market with a better or cheaper product or service. Today, ‘uberization’ or industry disruption caused by an unlikely competitor, has become a dominant concern of the C-suite.

In IBM’s latest study ‘Redefining Boundaries’, in which 643 CFOs participated, it was found that business leaders believe cloud computing, mobile solutions, the Internet of Things, and cognitive computing to be the technologies most likely to revolutionise their business. When it comes to risks, two years ago IT security ranked low on the list of concerns, but now, 68 percent of respondents rank IT security as the number-one enterprise risk.

Data has always sat at the centre of a CFO’s job responsibilities, and we recognise how insights from Big Data are helping our companies to become more competitive. Finance leaders are asked to anticipate the future and discover new areas of revenue growth. This hasn’t changed, but now requires pace, with the agility to swap in strategies based on where digital disruption might take us.

With data being the new natural resource, we as humans, have been outstripped of the capability to understand its hidden insights and meaning. As CFOs how should we be taking a new approach to finance in order to minimise the latest competitive threats to our business? How do we stay agile and direct investment where it needs to flow the most?

As a finance community we need to explore how we transform the role of the CFO to respond to the demands of this new world order. On 11th November I will be hosting a finance leader’s day to discuss what’s changing in our profession. We’ll look at finance transformation, new digital technologies, analytic driven decision making, security, talent management, and how we use cognitive business principles to get inside the numbers and bring smarter insights to the board.

Joining me on the day to lead the discussions will be a number of our clients, including Finance Leaders from Lloys Banking Group, plus Kevin Reed – Editor, Financial Director, and Sir Vince Cable, who will be sharing insights on business and innovation and what he thinks is coming next for the global economy.

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