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IBM Study: Big Data Equates To Big Advantage In CFO Effectiveness

ARMONK, N.Y., March 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a new IBM (NYSE: IBM) study, the vast majority of CFOs (82 percent) see the value of integrating enterprise-wide data, but only 24 percent think their team is up to the task. This marks a 205 percent increase in the gap between the importance of data and the ability to exploit its value since the question was first asked in 2005, showcasing a critical divide in the skills and capabilities for today's finance teams.

The study, entitled " Pushing the Frontiers," is based on findings from face-to-face conversations with 576 CFOs from around the world. Conducted by IBM's Institute of Business Value (IBV), the study found that CFOs' expectations of their finance team have evolved, as have their views on technology. While macro-economic and market factors still lead the list of external forces they 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.

"In our discussions with CFOs over the past decade, the significance of technology and analytical tools in transforming the finance function and broader enterprise has continuously risen," said Bill Fuessler, Partner, Finance, Risk & Fraud, IBM Global Business Services. "Data has always sat in the center of a CFO's job responsibilities, and CFOs now recognize how insights from Big Data are helping their company become more competitive. CFOs are being asked to anticipate the future and discover new areas of revenue growth - we anticipate this will spur a new strategic alliance between the CFO and CMO as they partner to drive the corporate growth agenda."

Highest Performing CFOs are Two Times Better at Integrating Enterprise-wide Data

Building on more than nine years of CFO conversations, the IBM research revealed a subset of CFOs called Value Integrators: individuals who are more effective in finance efficiency and analytical insight than their peers. This year the study also identified an even smaller set of high performers called Performance Accelerators, CFOs who have mastered their core duties so thoroughly that they're far ahead of their peers. In fact, Performance Accelerators have been 70 percent more successful than Value Integrators, measured in terms of revenues and profits generated during the past three years.  

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