Data – and how it’s managed – is becoming increasingly important to how businesses succeed in today’s economy. More and more, companies use financial and operational data to drive business planning, discover new market opportunities, improve administrative processes, and other vital activities. In a recent survey from American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) and CFO Research, Supporting Growth with New Technologies, 96% of U.S. senior finance executives agree they will need to extract much greater value from financial and operating data in 2014. Still, executives surveyed continue to report cautious investment plans in information technology (IT), especially for newer technologies such as big data analytics and cloud storage tools. When considering where IT improvements could offer the most value to growth plans, nearly half (48%) say cutting costs, while the other half (48%) take a more insights-driven approach, citing effectiveness through analytical tools as the most valuable way IT can contribute to growth. To that end, 40% of surveyed executives say they plan to increase real spending on IT by 10% or more over the next year. However, while many senior finance executives plan to increase IT spend, only 8% plan to increase spend by 30% or more. "CFOs continue to seek out technology which allows them to improve business performance and increase employee productivity," said Jay Cary, Vice President, Digital, Global Corporate Payments at American Express. "Mobile in particular is leading the way – both because of CFOs’ familiarity with the technology and for the real-time benefits it offers employees. As data analysis grows in importance, we expect to see similar investments in big data analytics and cloud-based solutions.” DEPLOYING MOBILE TECHNOLOGY The increasing value of mobile technology is undisputed with executives looking to mobile to help employees better manage business data while on the go. Three-quarters of respondents (76%) say that their companies will need to make better use of mobile technology over the next year. The top three goals cited for mobile improvements are:
Providing employees with better data retrieval capabilities (42%)
Enabling employees to share data and make better real-time decisions (34%)
Providing employees with up-to-the minute access to data (30%)
While senior finance executives have these goals in mind, only 11% report having a formal, enterprise-wide plan for updating their mobile technology capabilities. The majority (70%) say they will take an ad hoc approach or simply plan to implement a general directive on mobile technology.