Respondents appear to be less certain of how their companies could best use big data and cloud technologies. Perhaps in a nod to the complex and evolving field, only a quarter (23%) of respondents say that making better use of big data analytics will be among their companies’ priorities in 2014. And while 51% of the executives surveyed see opportunities to gain competitive advantage using big data analytics, a surprising 40% do not plan to increase spending in this area over the next year. For now, many finance executives are concentrating on improvements to current platforms and integration with existing tools before taking larger, calculated leaps. In fact, more than half (59%) of respondents say they still consider big data analytics to be a supplementary form of analysis, and that companies should develop their core analytical capabilities first.

Similarly, uncertainties about the use and development of cloud technology continue to be a barrier to investment. Less than a third (28%) of respondents say their companies will increase their use of cloud computing in 2014. This is likely due to the fact that 48% still cite concerns with data security, while another third voice concerns about third-party dependencies. Still, senior finance executives recognize that cloud technologies can offer significant benefits to their companies, including the following:
  • Greater flexibility (56%)
  • Cost savings (37%)
  • Improved productivity (37%)
  • Time savings (26%)

Senior finance executives do see hope for greater investment in cloud technology in the future, though. More than half (57%) think that five years from now, data-security concerns are unlikely to pose a barrier to adopting cloud-based financial systems.


IT changes companies are most likely to focus on implementing in 2014:
  • Integrating existing information systems (44%)
  • Acquiring or deploying new applications or tools (41%)
  • Upgrading existing systems (32%)

About the Survey

CFO Research Services surveyed 154 senior finance executives based in the U.S. (100 responses) and in the U.K. (54 responses). Respondents represent companies from a wide range of industries. Company revenues ranged from less than $100 million to more than $500 million in annual revenue. The research program, which included an online survey and interviews with senior financial executives, was completed in September 2013.

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