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Forward-thinking CFOs must step up and play a critical strategic role in transforming enterprises away from traditional operating models to one that gives executives access to insights in real time.

But many are unclear about the best way forward. They are asking questions like: “How can I turn the rising tide of enterprise data into real-time insights that drive growth across the business? How can I empower the workforce to transform my organization and support future-ready digital business models? And how can I capitalize on new technologies—like blockchain, analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI)—to enable new forecasting models and a truly agile finance organization?”

To help CFOs find the solutions to these questions and to reduce the risk for large organizations of being outpaced by technological change, market disruption and the evolving demands of their customers, the TCS Business 4.0 Institute has conducted a deep dive into these topics.

About the research

To understand how finance leaders are tackling the challenges and leading the transition to a real-time business, we sought the views of more than 500 CFOs and senior finance leaders in Europe (UK, Germany, The Netherlands) and North America. The CFOs in this research work across 11 sectors represent organizations generating at least $1 billion in annual revenue; 12% are from companies with annual revenue of >$10 billion.

A series of in-depth interviews was conducted with finance leaders at global organizations to validate our findings.

Our research shows that, to secure their companies’ future relevance, CFOs must build their role upon the following four pillars.