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TCS 2020 CFO Study

 

TCS 2020 CFO Study Master Report

Ashok Pai
Vice President & Global Head of Cognitive Business Operations, TCS 
Dave Jordan
Global Head and Managing Partner, Consulting & Services Integration TCS
Dinanath Kholkar
Vice President & Global Head, Analytics
Kumar Amitesh
Global Head (Sales & Solution) – TCS Analytics & Insights.Edison, NJ, USA.
Lakshmi Srinivasan
Global Head, Blockchain Services
Vikas Gopal
Global Managing Partner, Finance & Shared Services Transformation, TCS
Vikas Srivastava
Global Head, TCS Enterprise BPS Solutions and Offerings

Introduction

Digital disruption is giving chief financial officers (CFOs) sleepless nights; they know their organizations face a choice between agility and obsolescence.

Leaders, managers and customer-facing employees need access to relevant, timely data about operational and financial performance. Data-driven, real-time insight will drive agile approaches to innovation and digital revenue growth; allow for course correction at speed; and provide a means by which to manage an increasingly volatile risk environment. Although organizations have made significant capital investments in digital transformation and innovation, too many large, traditional businesses are still at risk of being outpaced by technology change, market disruption and the evolving demands of their customers.

CFOs must accelerate the move to real-time business intelligence to ensure their organizations operate at the pace of market and technology development. This means leading bolder, more ambitious technology innovation agendas to turn the potential for dynamic intelligence and agility into reality. To secure their companies’ future relevance will demand an unwavering focus on four core pillars:

1. Leadership and skills: finance-led frameworks for growth
2.  Transformation: change through a culture of collaboration 
3.  Agile finance: modeling a digital future
4.  Technology and data innovation: embracing emerging technologies

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 study work across 11 sectors and represent organizations generating at least US$1 billion in annual revenues; 12% are from companies with annual revenues of US$10 billion plus.

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

Leadership and skills

Finance-led frameworks for growth

CFOs in our research expect to be catalysts for growth in the digital age. Their priorities are clear, focusing on how new technologies can facilitate business change, how to invest for transformation, and how to develop compelling new customer propositions. (See Figure 1.)

In this study, we asked enterprise CFOs to think ahead to five years’ time and tell us about the areas where they expect their organization will be playing a critical role. Their responses show that they understand that to succeed in these roles, finance will need to acquire new skills and capabilities that complement their existing expertise. Their priorities for development include improving finance’s ability to chart a strategic direction for the business and ensuring the function understands the latest technologies and tools.

"Today my role is more about leadership and strategic thinking about how finance works within the broader scope of the organization—my priority is to continue developing collaborations with other senior leaders so that we can better align what finance is doing with what the business is trying to accomplish." 

— CFO, North America 
Global financial services company

Agile leaders versus traditionalists

This research reveals stark differences in the business attitudes and processes of the more digitally enabled businesses and those of their traditional counterparts. In this analysis, we refer to these two groups as “agile leaders” and “traditionalists”:

Agile leaders are those businesses that are able to access 90-100% of key operational and financial  performance data, and act upon the insights with immediate effect.

 

 

Traditionalists, by contrast, are only able to access, and act upon with immediate effect, 1-29% of key operational and financial performance data.

The finance function gets ahead of the technology curve

Many finance functions are already embracing this challenge. European airline Vueling, for example, has invested in new analytical capabilities that enable the finance function to study a range of route profitability metrics and operational considerations. This has transformed finance from an accounting function to a key decision-maker on route planning and aircraft leasing, and increased their revenue by more than 4%, by matching available routes with real demand.1

New analytical capabilities have enabled the finance function in this European airline to study a range of route profitability metrics and operational considerations. The ability to match available routes with real demand has transformed finance from an accounting function to a key decision maker—and increased revenue by 4%.

While traditional skillsets will remain important, CFOs today are looking for more data-oriented talent (see Figure 2). Rajiv Subramanian, Head of Finance at Nokia IT, says CFOs are also acutely aware of the need to harness the benefits of tools such as data analytics more effectively.

“In the past, CFOs were basically the guardians of the numbers—the bean counters,” he says. “Today, our role is to be insight generators, understanding how we integrate financial and non-financial data to generate insight about what needs to be done. It’s a very big opportunity for CFOs—my guiding principle is that finance is the only organization with access to every possible data. It is therefore not only our ability, but also our responsibility, to connect the dots, and present the big picture to the CEO and business leaders.”

Today, our role is to be insight generators…it’s a very big opportunity for CFOs."
— Rajiv Subramanian 
Head of Finance at Nokia IT

The finance function in a heavily scrutinized world

Developing finance’s core capabilities is the second-most important skills and capabilities priority for CFOs. Inevitably, this reflects the increasing demands on finance for granular data and insight into the business’s performance. Regulatory scrutiny in many sectors is unrelenting; investors are anxious to hold the business to account; and internal stakeholders in other functions increasingly rely on finance for actionable analysis.

Which finance function capabilities will deliver most value in 2025?

CFOs selected two in particular:
1. Analytical skills
2. Financial modeling
Traditional skills in finance and accounting came in at sixth place.

“The big challenge is understanding the economies you’re working in,” says one senior finance director at a multinational retail giant. “What are your projections? Will marketing this product really deliver a 3% revenue increase? What will an increase in the cost of your commodities mean?” Every function of the business wants these judgments, he says, not least to build the case to take to shareholders.

Agile leaders seize a dynamic advantage

The companies that are further along in their real-time transition in this research—the agile leaders—show what can be achieved when finance has immediate access to a significant proportion of the business’s operational and financial performance data, as well as the skills required to extract insight from this data and act on it (see Figure 3).

“Success means quicker decision making,” argues Sandip Thakrar, Finance Director—Major and Public Sector at telecoms company BT. “It’s about interrogating that one set of data and being clear about the outcomes—even running the report yourself to test out a thought before you make a decision—to become a more efficient and effective organization.”

"Success means quicker decision making, It’s about interrogating that one set of data and being clear about the outcomes—even running the report yourself to test out a thought before you make a decision—to become a more efficient and effective organization."
— Sandip Thakrar, Finance Director
Major and Public Sector at BT

These agile leaders are significantly more likely to be very satisfied with the speed of finance at executing key roles and tasks for the function than their follower counterparts. On the core capability of financial reporting, for example, almost five times as many leaders are very satisfied; on freeing up cash for growth initiatives, a vital facilitator of enterprise-wide innovation and development, almost four times as many leaders say they are very satisfied.

The CFO study data shows that:

Almost 5X as many agile leaders are very satisfied on the core capability of financial reporting

 

 

Almost 4X as many agile leaders are very satisfied on freeing up cash forgrowth initiatives

Front-to-back transformation

Change through a culture of collaboration

Finance leaders increasingly recognize that they must drive the shift to real-time business across the enterprise, rather than just their own function. The majority of CFOs in this research (58%) say they now look beyond finance and take responsibility for driving the digitalization of the entire business.

 

The majority of CFOs in this research (58%) say they now look beyond finance and take responsibility for driving the digitalization of the entire business.

Attempting to drive change with an inflexible top-down approach, even with strong change-management skills, is less likely to achieve results than engendering a culture where “performance partnerships” move the organization forward. “Having these robust conversations with other functions and setting direction will be critical,” says one senior finance director at a multinational retailer. “But CFOs can sometimes be too controlling: they need to learn how to set the strategy and agree on controls without strangling the business.”

"Having these robust conversations with other functions and setting direction will be critical. But CFOs can sometimes be too controlling: they need to learn how to set the strategy and agree on controls without strangling the business."
— Senior finance director 
Multinational retailer

Many CFOs are now focused on the need to establish this sort of culture. As Figure 4 shows, they are convinced that empowerment and engagement will be key tools in changing behaviors across the enterprise. The most effective way to encourage such change, according to 47% of CFOs, is to empower internal teams to act; some 42% cite the value of investing in employee engagement.

The CFO Study results show that the most effective ways to encourage a culture of “performance partnerships” that move the organization forward are to:

■ 47% Empower internal teams to act
■ 42% Invest in employee engagement

Finance leaders are driving proactive change

Finance executives looking to empower the enterprise recognize that providing practical solutions to real-time challenges will be critical.

One CFO points to an initiative in a previous role where senior leaders’ remuneration packages included an element of bonus calculated according to their success in driving and supporting cross-functional change, rather than change only in their own function. Another finance leader has developed a simple Excel tool to help leaders of other functions make more data-driven decisions about cost and spending without referring back to finance for guidance.

Elsewhere, a leading iron ore producer and supplier has recently completed a business transformation project to bring more than 100 systems with 4,000 users together in an integrated financial and business system. With faster decision-making enabled by a single view of the data across 18 departments, the business’s modeling sees reduced costs and downtime and improved production processes.2

Accounting for change

CFOs will be keen to monitor the business-wide progress of transformation initiatives, with each department responsible for implementing changes. More than 40% focus on the need to develop new performance metrics as the organization changes, and to ensure key performance indicators are cross-enterprise, rather than function-specific (see Figure 4). This will encourage collaboration as finance pursues the change agenda.

43% of CFOs surveyed are adding new performance metrics to measure progress in adopting new ways of working.

One CFO points to an initiative in a previous role where senior leaders’ remuneration packages included an element of bonus calculated according to their success in driving and supporting cross-functional change, rather than change only in their own function.

"Our challenge as CFO is getting more involved in transformation is to improve accountability across the organization,” says Nokia’s Rajiv Subramanian. “How do we really drive through those improved levels of performance and how do we bring more leadership throughout the business?"

Implementation paralysis will widen the gap

It is important to inject a note of caution. As Figure 5 shows, while many CFOs are convinced of the need to pursue a range of initiatives to change employee behaviors, many are still at an early stage of implementation.

Again, the strength of the agile leaders in this regard underlines the importance of moving beyond implementation paralysis. For example, 70% of these leaders have fully implemented initiatives to develop performance metrics that measure progress on change, against only 15% of traditionalists; 67% of the leaders have fully implemented projects to empower internal teams against only 34% of their more traditional counterparts. Moreover, CFOs at the most advanced enterprises are much more likely to recognize the value of leadership in driving change. Some 57% have fully implemented CEO sponsorship of change management, against only 16% of traditionalists.

The good news is that more CFOs are now developing the skills required to lead change-management initiatives. In this research, more than half the CFOs surveyed (52%) regard themselves as having proficient interpersonal skills.

The CFO research data shows that agile leaders are able to move beyond implementation paralysis

■ 70% of agile leaders have fully implemented initiatives to develop performance metrics that measure progress on change vs 15% of traditionalists

■ 67% of agile leaders have fully implemented projects to empower internal teams vs 34% of their traditionalists

■ 57% have fully implemented CEO sponsorship of change management vs 16% of traditionalists

It is these softer skills that will come into play as finance seeks to build stronger relationships throughout the enterprise, working with colleagues to deliver the change required. This is all the more so, given that these new ways of working will extend to external stakeholders, including clients. “The ability to switch from building internal to external relationships will be crucial,” says BT’s Sandip Thakrar. “To be a successful CFO, you need to be able to negotiate your way in and out of complex and challenging situations. I see people accelerate up through finance functions and they generally don’t have that type of core leadership capability and are very internally focused. When it comes down to it, they’re unable to work external situations to help move the business forward.”

52% of CFOs surveyed regard themselves as having proficient interpersonal skills

This is not to suggest more traditional finance skills are no longer needed. The core capabilities finance leaders have developed throughout their careers—including analytical rigor and proficiency in data—will be valuable in driving enterprise-wide change. But it will be important to grasp every new opportunity to develop additional skills. It’s notable, for example, that while only 39% of finance leaders regard themselves as proficient in change management delivery, just 27% are prioritizing this area for developing their skills (see Figure 2).

"The ability to switch from building internal to external relationships will be crucial, says BT’s Sandip Thakrar."

Just 39% of all CFOs surveyed regard themselves as proficient in change management yet only 27% are prioritizing this area




Agile finance

Modeling a digital future

CFOs well understand the crucial need to supply their businesses with accurate forecasting to provide a solid basis for enterprise-wide decision making. But, in this era of rapid change, finance and other functions must make a broader range of forecasts—predicated on a broader range of variables—than ever before. The ability to build accurate models of the future, and to evolve these models in real time as the underlying variables change, will be a key competitive differentiator.

At a leading manufacturer in the automotive sector, for example, finance has incorporated data from purchasing, marketing and sales in order to model the profitability of a range of different vehicle model and specification options. This has enabled the business to make smarter pricing and marketing decisions in each of the marketplaces in which it operates.3

“Our role is to ensure that the limited funds we have available are assigned to the most attractive projects,” says Nokia’s Rajiv Subramanian. “But it’s not just about putting money in the right bucket each year; we also have to have a longer-term vision about where we want the business to be in three to five years’ time—and to be sure that we’re investing in a consistent way on the right projects.”

Figure 6 underscores the scale of the challenge, with significant numbers of CFOs picking out a wide array of forecasting requirements as important to their organizations over the next five years. The top two answers, respectively “forecasts around technology evolution” and “financing and capital needs,” highlight just how broad the ability to forecast accurately must now be.

"We have to have a longer-term vision about where we want the business to be in three to five years’ time—and be sure we’re investing in a consistent way on the right projects."
— Rajiv Subramanian
Head of Finance, Nokia IT

Certainly, the weight given to the need to make forecasts around technology evolution is understandable. After all, new digital technologies underpin the disruption that so many sectors are going through. For many enterprises, digitalization has led to significant business model change, yet CFOs only rank forecasts about business model lifecycles in joint eighth place.

A clearer vision of the future

In addition to identifying the areas where they can drive the greatest enterprise-wide value with their forward-looking analysis, finance functions also need to focus on how they can improve the quality of their forecasting work. Even for agile leaders, significant challenges stand in the way of accurate forecasting.

One problem is that finance functions are struggling to secure the skills they need to improve forecasting. More than a third (36%) say they have skills shortages in this regard and that recruitment is difficult. There are internal barriers too: colleagues’ resistance to new ways of working stands in the way of a third of finance leaders (33%) endeavoring to produce more accurate forecasts.

The study results show that:
■ 36% of finance leaders say they have skills shortages in forecasting
■ 33% of finance leaders are endeavoring to produce more accurate forecasts but resistance to new ways of working stands in the way

“Every meeting I go to, I hear CFOs say that I have to get my data to do my job, but I don’t see them taking a more active role in educating themselves on technology, and I think they’re going to have to learn that skillset,” warns the senior finance director at a multinational retailer. “And there will be pushback from other parts of the business because colleagues can be wary about the numbers they provide; you have to keep challenging them to get that data.”

"Every meeting I go to, I hear CFOs say that I have to get my data to do my job, but I don’t see them taking a more active role in educating themselves on technology."
- Senior finance director
Multinational retailer

Strikingly, these figures are equal to or higher among the agile leaders, at 40% for both (see Figure 7). Even the most agile finance functions face tough challenges in their business analysis and planning work—and they are acutely aware of these difficulties.

This is where transformational leadership—at all levels—comes in, says Sujith Chandran, Senior Finance Director at The Hain Celestial Group in the US. “Once the CFO has the mandate, they should leverage the power of the middle level of the organization,” he explains. “They must identify and activate forward-thinking managers, those who understand the role of technology, those who have perhaps already experienced the benefits, to be the change agents. Let’s say that’s 10% of the organization: the CFO must use them as catalysts to implement change.”

"Once the CFO has the mandate, they should leverage the power of the middle level of the organization. They must identify and activate forward-thinking managers, those who understand the role of technology, those who have perhaps already experienced the benefits, to be the change agents."
- Sujith Chandran
Senior Finance Director, The Hain Celestial Group (US)

How to move forward?

For many organizations, the answer will be to create and develop more agile financial planning and analysis (FP&A) capabilities, with a mandate to improve forecasting accuracy throughout the business. The agile leaders in this research are especially likely to highlight the benefits of such capabilities.

There will be other benefits too. Almost a third of all CFOs in this research (32%) believe agile FP&A capabilities will facilitate better strategic decision-making by their organizations. About 28% say that these capabilities will improve the way finance measures returns on investment.

■ 32% of CFOs believe agile FP&A capabilities will facilitate better strategic decision-making by their organizations
■ 32% of CFOs are very confident that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will positively impact FP&A

New technologies are set to play a crucial role in helping finance to increase the agility of its FP&A. Already, almost a third of finance leaders are very confident that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will have a positive impact (see Figure 8). Blockchain, too, will become more important, with agile leaders in finance already beginning to embrace this technology.

Striving for agility will be hard work. At BT, for example, Sandip Thakrar is currently involved in a project to slim down the 38 billing systems operated by the company’s enterprise business, with a view to improving speed and accuracy. “We’ve created that complexity ourselves along the way and we’ve always been afraid to look at it,” he reflects. “Then you have countless people reporting off those data sets, spending countless hours reconciling them, and the senior team sees one model on Monday and another on Tuesday, with no way of knowing which one’s right.”

How blockchain could help drive FP&A agility

FP&A is one area where forward-thinking and technologically savvy finance leaders now see a role for distributed ledger technologies, with blockchain increasingly important, particularly in sectors such as financial services. Indeed, some 44% of agile leaders are very confident that blockchain could have a positive impact on their FP&A capabilities; only 12% of traditionalists say the same.

“Blockchain gives you the opportunity to complete something in one shot,” says a senior finance leader at a global financial services provider. “If you can parcel together a transaction so that everything from initialization and agreement between two counterparties through to cash settlement all happen together and instantly, that’s very powerful.”

Already, the leading finance functions are finding use cases for blockchain tools in their FP&A work. For example, almost half of agile leaders (45%) expect to have used blockchain to secure access to more reliable data by 2025, compared to only 27% of their traditional counterparts.

■ 44% of agile leaders are “very confident” that blockchain could have a positive impact on their FP&A capabilities vs 12% of traditionalists 
■ 45% of agile leaders expect to have used blockchain to secure access to more reliable data by 2025 vs 27% of traditionalists

 

Technology and data innovation

Embracing emerging technologies

Agile businesses are able to process a broad range of data to inform their decision making, constantly fine-tuning their strategies and execution as new intelligence flows in. However, reaching this level of sophistication is not straightforward; it requires the business not only to seek out new sources of data constantly but also to manage and process that data at an accelerated rate in order to underpin decision-making.

Advanced data and analytics tools have the potential to help businesses make significant strides forward. Nonetheless, many CFOs in this research concede there is still plenty of work to be done.

Bringing data to bear on decision-making

Right now, only 35% of finance leaders say that all decisions are made having reviewed all relevant data from within the enterprise; only 43% are confident their decision-making always reflects a comprehensive range of ecosystem data sourced from partners and other collaborators (see Figure 9). The number of businesses consistently bringing broader data into their decision-making processes is even smaller, at just 27%.

■ Only 35% of finance leaders say that all decisions are made having reviewed all relevant enterprise data
■ Only 43% are confident their decision-making always reflects a comprehensive range of ecosystem data sourced from partners and other collaborators

“[Attaining] reliable master data is a challenge on a grand scale,” says Nokia’s Rajiv Subramanian. “It’s something we’ve got to fix, because, even with the best ERP system in the world, if you put garbage in, you’ll get garbage out.”

As in other areas, the agile leaders identified in this research show what can be achieved. Some 62% always take account of enterprise data when making decisions; 57% say the same of ecosystem data; and 48% always leverage universe data.

The study shows that when making decisions: 
■ 62% of CFOs always take account of enterprise data
■ 57% of CFOs always take account of ecosystem data
■ 48% of CFOs always take account of universe data

Those businesses not yet confident that their decision making is consistently driven by data now need to close the gap. This research suggests that doing so will require them to improve the quality of their data, improve the governance and security of their information, and develop or acquire new skills in areas such as analytics. Among those currently engaged in data-driven decision making on an ad hoc basis or rarely, the three most important barriers to doing better are:

■ First: Data sets are of questionable value or even misleading
■  Second: Concerns about information security
■  Third: A lack of the skills required to extract actionable insight from the data

The challenge now, therefore, is to focus on how to resolve these barriers.

Technology strategy: taking the long view

A successful long-term technology strategy will ensure that all future decision-making is driven by data. To improve data quality, organizations will need to move away from legacy systems to more flexible architectures capable of collecting, managing and reconciling data much more proficiently. Such modernization will also ensure organizations are able to maintain information security, complying with data-protection laws, repelling threats and boosting the confidence of stakeholders, including customers. Combined with an investment in talent, the development of this sort of strategy has the potential to be transformational.

To improve data quality, organizations will need to move away from legacy systems to more flexible architectures capable of collecting, managing and reconciling data much more proficiently.

One leading city authority that invested in diagnostic tools so that finance could measure its own performance against those of its peers was able to transform its financial management. The process rapidly enabled it to identify internal investments that offered finance the greatest gains.4

Even with the best ERP system in the world, if you put garbage in, you’ll get garbage out.
— Rajiv Subramanian 
Head of Finance at Nokia IT

“We’re certainly going to see CFOs becoming more involved in the technology choices the organization makes, because these go hand in hand with how finance has to operate,” says a senior finance leader at a global financial services provider. “But there will also be very heavy demand for communication skills—people who can work more closely across functions and build strong relationships with colleagues who may be all around the world.”

CFOs will have to improve their understanding of technology and the application of technology - and even start showing results—if they are to gain credibility across the organization and become full on advocates, adds The Hain Celestial’s Chandran. “Starting with low-investment technology solutions and showcasing the results to the organization is the way to build faith and ultimately make the pitch for the bigger investments,” he says.

"CFOs will have to improve their understanding of technology and the application of technology—and even start showing results—if they are to gain credibility across the organization and become full on advocates. Starting with low-investment technology solutions and showcasing the results to the organization is the way to build faith and ultimately make the pitch for the bigger investments."
— Sujith Chandran 
Senior Finance Director at The Hain Celestial Group

However, while many finance leaders acknowledge the need for this shift, they also warn that implementing it is not straightforward. In particular, the pace of change, including in technology itself, is making it very difficult for finance to make accurate long-term forecasts of what investment will be required.

The pace of change, including in technology itself, is making it very difficult for finance to make accurate long-term forecasts of what investment will be required.

The longer the time horizon, the more difficult the forecasting challenge. As Figure 10 reveals, while 84% of CFOs are confident that they are able to forecast investment requirements for new technologies over the next 12 months, only 57% are equally optimistic about getting it right over a three-to-seven-year period—falling to 47% over even longer-term timescales.

The study results shows that:
■ 84% of CFOs are confident that they are able to forecast investment requirements for new technologies over the next 12 months
■ Only 57% are equally optimistic about getting it right over a 3 to 7 year period (and falling to 47% over longer-term timescales)

Arvind Agrawal, Finance Director at Philips Netherlands, believes it is critical to plan beyond the next five years to remain competitive, even if the landscape is shifting. “Right now, we are making a Philips-wide plan for 2025 at a central team level. I’m not saying it will remain stable for the next five years, but we are trying to look at the market’s pain points and how we can improve that.” The biggest challenge, he says, is evaluating the tools within the market. “It is very, very difficult for anybody to say, ‘This is the best.’ I know there is no ‘best’ solution, but what will work best for us?”

Predicting future technology needs

Right now, well over half of CFOs (61%) say that the chief technology officer (CTO) or chief information officer (CIO) in their organizations takes the lead in identifying the technologies that the business will require in three years’ time. However, a more balanced model with a greater role for finance, based on its enterprise-wide vision, makes sense.

61% of CFOs say that the CTO or CIO in their organizations takes the lead in identifying future technologies for the business within the next three years.

 

“Any time you get strategy, you also have to think about process and what kind of technology is going to be needed for that,” argues one senior finance director from the retail industry. “For that reason, I think it’s going to become much more common to have the CTO and the strategy team under the CFO.”

It’s going to become much more common to have the CTO and the strategy team under the CFO."
— Senior finance director in the retail industry

In practice, there may be many ways to establish this balance, as the role of CFO becomes more closely aligned with those of CIO and CTO peers. Regular forums offer finance and technology leaders an opportunity to share ideas and concerns, to co-develop proposals for renewal and to prepare more accurate forecasts together. Embedding staff in each other’s functions may have value. Identifying finance staff with technology skills—and IT staff with analytic and numeracy capabilities—will pay dividends. The key is to bring the knowledge base of each function to bear as the business’s investment strategy develops.

Conclusion: A blueprint for realizing CFO agile ambitions

There is no doubt that finance leaders are embracing innovation, change and the digital agenda. Founded on real-time intelligence, the agile finance function will take the lead on horizon-scanning, redefine the enterprise’s milestones and metrics for the digital world, and provide a dispassionate analysis of where innovation is delivering the expected returns on investment (and where it is not). In doing so, finance’s role as the key strategic partner to the rest of the business will be strengthened and solidified as it steers the course for future, data-driven growth.

How do CFOs drive this change?

How do CFOs drive this change? The agile leaders in this research provide the blueprint. To emulate these leaders, other businesses now need to:

■ Be ambitious about what finance can achieve—45% of agile leaders envisage their CFO playing a critical role in technology-enabled business model transformation over the next five years

■ Prioritize new skills development—45% of leaders are prioritizing improving their long-term strategic planning, while 37% want to improve their understanding of advanced technologies

■ Focus on modeling technology evolution—46% of leaders see this aspect of forecasting as vital to their organization between now and 2025

■ Recognize the advantages of more agile FP&A—38% of leaders believe agile FP&A systems will create better data while 37% say they will encourage collaboration across the enterprise

■ Consider how to change employee behaviors—in particular, 49% of leaders see the value of empowering teams across the organization

■ Seek out new sources of data—the agile leaders are more than twice as likely to have a formal process for identifying new datasets across enterprise, ecosystem and universe data

Get More CFO Insights
Read all the reports from this study at: on.tcs.com/cfostudy

https://info.datumize.com/hubfs/IPA-GDD-2018/Web/Download/Success-cases/SS-vueling-new-routes-opportunities-customers-booking-behavior.pdf?hsCtaTracking=0274cd1b-53b0-4775-90a3-2937ff335722%7C2e93c8c5-e7a9-4639-b06a-593d7c758ca0

2 Metallovest transforms its business processes, July 2018. http://www.metalloinvest.com/en/media/press-releases/300314/

3 The ascent of digital, PwC/ACCA, 2018. https://www.pwc.co.uk/services/consulting/finance/the-ascent-of-digital.html

4 City of Sydney, Gartner, 2018 https://www.gartner.com/en/finance/insights/case-studies/city-of-sydney

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