The changing data landscape is having a radical impact on the finance profession. Data is now a valuable commodity for companies. Finance professionals are well placed to lead on issues of data management, governance and lifecycle.
The perception of the relationship between data and information technology (IT) needs to change. Data can no longer be viewed as a by-product of IT systems.
Data as a key function
Working with electronic data is now a key function of today’s businesses across the globe. With their role as stewards of enterprises’ financial data, finance professionals have always been at the heart of data-related work.
The data-centric approach to technology will inevitably put more emphasis on data management and data governance.
Data governance and managing data through its full lifecycle should no longer be considered among those boring tasks confined to the depths of the back office.
New data-orientated business functions and roles will emerge, and this should present accountants with a good opportunity, as they are well placed to fulfil some of these functions and roles.
For instance, such issues would be well within the remit of finance professionals:
- calculating the true value of data
- and leading on the monetary impact of data management decisions.
The DIKI (data - information - knowledge - insight) pyramid.
The Internet of Things
And the amount of data that entities will be handling is set to grow.
The IoT (Internet of Things) is becoming a huge contributing factor in the creation of new data. According to Gartner, the IoT will grow to 26 billion devices installed by 2020, and global economic value-added through sales into diverse end markets is forecast to be US$1.9 trillion.
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"As more and more data is created, battles for business advantage are increasingly won or lost on the digital battlefield. The rigidly structured database management systems of the past are giving way to systems that can cope well with vast amounts of unstructured data - or rather, data of varied structure and complexity - commonly known as ‘Big Data’."
Why data management is important
Finance professionals are well placed to take on the role of data steward. But they need to ensure they have the correct skills.
Data stewards will articulate the role of data to the rest of the business and they will ensure the data is capable of adding value and being kept secure just like any other key asset.
Effectively using data gives corporates a cutting edge. Robust data architecture and properly designed data models improve data quality and availability. That in turns increases productivity and reduces operational costs.
Poor data quality leads to strategic mistakes, impaired decision making and lost opportunities A business that experiences data security breaches face litigation cost, negative publicity and reputational loss.