Information overload hampers CFO decision making processes: Report

Report by The Economist Intelligence Unit shows 47% of CFOs are being hindered by complex, inaccurate and out-of-date information

June 19, 2014 2:44 IST | India Infoline News Service
New research sponsored by Qlik , a leader in user-driven Business Intelligence (BI), from The Economist Intelligence Unit shows CFOs are struggling to make effective decisions due to inaccurate, out-of-date information. According to the research report How the new breed of CFO makes decisions [link], 63% of respondents say their job entails analysing all available information, yet 47% say their decision making is slowed down by information overload.

The report is based on a survey of 100 Asia-based senior executives with responsibility for company finances. It shows data as featuring prominently on the list of obstacles chief finance officers are having to overcome, with 52% of those questioned saying data accuracy is the biggest hindrance to doing their job properly, while 46% point to access to real-time data and 43% say integrating complex data from different sources is a problem.

And yet, being able to process greater volumes of information is an increasing focus for CFOs. Almost three quarters, 74%, of survey respondents said data analysis would be useful in the future when making long-term strategic decisions. Nearly all respondents (94%) felt they would need more IT expertise in the next three years. However, they generally feel that IT tools do not meet their needs - 44% of respondents feel that IT vendors are not interested in making their analytics tools simple or easy to use.

Its worrying to see so many CFOs struggling to make sense of the data in their organisation, especially as the decisions they need to be making can have a big impact on the way the business is run, comments Martin Fitzpatrick, Vice President of Finance, Qlik Asia Pacific. Data can be such an important asset to anyone in the business, let alone the CFO, and the report shows that legacy IT vendors are making analytics tools really hard to use. CFOs often dont feel they are technically equipped to deal with that complexity. So its a concern that they cant get the insights they need out of the masses of information they have available to them.

This report paints a picture of CFOs having to make decisions but getting bogged down by the data analytics that they feel are needed to make those decisions. But instead of a big revamp in technology, CFOs are looking at additional training and multiple small investments to help generate insights from data, said Charles Ross, The Economist Intelligence Unit and editor of the report.

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