The price of light is less than the cost of darkness.
-Arthur C. Nielsen, Market Researcher & Founder of Nielsen Corporation
I ran across this quote while researching my first blog for this forum. Arthur Nielsen quoted this over 60 years ago and it still sounds fresh. Since we founded EZlytix a little over two years ago, I am now immersed in all things Business Analytics. The data scientist in me gets to see the relevance of this quote every day.
Well-known marketing companies around the globe end up spending about 10 percent of their marketing budget on research and measurement. Whether or not the number is accurate, I personally feel that it’s a good benchmark. I mean it’s quite reasonable to spend this much on analytics.
Productivity in the Finance Department
I was speaking with a mid-market CFO at a networking event. This bright, energetic, over-worked CFO was telling me that the demands on his small finance team are overwhelming. In addition to their regular duties, the Private Equity firm that recently acquired them was placing additional demands for information. He is considering hiring another resource, but didn’t want to make that decision yet.
The symptoms my CFO friend described are familiar:
- Data is manually collected and dropped into Excel for analysis
- He reviews every report to prevent errors from being published
- His small staff is working 50+ hours/week
- They produce the same static reporting package every month
- Special requests are time consuming to complete
- He spends more time collecting and formatting data than he does analyzing it
A properly designed business analytics solution could improve his team’s productivity. Not only would it take less time and effort to deliver the information, the source data would be more accurate and timely. If he could take a step back and envision the future, he could even imagine a time when the business users could produce their own reports. Instead of running on his hamster wheel, the CFO could be taking the first steps towards delivering a data-rich environment through analytics.
CFO.com published an excellent article entitled Data Analytics Adopters Brave Obstacles that discusses the evolving role of the CFO. Read this article for more information on the CFO’s role in data delivery: