This is the third of four blog posts written in collaboration by Robert J Zwerling and Jesper H Sorensen of the Finance Analytics Institute and is an excerpt from their book, Implementing an Analytics Culture for Data Driven Decisions. Mr. Zwerling is also Managing Director of Aurora Predictions (www.aurorapredictions.com) and Mr. Sorensen is Senior Director FP&A with a Fortune 500 technology company.
The information in the article and more will be covered at JPK Group’s Implementing Analytics Academy. Click here for more information.
In this, the third of four articles on the Roadmap to building an analytics culture for data drive decisions, we shall explore the “start button” of Mindset for data driven decisions.
The Finance group is the bedrock of a business. It offers control and on-going financial measurement to assist defining and meeting plan. It is the trusted score-keeper. However, this should only be a stepping-stone to the broad value Finance can bring to its business if it aspires to be world class and become the trusted partner of the business.
Going from trusted score-keeper to trusted partner begins with an aspirational Mindset on how Finance perceives its contribution to the business’ decision process.
The trusted-scorekeeper focus is on reporting numbers timely and accurately to the business and do basic variance analysis commentary. The strategic partner use data to provide analytical insight to influence decisions makers and impact the strategic direction.
As presented on the figure below, the path from the “average” trusted score-keeper to the world class strategic partner goes through four types of personas: Reporter, Commentator, Advisor, and Strategist. The journey involves understanding how to innovate Finance by improving the analytical skill set and systems toolbox to provide insightful and predictive information.
The Reporter supports the business by providing reports containing hindsight information. This Persona has demonstrated expertise with spreadsheets and spends much time capturing data from different BI data cubes/spreadsheets/transactional sources to consolidate into other spreadsheets. The Reporters are focused on providing the business with timely, accurate, and accessible financial information.
The Commentator adds visualization to reporting to explain trends and movements in the performance. This persona has automated the standard reporting by using Center of Excellence thinking and data visualization tools. The Commentator contributes by turning data into information beyond high-level variance analysis through detail explanation of the historical trends and deviations.
The Advisor identifies issues and opportunities by using complete knowledge of internal data, competitors, and the market to provide insight to business leaders that influence their decision making. Insight is information that the business does not know; e.g. correlating between the current performance and other financial or non-financial data. The Advisor use multi-source data and analytics to explain why things have happened and not just what and where things happened.
The Strategist impact business decisions, as the Strategist is capable of generating the most advanced forms of analytics; e.g. predictive and prescriptive analytics to explain what is likely to happen and how to make it happen. Strategist use analytics tools combined with a detailed understand of competitors, customers, and vendor’s strength and weaknesses and use that insight to predict future events and performance.
Finance organizations that understand how to advance through the four personas are said to be on the journey through the Evolution of Analytics; that is, evolving from providing just Descriptive Analytics to also include Diagnostic, Predictive, and Prescriptive Analytics.
Register today to attend JPK Group’s Implementing Analytics Academy March 25-27 in San Francisco to hear more from Robert, Jesper and other top contributors. Click here for more information.
Copyright 2018 Finance Analytics Institute, Robert J Zwerling & Jesper H Sorensen. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced without this copyright notice.