BI and analytics top investment areas for CFOs

It is not just IT leaders that are recognizing the benefits that good use of data can bring to companies, as chief financial officers are also making this a top priority.

Business intelligence (BI) and data analytics solutions were named as the top technology investment priority for these personnel in 2013, according to new research by Gartner.

A study conducted by the group in association with the Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF) found there are 19 business processes that have been identified by finance leaders as being able to be improved by better technology support. Of these, 15 can be largely addressed by the latest BI, big data analytics and performance management technologies. 

The number one process that requires technology investment in order to success is analysis and decision-making, the survey found. 59 per cent of respondents identified this as an area of concern, compared with 57 per cent last year.

This was followed by the ongoing monitoring of business performance (50 per cent) and collaboration and knowledge management (45 per cent).

John van Decker, Gartner research vice-president, said: "Responses to the 2013 Gartner Financial Executives International CFO Technology Study are consistent with prior years, with the emphasis on business intelligence/analytics and business applications as the top areas for investment and focus."

He added: "With over 20 areas of choices, all of the top 12 that were chosen by CFOs can be addressed and/or improved with investments in BI and analytics."

Bill Sinnett, senior director of research at FERF, added that the survey results indicate that CFOs are placing a higher priority on business applications than IT executives. It is therefore vital to have co-ordination between these two departments, as if chief information officers do not understand this, it may lead to finance personnel pursuing their own initiatives.

He noted that this illustrates the trend that BI and analytics solutions are no longer the sole preserve of IT departments, but are a responsibility that affects all parts of an enterprise.