How to Integrate Finance and Operations by Leveraging Cloud Storage

Finance executives almost never get to see the full picture of the performance of the company as they are only presented with certain types of data that relate to their work. Since their tasks mainly involve things like setting budgets, preparing financial reports and planning, they only get financial data as this is what they use for these tasks.The data they work with mostly concern forecast financial performance compared with actual financial performance. However, for the efficient running of an organization, it is necessary for them to get background data explaining the adverse or favorable performance of the company in comparison to the projected performance. This will help the company know what went wrong and what needs to be done to improve its performance rather than just knowing that it performed better or worse than expected.

Breaking down Data Silos

This problem can be solved by disintegrating the data silos and bringing together data from all applications in use within the organization and putting it in a cloud-based enterprise performance management (EPM) platform that can be used to monitor the company’s performance. This is better since all the functions involved in monitoring the company’s performance will be integrated into one platform. The EPM platform will facilitate planning, financial reporting, financial modeling and analysis of the actual performance in comparison to projected performance. Data silos are sets of data that are not part of financial data. By disintegrating them, finance executives will be given access to useful information to do with business operations and this will help them make better budgets and forecasts based on facts rather than assumptions and their subjective opinions. Use the following tips to integrate finance and operations in your business entity:

Carry Out an Audit of All Your Data Sources

Find out the sources of all the data in use in your organization. This is so that the finance unit can be given access to all the data that is collected by the different departments and units in your organization. This includes data from HR, data from the marketing department, and data from all applications in use at your organization. All these data should be made accessible to the finance department because different aspects of your organization affect its financial performance and making it available to Finance Department will enable the experts to find the connection between financial performance and all these other factors.

Come Up With a Data Consolidation Strategy

Disintegrating the data silos and combining all data in your organization into a single platform helps your organization as a whole and not just the Finance Department. Any discrepancies in the data collected can be corrected and the truth established. There are several data integration tools in use today. These tools help to consolidate data and facilitate its storage in a data lake or a data warehouse. You may face some challenges when consolidating data if some of the applications in use at your organization are outdated and therefore incompatible with most modern applications. You may not be able to consolidate all data in your organization, but at the very least, all the data from HR, the Finance Department, and the Marketing Department should be integrated into your EPM platform.


Leverage Cloud Storage for Efficiency and Scalability

Cloud storage is very affordable and scalable, and you will not have to worry about the security of your data or other issues like backup as most cloud vendors, also the need to considering who your broadband provider is will affect how usable cloud will be. With all the data integrated on one platform, all the departments will have a much easier time fulfilling their tasks, but the one department that is bound to benefit most from this is Finance. Planning, budgeting, and forecasting will be done more efficiently as the finance experts will know the underlying issues and variables and not just have to deal with absolute figures.


Bottom Line

The importance of cloud storage in the modern business world cannot be denied. Many businesses are making use of cloud-based EPM platforms to streamline their operations and to help the finance department run more efficiently. By doing this, the quality of their financial reports is greatly enhanced and financial management becomes simpler as the budgets and forecasts are more reliable. This is because they are prepared using complete data and no gaps have to be filled with assumptions or by extrapolation. Integrating finance and operations will surely be of great benefit to your organization.

Sean is a freelance writer and big data expert. He loves to write on big data, analytics and predictive analytics.