Bruce Felt, Chief Financial Officer, Domo, explored how technology can be used to orchestrate data distribution and ensure an organization can accomplish its immediate and long-term goals in his presentation to Argyle's CFO membership at the 2017 Chief Financial Officer Leadership Forum in Atlanta on May 18. In his presentation, " The CFO's Guide to Driving the Organization to be Data Driven," Felt described how data and analytics empower data-driven organizations.
According to Felt, the role of the finance professional has evolved over the past few years.
No longer are finance professionals solely responsible for accounting tasks, Felt stated. Conversely, finance professionals are expected to contribute to a business' day-to-day operations and deliver value in all that they do.
"We aren't just bean counters anymore," Felt said. "The world has gotten very complex, and we are expected to be catalysts in the business … and we are expected to be really good operators. It's a lot of responsibility."
Ultimately, data is transformative for all employees within an organization, Felt noted, and how a business collects, manages and analyzes data may dictate its long-term results.
If a company leverages advanced data analytics tools, it may be better equipped than rivals to generate actionable insights, Felt said. Plus, if a business provides unprecedented access to data to all employees, it may be able to help workers gain the insights they need to become more productive and efficient than ever before.
"If you can run a business based on the facts, you can be a really good operator."
For finance professionals, data plays a vital role in how they contribute to a company, Felt noted.
Data-driven finance professionals can obtain insights that they may struggle to generate elsewhere. By doing so, these finance professionals can provide fact-based recommendations to help a company increase its revenues, extend its global reach and much more.
"If you can run a business based on the facts, you can be a really good operator," Felt stated. "If you do that and you're successful, your job will be much more fun, and you'll have a greater impact on your organization."
Although data is readily available to companies, it is important to note that many businesses are using outdated data analysis systems. Thus, these companies likely lack the support they need to maximize the value of the data at their disposal.
"Data is a firehose, and it is just mowing us down," Felt noted. "We just weren't equipped to capture all this data … and the systems that we had in the past were built to collect data and put it all in one place. They just weren't equipped for the stuff that we're trying to do today."
Moreover, companies must be able to capture data in real-time. With real-time data, finance professionals can track and analyze business trends and make more informed decisions, faster than ever before.
"Data has to be real-time," Felt said. "Once you get real-time data … organizations start leaning forward and become more aggressive."
Businesses also must understand the importance of mobility in today's rapidly evolving global marketplace, Felt indicated.
Finance professionals must be able to access data from any location, on any device and at any time. That way, these professionals can capture meaningful insights and foster business improvements without limitations.
"Data has to be mobile," Felt stated. "It needs to be on your phone, and you need to be able to flip through everything that is important. You need to be able to see at-a-glance what is going on with your organization. That way, you can take action all the time."
Today's businesses should realize the full potential of data as well, Felt said.
"Data has to be real-time. Once you get real-time data … organizations start leaning forward and become more aggressive."
Data once was a competitive advantage for many businesses. However, companies now require data that they can transform into actionable insights – without exception.
"I don't think data is a competitive advantage anymore; I think it is mission-critical," Felt noted. "Competitors just don't have a choice anymore. Because a lot of that data is out there, and it's just a question of whether you're going to use it."
Companies must do everything possible to avoid IT bottlenecks, Felt said, to extend the value of data to all levels of a company.
Furthermore, data management is an ongoing process, and companies must continue to search for innovative ways to mine and analyze information.
With effective data analysis, finance professionals can gain deep insights into a wide range of patterns and trends. These professionals then can establish data benchmarks to monitor a company's success over an extended period of time, Felt stated, and understand how they can help a business get the best results possible.
Bruce brings more than 25 years of financial operations and management excellence to Domo. For almost six years, he was CFO of SuccessFactors, guiding the company through a public offering, six acquisitions, and its $3.4 billion sale to SAP. Bruce has served as CFO for LANDesk Software, Auction.com, and Qualix Group. While at Qualix Group, he led its public offering and merger into Legato Systems, a company that was later acquired by EMC. An entrepreneur in his own right, Bruce founded Renaissance Software, serving as its CFO and head of sales. Being Domo CFO gives Bruce an added perk of getting to spend more time with his family at their Park City ski home.