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We are witnessing the era of a rapidly emerging global market. Never-before industries are suddenly growing into giants while age-old ones are becoming unexpectedly obsolete. Newly minted regulations create advanced opportunities while the next new app might just revolutionize the world as we know it! There is a constant, cutting-edge flow of information, which the C-suite is scrambling to decipher in real time.

The Chief Financial Officer is shouldering ever-increasing responsibility of sailing the ship through this storm of disruptive change. Besides playing his/her age-old role of managing costs and investments, he/she has emerged as the best person to analyze big data and use advanced analytics to make accurate financial forecasts. It comes as no surprise then that successful companies across the world are re-envisioning their CFOs as Chief Future Officers.

CFOs are now sitting alongside CEOs in an advisory and strategic capacity. They are expected to possess extensive knowledge about how the business works and farsightedness to visualize its future and navigate it towards success. Besides the acumen to perform traditional number-crunching with ease, they are also expected to create corporate strategies and detailed working plans.

This post discusses the 3 main areas in which Chief Future Officers are transforming the business landscape.

1. Managing Big Data
Big data essentially refers to data that is too large – in terms of quantity, variety, complexity or speed – for traditional processing. It includes both structured data like transactional information; and unstructured data, including social media posts and metadata. CFOs are now welcoming this inundation of data in varied forms and employing newer methods to process it to gather deeper insights into the industry and the business.  At the same time, they are making peace with this data overload, accepting that it may provide only indicators and not conclusive solutions.

2. Using Predictive Analytics
Predictive analytics covers a range of statistical techniques that employ business intelligence to anticipate future events. Instead of simply gathering and reporting data, CFOs are using predictive analytics to decipher patterns, gauge business drivers and interpret connections between various factors to identify opportunities and risks. They are also uncovering customer and market trends at break-neck speed, helping the production and sales teams to respond with greater swiftness and efficiency.

3. Encouraging Technology-Driven Innovation
CFOs are comfortably working hand-in-hand with Chief Information Officers to keep the business in a permanent “beta mode”. They are harnessing technology to create company wikis and other knowledge-sharing platforms and reaping the benefits of Cloud technology. Keeping a flexible mindset with regard to ROI, they are increasing business efficiency and profitability with minimum-disruption innovation.

Thus, CFOs are no longer concerned with only getting the numbers right but also with formulating innovative strategies and collaborating to create a thriving, sustainable business on their watch.

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