by David Williams, Senior Director EPM Marketing, SAP

WaveThe Internet of Things, sensor technology, social media, and the digitization of business are some of the factors contributing to the ocean of data that is flooding businesses today. Many organizations are already working with petabytes of data – and it won’t be too long before we are talking about exabytes and even zettabytes. The volume is almost unimaginable when you consider that one zettabyte is a whopping sextillion bytes.

Yet, leading companies are not only storing and accessing their data, they are also heavily mining it across business functions to help dramatically improve enterprise performance. In the recently released Beyond Budgeting Roundtable white paper, “The Three V’s of Big Data: What Do They Mean to Financial Planners?”, author Steve Player provides some great advice on how financial executives can turn the Big Data storm into a gold rush.

Player believes – and many others agree – that with Big Data and the right technologies to leverage it, financial executives have the ability to transform the planning and performance management function. Technologies like in-memory computing and analytics, and mobile tools and applications, are key to that transformation. They enable planners to fully mine, manage and model data and quickly run different scenarios  to empower real-time decisions and take actions that can positively affect the top and bottom line.

In-memory computing makes accessing and processing data faster and more affordable. Analytics solutions such as business planning applications give planners the ability to turn data into actionable information and run complex “what-if” scenarios. Mobility greatly assists communications, collaboration and response times across the entire enterprise by placing information and the ability to take action in the hands of those closest to the customer and can help finance transform from fact checker to a real-time collaborator. Together, these technologies provide the support needed to ride the Big Data wave.

Finance executives have always crunched numbers, but now they can crunch all types of data including customer sentiment and sensor readings to get a more complete picture of performance. With far faster access to data and the ability to broadly collaborate with other business stakeholders, finance can now become an even more effective partner in driving the top and bottom line.

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