Big data – Readying business for the big data revolution

Nearly 9 in 10 organisations are struggling to get valuable insight from data. This briefing explores the key competencies organisations need, and the skills management accountants require to harness the power of big data.

Businesses and management accountants are always on the lookout for the next big thing – and big data is already making big changes in many sectors.
A business must strive to balance cost containment with investment to develop its competitive position. Striking this balance requires a keen understanding of the drivers of cost, risk and value in the business. Management needs better information. Developments in the use of data are revolutionising management, providing the insights needed for better decision making and performance management. Some early adopters in the use of big data and advanced analytics have already enhanced both their operational performance and their competitive position.
Ensuring that data is harnessed to inform decisions improves performance. Companies that have embraced the opportunities offered by developments in data are three times more likely to rate themselves ahead of their peers in financial performance.1
For example, the Intercontinental Hotel Group improved operational and strategic decision making. Intercontinental built a data platform that makes use of a wide range of both internal and external data to improve operational reporting and customer service. They are now better able to predict guests’ purchasing patterns and they can proactively identify market trends to guide investment.2
Yet a survey of over 2,000 finance professionals conducted by CIMA and the AICPA found that 86% of organisations are struggling to get valuable insights from their data.3
Management accountants have an important role to play in ensuring business success in today’s data-driven era. They also need to stay abreast of developments to ensure continuing career success. This briefing provides an overview of the competencies businesses must develop, key roles management accountants can play and the skills they will need.


1 From insight to impact, unlocking opportunities in big data, CGMA 2013
2 ibid