There are very few people in a company who see across the entire organization — typically your CEO, CFO, and COO. They have a seat at the table in every conversation, and they are constantly making critical decisions.
These leaders can make decisions in one of two ways: based on gut instinct or based on data. Everyone knows that making decisions with data is the right approach, but it’s never really that simple.
Making decisions based on data is hard when the data isn’t timely or accurate — which is often the case with data that goes through a lot of transformation. This is a big reason why leaders often follow their gut instincts. Most want data, they just can’t get what they need.
That’s why I decided to join Incorta as CFO earlier this year. Incorta solves a big business problem that I have been wrestling with for over a decade: Pulling together accurate data from all the different sources inside and outside of the company, in real time, to support data-driven decision making.
Customer 360, Simplified
In my previous role we wanted to do holistic customer 360s. The last thing I wanted was for a salesperson to get blindsided by a customer who was unhappy for some reason.
Our vision was to make sure that when anyone in our company talked to a customer, they could see how that customer had been interacting with all facets of the organization. That meant marrying disparate data sets in order to get a visualization of the entire relationship. We started with payment history and some Salesforce information. Then, we brought in CSAT scores, customer cases out of Jira, and other qualitative information.
We eventually built a comprehensive dashboard, but to do it, we had to bolt together a whole bunch of different solutions. It took about six months to get the first cut of data, and the better part of a year to fully realize our vision. Once it was done, it took a full-time employee on the sales ops team — a data analyst who knew Salesforce and was also a Tableau Ninja — to maintain it day to day.
If I had known about Incorta then, I would have gone in a different direction.
With Incorta, you can bring high-fidelity, easily auditable information together in real time because you don’t have to go through all the typical heavy-duty transformation processes. We could have had fewer tools in our stack, and the time to get it up and running would have been much faster. Administration could have been done in the finance organization, rather than devoting analyst headcount to it.
Short Is Beautiful
For a CFO, the simplicity of a short audit trail is a big deal. Any time you’re pulling data, especially financial data, you have to be able to trace that back to its ultimate source because every time it passes through another set of hands, there’s an opportunity for error.
Not only might that lead you to make the wrong decision, but errors can lead to material financial misstatement. There are significant risks associated with that, especially for public companies — and their leaders. The SEC recently reinstated clawbacks on executive bonuses in case of financial misstatement due to error. Such clawbacks previously only applied in cases of misconduct.
Taking data transformation out of the analytics process has a direct impact on improving data accuracy. There’s a cost benefit as well because auditors only need to focus on validating the original source data. They don’t have to attempt tracking it back through all the transformations.
Once again, Incorta can help. It excels anywhere you have to drill into multiple systems to get information, and that makes it a powerful tool for finance teams — especially those leading complex organizations.
For most of my career, I’ve worked in companies where the information required for day-to-day financial operations is all inside of an ERP system that is integrated with a planning tool, a human resources tool, and a CRM. When I’ve done acquisitions, the first order of business has always been to bring the acquired company onto my ERP system.
But there are a lot of organizations where you can’t achieve that level of integration. For example, if you’re a multibillion-dollar multi-national acquiring other multibillion-dollar multi-nationals, ripping and replacing systems can be too big and costly a challenge.
The same is true when you acquire companies that operate in a substantially different way. For example, a software company acquires a hardware manufacturer. The manufacturer is going to have warehouse management and inventory management integrations that are unique to their operations. ERP conversion in that situation is very challenging.
In these types of scenarios, Incorta can be used to pull together the information from multiple ERPs for financial reporting so you have total visibility into all your data. You know the data is accurate because it’s not going through a huge, multi-step transformation process — it’s a real time view that’s 100% identical to the source, so you can move quickly and make decisions with confidence.
Incorta is the perfect tool for CFOs and other leaders who need visibility across everything — and need to be able to trust what they see. This unified data analytics platform (UDAP) is a total game changer for the office of finance and I am proud to be a part of the journey.
To learn more about how CFOs and their teams are using Incorta to improve visibility and accelerate time to insight, join us for our next webinar: Deliver Financial and Operational Analytics through a Truly Agile Data Pipeline with Incorta.
Prefer a more hands-on approach? Spin up a free trial and try it out for yourself today.