Many businesses today struggle to maintain pace with the demand for harnessing data for decision-making. A mix of legacy systems, lack of digital skills, underinvestment and mounting unstructured data are some of the main reasons which have left many organisations feeling quite limited in their ability to use data effectively.
Data challenges impact various teams, but the CFO and its finance team typically face additional challenges with the scrutiny around management and regulatory reporting. Furthermore, the finance function often plays a vital role in data with expectations to provide seamless data service for the rest of the business.
The value of data fabric in finance
According to Gartner, data fabric is a data management design that allows augmented data integration and sharing across diverse data sources. Data fabric have become more common over the last few years with the rise of data sources, formats and silos. Gartner highlighted data fabric as a strategic priority tech trend in 2022 and predicts that by 2024, data fabric deployments will significantly improve data utilisation and reduce human-driven data management activities in half.
Data fabrics offer a centralised, single layer of interaction that bring data, regardless of location, in a process that doesn’t require duplication. The data fabric can manage the lifecycle of that data, applying active data to manage privacy policies and compliance via role-based access controls.
The role of the CFO in the data fabric
For CFOs managing complex data and finance landscapes, using a data fabric provides easier access to data, increased performance and the ability to operate more efficiently and at a lower cost.
Data fabrics empower finance and businesses to deliver data models and use data without the relevant coding skills. Traditionally, an application has a predefined data model, which means finance and IT teams must bring in data points from other systems and match them to predetermined models. This can be tedious as people find it challenging to fit existing data into rigid data models. Using data fabric enables teams to flexibly create a data model within finance through a process referred to as data cataloguing. This enables data models to be generated by finance experts rather than technical users.
Added flexibility with data fabric
A data fabric methodology enables finance to be more flexible in a database application. Finance can apply the most relevant data storage tool that fits the purpose. Using a data fabric approach allows selections that ensure we access the best capabilities and performance.
Reduced costs with finance
One benefit of data fabric is reducing the cost of finance functions by eliminating redundant storage systems. Considering the current economic challenges and the rise of cloud computing, this is a critical area for IT and finance leaders looking to deliver an efficient infrastructure that fulfils the requirements of the business. The decrease in data ‘lifting and sharing’ has reduced the number of integrations and points of failure, reducing the need to request IT support to tackle potential issues.
Furthermore, CFOs can decrease the cost of finance by eliminating siloed finance teams validating, managing and reconciling multiple datasets for their purpose. A data fabric enables these activities to be centralised, resulting in a more cost-efficient finance department.
Gartner recently suggested that data fabrics have the potential to reduce data management activities by up to 70% and accelerate the time to value, which has significant implications for finance teams. From reducing the need to deliver point-to-point integrations between systems to reduce repetitive tasks, finance can reduce the time to value.
Data fabrics enable extensions on top of core applications. Using a data fabric makes it easier to integrate other applications that use the same data set, assuring end users that their data is accurate. Data fabric is a strategic technology approach that offers considerable benefits to CFOs and their teams. From improving flexibility and performance to reducing the cost of finance, this is a vital technology that will provide business value.