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Leadership from the Digital Boardroom

Leadership from the Digital Boardroom 41

By Gavin Fallon, General Manager, UK, Nordics & South Africa at Board International

Modern enterprises are highly complex organisations, operating within volatile market conditions and at the mercy of a constantly shifting economic environment. Yet traditional boardrooms remain an enclave of static spreadsheets, presentations and decision-making based on what has already happened, not what the future may hold – which is obviously vital for making decisions in today’s ever-changing business environment. If they haven’t already, then now is the time where enterprises need to make their boardrooms digital, not just to keep pace with the rest of the business, and to also remain competitive.

The last few months have shown the importance of agile decision-making led from the Boardroom, with a complete and real-time view based on latest metrics and data, of what’s really going on across the enterprise. Despite this, research from FSN, discussed in a recent event with PwC, has shown that most organisations are woefully underprepared, with 40% of organisations admitting to being constrained by technology and 48% admitting to being data constrained or data overloaded.

This is a point backed up by our own State of Decision-Making research which also shows that whilst just over half (54%) important business decisions are based on data and insights, ‘gut feeling’ decisions are still made by nearly a further half (45%) of companies. What’s more, over half of all of companies (57%) still rely on spreadsheets to aid their decision-making, despite more modern and reliable tools now being available.

Underinvestment at some organisations seems have taken its toll, but smart CFOs, get the importance of real-time decision-making and more responsive, planning and forecasting capabilities, and understand there has never been a more important time than now to move to a Digital Boardroom.

Leading firms are embracing the Digital Boardroom approach, both for managing client projects, as well as their own diverse and complex internal reporting, and decision-making needs. There’s lots to learn from these firms and what has been achieved through the accelerated digital transformation of decision-making.

Gavin Fallon

Gavin Fallon

Internal reporting is a formidable challenge of all businesses, of all sizes, but one of our customers, PwC, identified the need to transform budgeting, planning and reporting, for a number of reasons. This included strategic high-level planning through to longer 3-year planning and annual budgets, and to better connect these plans with regular management information reporting. Whilst systems at PwC had stood the test of time, they wanted more agile, integrated and transparent driver-based planning, improve time and efficiency, along with better visualisation and interactivity, plus they knew that financial analytics are constantly evolving and wanted to ensure they always remain at forefront of finance planning and decision-making innovation.

Big audit and advisory firms like PwC need the ability to plan different levels of granularity, integrating multiple data sources into a single BI tool, and enable real time reporting on plans all in one platform, and of course doing all this at scale and speed, with lots of opportunity for future development.

Business leaders can now access interactive dashboards and self-serve at the touch of screen, drilling down into figures and trends, combining finance and non-finance data sources, where real power exists in not just being able to glean insights solely from finance data, but getting a collective view of various key data sources from across the business.

It’s become all too apparent in the last few months that CFOs and Office of Finance leaders, need innovative new tools which can help them look at things differently, to what they’ve been used to before, and model for new and altogether previously unknown scenarios in fast-moving Boardrooms. Certainly, those organisations who are reliant on spreadsheets and populating these from scratch when faced with today’s seismic decisions, are just simply not going to be prepared.

Faster and more accurate decision-making, where the right information is delivered in real-time rather than sending various departments off to search for and report back on the answers, combined with full visibility of the metrics which matter, means leaders can see what is really going on across the whole business not based on the rear-view mirror, and make big decisions accordingly

Effective decision-making has been transformed for the better across today’s complex business landscape, where innovative leaders can now make a genuine business impact, by adapting and pivoting to constant change by leading from the Digital Boardroom.

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