The relevance of Business Intelligence for Finance

A lot of people wonder why most Business Intelligence (BI) departments fall under the Finance and not Information Technology (IT) department. There was a time when I wondered too, especially when I was taught so during my studies.

Let’s start and try to explain this by looking at meetings. Don’t you get excited when you hear that you have a day full of meetings? Everyone would be eager for the moment when figures start appearing on presentations and not matching with each other’s reports. That is the ideal time to start playing Report Dungeons.

Report Dungeons is a fascinating game where all players are sure that the reports that they’ve been using for a very long time are correct. Each player has to prove the correctness of their respective report by digging out the source and formulas making up the figures. The game might not finish by the end of the meeting, and the winners are those that have the least exceptions in their explanations. Bonuses are reserved for those players making part of the finance department since they are considered the trusted record keepers.

This game highlights the importance of the famous ‘one version of the truth’. If the time wasted in justifying figures is utilised to collectively make better decisions on collaborated and approved data, working capital and operational costs would be significantly decreased. By linking all data together, organisations pave the way for collaboration, consensus and ultimately successful, unified strategy.

In today’s age, companies are not differentiated by having automated processes. If so, bridging the gap can be easily done by investing in resources. The trick nowadays is to have access to data in an optimised and agile way, anytime and anywhere. This is critical to rapidly change the business environment with new information and business developments, where insights can be used to make wiser decisions.

So how does this tie with whether BI is relevant for Finance? Finance already analyse a lot of reports, and they never stop asking for more. Finance is the source of decisions particularly where money is involved, and they are (rightly) trusted for it. BI is relevant because if Finance has the skills to take advantage of the data, decisions are made better by finding out what they do not already know through more data sources used and advanced analytics.

Organisations should stop considering BI but go for it. The hype is already moving towards the next stage that follows BI, which is Data Science. There are a lot of BI products out there which one can go for and which will make all of the above possible. At iMovo we can easily help your company embark on one and guide you on how BI can complement your existing environment.