Institute for Business Value

Finance leaders are unlocking the potential of digital

Finance is the critical component to help the enterprise capitalize on the new digital environment. How? By providing the insights, forecasts and foresights to support the enterprise in making strategic decisions. The CEO looks directly to the CFO to understand the anticipated financial impact of new business models and operational changes in an uncertain business market.

The IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) surveyed 511 CFOs and senior finance executives for a new study about Digital ReinventionTM. These executives confirmed that finance now has a more prominent role within the business, including applying analytics and creating insights that impact enterprise-wide strategic decisions. These impact areas can include identifying and evaluating organic growth opportunities; analyzing customer profiles and value; and responding to changes in strategy and business model. In addition, executives surveyed said that multiple digital technologies are critical to finance. Digital ReinventionTM can help CFOs leverage these new technologies to transform their operations, address disruption and provide influence beyond the finance function.

Finance organizations see a combination of technologies as critical to their function

We identified three things that finance executives from leading organizations do that can serve as an example to others.

Pursue a new focus

Finance executives need to employ advanced analytics that incorporate both structured and unstructured data across the enterprise. This can help identify new ways of realizing and monetizing value. Our finance leaders have analytics for organic growth opportunities in place 67 percent more than their peers.

Build new expertise

Managing the transition to Digital ReinventionTM requires discipline and management. Ninety-two percent of our finance leaders have implemented strategies to help their finance employees adapt to changes associated with digital reinvention technologies — a step taken by just 51 percent of their peers.

Establish new ways to work

Finance executives need to digitize their services and processes. And they need to use digital technologies to create fully integrated, flexible and agile operating environments. Our finance leaders are applying these digital technologies in the record-to-report, procure-to-pay and order-to-cash processes.

To learn more, read the full report and visit

Chemicals and Petroleum Lead, CFO Lead, IBM Institute for Business Value

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